Nepali Times: When responsibility turns sour (Nepali blogs ranking)

blog-rankings It is a huge responsibility to be (and remain) on the top in terms of quality. Nepali Times, an English weekly printed colorful (on glossy paper) is considered top-of-the-class, ‘elite media’ in Nepali journalism. Dazzled by the ‘English kaleidoscope’ I used to believe everything they publish in face value. But, when I came across a latest article, about ranking of Nepali blogs, the unconscious belief in me shattered like a glass vase, falling from a height.

Nepali Times is all about judgment. Judgment of people, judgment of policies, judgment of relationships, judgment of art/artists, and Judgment of products. Although, I still believe they are the best in town, it’s time to evaluate if they are keeping up with the expectation? After reading this article, I for the least, will be a bit more cautious in taking their judgments and credibility.

Ranking stuffs is not an easy task. It is an art, mathematics, and a rigorous exercise – based on facts and figures. Google, leader in ranking websites rank websites based on backlinks, number of incoming and outgoing links in a website. Alexa, another website ranking tool evaluates data from users who install their toolbars. These limitations have made them credible in their own field and their ranking comes with their respective limitations attached.

Let’s see the Nepali Times ranking (This is misleading):

Top Ten

1. mysansar.com
2. meroreport.net
3. ushaft.wordpress.com
4. dautari.org
5. blog.com.np
6. nepalivoices.com
7. madhesi.wordpress.com
8. hamroblog.com
9. aakarpost.com
10. guffadi.blogspot.com

(Top ten blogs from Nepal ranked in order of visits.)

They have given a boundary – visits. It is not clear whose visits it is (I suspect, is it only the author’s visit!) If it were general people’s visit, the author should have mentioned the source. When I visited the sites mentioned, all I could find the visit data were of the blogs ranked 1, 4, and 10. There is no doubt, Mysansar is the top in every terms.Talking about the rest of the blogs – I don’t think any of the blogs deserve the position granted by Nepali Times. Some low ranking blogs have much better visitor than mentioned and others don’t even deserve mentioning. For example, one of the blogs mentioned was updated last year, and doesn’t have a single original content. Some other blogs are mere online archives of articles published in the print media.

What is blog?

The article defines: “In Nepal, blogs are transforming the way urban Nepalis get their information.” I thought that was a news site, or Nepali Times magazine itself.

In my view – blogs the mouthpiece of person or an organization with a facility to discuss and debate. Unless a blog is defined properly, there is no point in ranking them.

What is “visits” ?

The ranking criteria of the article visits can be the number of people that visit a particular site in a day/month/or year. A single person can read more than one articles and those ‘page views’ are usually more than ‘visits’. For example, in March 2011, xnepali had 1 million pageviews. But, each visitor had an average page views of 2.7 pages (i.e. 382,000 visits). Many sites don’t reveal this information, so it is not easy to get this data from all the websites.

What is Nepali?

It seems easy, but it’s not. A Nepali blog, can be linuxcandy.com, a blog made by a Nepali blogger, but there is no mention of it being Nepali anywhere, or a xnepali.net/movies, where Nepali is written in the domain name itself. It can be lexlimbu.com, a blog by a UK resident Nepali who can speak but can’t read/write Nepali that well.

Response:

The blogger Ushaft (Ranked 3) after thanking the author of the article said (in Twitter), “But, I think it is misleading to say they are “ranked based on visitors”- would be better to say stg (something) like “our pick” or “a random cross-section of blogs” … not-so-good blogs are on the list you’ve made.” Ushaft adds, “I hope a little more care would be shown in such matters in the future.”

Another blogger Aakarpost (Ranked 9) told he his blog had 75,000 pageviews last month (excluding his own visits). That is more than twice the total pageviews of the blog ranked 10, in it’s entire existence since 2008 (~ 1,100 per months).

Anil of Aaakarpost had even analyzed the Alexa ranking of Nepali sites to compile this ranking – Mysansar (1/17), xNepali (2/72), itinfoz (3/78), techsangv (4/99), aakarpost (5/137), chapagain.com.np (6/185)nirmal.com.np (7/244) ashesh.com.np (8/314) – where the first number in bracket is blog rank in Nepal second number is the total website rank in Nepal. The rank proposed by Aakar is at least based on credible data (with it’s own merits and demerits).

I ask the following Twitter users (Representatives of the blogs ranked by Nepali Times) to post their views in the comment section:

1. @salokya
2. @hellomuku
3. @ushaft
4. @dautari
5. @wagle
6. @UjjwalAcharya
7. (Couldn’t find Twitter user)
8. @kpdhungana
9. @aakarpost
10. @NepaliGuffadi

Thank you.

