One thing the JIB Awards clearly demonstrates is the remarkable growth of the Jewish blogosphere. In 2004, there were relatively few players and blogs had little or no impact upon the Jewish world. Now Jrants tracks over 550 Jewish themed blogs, the Jewish Press is starting to cover and explore the JBlogosphere and there are even Jewish conferences based on blogs! So while Jewish blogs arguably continue to have little or no impact upon the Jewish world at large, something’s clearly afoot.
Anyhow, as you may guess, I go through a lot of blogs on a regular basis. Consequently, what I will try to do is go through all the categories one by one in advance of the voting on Jan. 9th and discuss the various nominees. I’m doing this to support Israellycool Dave’s awesome efforts and also to encourage more cross-blog traffic. Once again, I remain in awe of the many talented people that make up the JBlogosphere and however this all turns out, I think that we uh… are all winners. So without further ado, let’s look at the first category: Best Overall ‘Mega’ Blog.
This year there are 6 nominees. This is a whacky kind of category – in order to qualify, the blogs have to attract a minimum of 5,000 individual visitors a day. What makes this category interesting is that for the most part, while the blogs in question ostensibly cover subject matter that is sometimes of interest to Jews, they get the traffic they do because they appeal to a wider non-Jewish audience.
For instance, the first nominee Cox & Forkum are a two-man team who produce popular editorial cartoons. Their political orientation, like many mega bloggers, is right-wing and much of their focus is on the Middle East, Iraq, Terrorism etc. They get about 6300 visitors a day, are currently ranked 100th by truthlaidbear and link to a number of Jewishy sites. However, they do not allow comments and haven’t even acknowledged their JIB nomination. Consequently, I don’t expect them to place high when the voting commences.
The next nominee is the ever controversial Little Green Footballs. Run by Charles Johnson, LGF is considered “a center for opposition to political Islamism,” hence it’s popularity with Jews of a certain ideological bent and its presence at the JIBs. LGF is more than just a blog – it’s a vociferous community, attracting over 66,000 visits a day (truthlaidbear) with posts eliciting hundreds of comments on a regular basis. Last year LGF won in several categories (Best Blog and Best Israel Advocacy Blog). I expect them to win handily again this year despite the fact that some are opposed to their presence here.
The best way to describe the next nominee, Protein Wisdom is as the chiller, funnier, little brother of LGF. Last year, this blog won the JIB’s Best Humor Blog award. This Protein Wisdom finds itself in the mega blog category by virtue of its traffic – just over 5000 visitors a day. On top of being funny and talented, the blog author Jeff Goldstein is also undoubtedly Jewish. He’s like the blog equivalent of P.J. O’Rourke, and is described as “somewhere between libertarian and libertine.” He won’t win the category, but he’ll get my vote, for whatever it’s worth.
Powerline, a group blog, bills itself as a Proud Friend of Israel. They get slightly less traffic than LGF (just over 60,000 visitors a day) but their Jewish content is overshadowed by their political content. Their focus is everything related to the US right wing and while they may give LGF a run for the money, I don’t think most of their visitors care about winning a Jewish blog award as would those that frequent LGF.
Next up is the blog of author and screenwriter Roger L. Simon. Roger’s certainly been involved in some top tier Hollywood projects including Enemies, A Love Story (screen adaptation of I. B. Singer’s book) and Scenes From a Mall (starring Woody Allen). He gets just over 6000 visitors a day and from what I can tell, the only ostensibly Jewish content on his site relates to his musings on the Middle East. Most of these seem to evince a right wing political orientation. It’s an interesting site but I am skeptical of it’s ability to place in this category. We’ll see, eh?
The final nominee is Joe Katzman’s group blog Winds Of Change. I’ll leave aside the fact that according to truthlaidbear, with 3409 daily visitors, they don’t qualify to be in the mega blog category. Winds of Change is an old, well established blog, with archives dating back to 2002. Along with the rest of the nominees in this category, their focus seems to be on topics like terrorism, the Middle East and right wing issues. Their orientation is also right leaning. However, if the stats on truthlaidbear are accurate, they may also fail to place.
I asked myself what’s with all these pro-Bush, Conservative blogs? My assumption is that since the blogosphere as a whole is generally pretty liberal, Conservative bloggers are more likely to congregate together and create communities of like-minded individuals. But what they hey, maybe I’m wrong and really the world out there is far more Conservative than I’d like to admit. Who knows! Anyhow, I hope y’all found this handy – I’ll try to pop out more of these before voting begins in earnest.