UPDATE: I am updating this article in fear that the negative tone in the article might undermine the quality of the blogs mentioned in the Nepali Times article. In terms of quality, the top ranked blogs, by Nepali Times, deserve mention (but, without the numbers attached to them). Here are my evaluation of the blogs:

Mero report – a community blog striving to redefine journalism is gaining popularity in Nepali blogsphare. The contribution of another blog, initiated with the motive similar to meroreport, Dautari, can’t be overlooked. Most probably the first Nepali blog in English, blog.com.np doesn’t deserve to be ranked based on visits.  Ushaft is a seasoned journalist with views to ponder upon and respect. Anil of Aakarpost is a dedicated blogger with useful and informative contents in it. I don’t read much of Hamroblog, but I have heard that he is a good journalist. The fun filled Guffadi’s blog is a worthy mention too.

My question was – How can somebody say the following blogs (that weren’t ranked) are bad?

NepaliKeti’s blog, Dhaiba‘s blog, Durjaya Chetana, Lex Limbu’s blog, CP Aryal‘s blog, Krishna Thapa‘s blog,  blog by Archana Shrestha, Rajesh’s KhasKhas,  Anish’s eNepal, Bhojraj Dahal’s Nepal Diary, Tajim’s blog, Dipak’s Diary . Yes, this is my personal list of blogs. I expect some good stuffs in them. That doesn’t mean they will rank in a list of top ranki
ng blogs in Nepal. I shouldn’t be ranking them unless I have credible data, knowledge, and resources to do so.

0 thoughts on “Nepali Times: When responsibility turns sour (Nepali blogs ranking)

  1. Is Alexa the only way to identify the Nepali blogs? If that so, then tens of aspiring bloggers who are originally Nepali but are operating their blogs from different parts of the world are deprived of recognition. Not only lexlimbu.com, but there are blogs like bloganol.com (google pagerank 5) and fortystones.com (google pagerank 6) who are run by all Nepali bloggers but are based outside Nepal (They are students in Indian university). I am sure they have better visits rate than most of the blogs mentioned above. To say frankly, I am hearing the name of some blogs mentioned in the list for the first time. I think there should be a different parameter of selection other than visits and should include Nepali bloggers, and not only Nepal based bloggers.

    • I agree, all Nepali bloggers should be recognized for their efforts— most importantly, a gauging criteria should be determined as not all bloggers can fit in a single category.

  2. It don’t really matter to me how many hits I get to my blog- I get good visits when I post something new and thought-provoking, and very less visits during other times. I have also not done anything specifically targeted to only increasing the visitor count (eg ads), it doesn’t bother me. I value visitors of my blog, who I’ve normally found to be educated, critically-thinking youths- this quality is more important to me than the numbers.

    As I have already said, I think Nepali Times made a mistake there saying that they ranked blogs based on number of visitors- Alexa is a fair-enough measure- but again controversial. This kind of practice is always controversial and is best when avoided unless you can do a survey yourself. I repeat that the blogs should have been called- “our choices” or something like that.

    Also, let’s be careful in making sure that we don’t criticize everything and anyone. Too much negative tone. Let’s also appreciate the good work done- a mainstream, reputed English weekly has recognized the importance of blogging scene in Nepal- and the same issue carries a piece on Nepali tweetosphere- let’s say thanks, and encourage them to write more such pieces in future? Of course, suggestions are good- but thanks are also necessary.

  3. I have never worried about ranking. I suggested the writer of this article to use Alexa data to rank the blogs but even Alexa has flaws – the ranking that Aakar has found out is only ranked by visits from within IPs inside Nepal. The best way is to find out the global ranking of the sites in Alexa (but then also Alexa gives more priority to visits from browsers with Alexa toolbar).

  4. I think, Nepali Times just put some random blogs. This Top Ten list is misleading, since Nepali Times says, “Their ranking is based on number of visits”

    It’s not easy to rank a blog, without proper information. There are various parameters that should be considered while ranking a blog. I do not have complain about the blog listed in the rank, since they are my favorite blogs, I read all those blogs & they are informative.

    But when it comes to ranking. Then, I do not agree with Nepali Times. Though Alexa does not give the actual ranking, but no doubt, most ranking are based on Alexa. No doubt, Mysansar being a Nepali popular blog, always stands in first position. But what about others ? where is xNepali.com? where is itinfoz.com? where is techsangv.com?

    I think, Nepali Times should apologize since they have published a misleading information saying “Top Ten Blogs, in order of Visits”. They can be Top Blogs of Nepal in other scenario/case but not in order of visits.

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