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This is an incredibly ambitious project, CK. Clearly you’ve either invented some sort of 36-hour day, or you’re blowing off some of your other projects. But hey, if it helps the J-Blogosphere….
Kudos to you, I think this a great idea, after all, the main goal of all of this to to find new blogs and meet new bloggers.
Good luck in this epic roundup.
First of all, wow! If you manage this for every category, then you will have put in more work into these awards than I did 🙂
Regarding Winds of Changge, when I did the feasibility check, their traffic was in excess of 5000. The problem with Sitemeter is it can change quite drastically within the space of a week. In any event, I think Winds of Change could be considered a “mega” blog in the sense of its wide appeal.
You must have copious amounts of time on your hands if you are going to undertake this venture.
That’s a brave task – good on you!
JewishBlogging.com has been offering comprehensive coverage of Jewish blogs across the world indexed into categories. And if your blog is not listed, then submit it.
Also watch out for other developments in the next few months.
Weekly stats for some Jblogs is available at BlogAds.
Sorry Leslie, of course i should have mentioned your site! I should also mention that some have taken issue with the fact that your site requires visitors to click twice before they are directed to the indexed blog. But i am sure you already know that! Hopefully that’ll be adressed in the upcoming changes. Till then you can find Jewlicious under the urban category(??) at JewishBlogging.com.
Uhm, as far as this mamoth task goes, I stroongly encourage my fellow bloggers to help out however they see fit. Some of the larger categories will, by necessity, have to wait till after preliminary voting in order to get “reviewed” – there will be less siites involved and the task will be more manageable. FWIW I plan on doing student blogs next.
I don’t get how people have time for all these blogs.
Seriously, how can you spend more than 20 minutes a day on this,um, stuff?
CK, put together a schedule and I’m sure everyone will pitch in. 🙂
Enemies, A Love Story was a really great movie, much more true to Singer. Watched it with some buddies one very nasty Sylvester night a few years ago, and we were all routing for him (to increase his harem). The callback Klezmer theme every time he got in trouble was hysterical, and Alan King was suberb as the sleazebag Conservative Rabbi.
What a tragedy that Babs’ horrific Yentl is the much better known (so-called) I.B. Singer based film.
CK – Good luck! I was going to do something similar, and probably still will – but I’m only going to discuss the ones I know. 🙂 Just making that post yesterday (thanks y’all for commenting) took long enough…
Quick note on the conservative/pro-Bush blogs… while you’re right about the blogosphere leaning left, looking at the TTLB rankings (for example) seem to show the reverse of your point: Kos is way ahead in traffic because all the liberals congregate there; most of the other big blogs, OTOH, are right-leaning. Seems like there’s more diversity from the right than left, at least among major blogs.
thanks CK. Keep those comments coming in for JewishBlogging.
And feel free to email me or post any other thoughts etc.
And the Urban, yes, good point, what category would you put Jewlicious/Jewschool sites into? Urban I think gives it a bit of an edge, which I think is one of the statements you/Dan and others make.
Leslie, interesting stuff. What software do you use to gather the content so that you can list the post but also show some of it?
thanks. the development was done in-house using various tools.
version 2 will be further enhanced and welcome any thoughts of features and functionality people are looking for.
As a blogger, I guess the functionality I seek would be one where there’s a greater likelihood somebody will read my content on my site as opposed to reading it on your site. One way for you to do that, for example, would be not to include images from the blogs you list. Another way would be to simply include the first few lines of the post or perhaps the most interesting lines from the post. You’ll still get that banner ad and the other sources of revenue you generate, but the bloggers won’t find themselves writing content that perhaps benefits those who didn’t create it.
Laya, in the other discussion, you mentioned an email from Esther. I have received no such email. In fact, I haven’t received any emails from any of you in weeks. I sent Michael an email two days ago, and not even a peep in reply.
She sent it to themiddle [at] jewlicious.com is that still working?
Nope. I think ck would know whether it ever arrived at a general jewlicious address. Please ask Michael for the email addy from which I emailed him and you folks can always use that address from now on. Also, if you guys want to forward middle@jewlicious to that email addy, that would be great – god knows how much hate mail I’m missing.
The feed we run only uses whatever permissions are set by a blogger, so that could be just a first paragraph, or all text. We do as you can see provide links back fully to the original source.
And bloggers do benefit as well as it gives them distribution of their content.
That’s one of the reasons for the RSS feeds.
I was wondering why middle never responds to any of my emails. Now I know…he’s not receiving them. Middle, drop me an email so I have your address for my emails to the whole team.
Wow, that’s a big project you’ve taken on! Best of luck.