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IZEA Launches RealRank – Will You Opt In?

Posted By Darren Rowse 10th of January 2008 Blogging Tools and Services 55

Real-RankIZEA today have launched what it’s been promising for a while – where it measures ‘RealRank’ of blogs (their announcement is here).

What is RealRank? – “a blog ranking system that uses real data to calculate which blogs are getting the most traffic and have the most influence on the web. IZEARanks ranks the top blogs in the blogosphere via actual site statistics, not an extrapolation of estimates.”

The Reason for RealRank? – in short the reasoning for RealRank that they are selling it with is that non of the other ‘ranking’ systems for websites really do a good enough job or give a realistic measure of how a blog is going. They talk about Google PR, Alexa, ComScore etc.

So IZEA is suggesting that their RealRank is a better measure and will give bloggers and advertisers a better idea of how a blog is going and how it compares to others.

They’re ranking blogs based upon three factors:

  • 70% weighted towards visitors per day
  • 20% weighted towards amount of ACTIVE inbound links per day
  • 10% weighted towards pageviews per day

Sounds Good… But….

OK – so the above measures all sound fairly good in terms of measuring a blog’s rank (although we could probably come up with another 10-20 factors that could be included – depending upon our definition of what a successful blog is) – HOWEVER there is one major deficiency with RealRank that in my mind brings it back into the realm of all of the other ranking systems that they set themselves up against….

IZEA only tracks blogs who opt in and who are willing to allow IZEA to put a tracking script on their blog. While this might lead to accurate measurements of how your blog is going – it’s not ever going to be a true ranking tool for the blogosphere as I really can’t see the majority of bloggers using is.

The advantage that other ranking tools have is that you don’t need to opt in. While this might lead to less accurate measurements at least they do measure all blogs (and all websites).

Another issue that is worth considering is why you’d want to be included in a blog only ranking system. My own opinion is that bloggers need to stop looking at themselves in such an insular manner and just comparing themselves to other blogs as I think this can actually limit yourself.

Your blog doesn’t just compete with blogs – it’s competing with sites of all types.

As Paul Glazowski at Mashable writes:

“But if you look at it from another vantage, you might find it too selective and limited. Site ranks are, after all, typically determined against an unvarnished view of the whole canvas of the Web. Why? Because the Web, on the whole, is the grand venue targeted by most ambitious sites – be they e-commerce institutions or respected publications operating via the RSS protocol.

Bloggers of course do wish to see their publications grow and eventually live as well-known entities on the open plain of the Internet. So to distinguish blogs from all other publications then wouldn’t be of any use, right?”

Another Hurdle for IZEA…

One of the main hurdles that I think IZEA will have with RealRank is that everything that they launch now is being associated with something in their rocky past – PayPerPost (IZEA is the parent company for PPP).

I’ve already heard 3-4 bloggers tell me that they’re not going to participate in this because they don’t want a company like PPP to have access to their blog’s metrics.

Others have expressed concern over it as they think it’ll be a signal to Google that you’re selling links.

It’s interesting to hear these comments and I wonder if it will be a feeling that stops many from participating. I’m personally not that sure if this is a fair criticism. After all most bloggers have some sort of script running on their blogs (whether it be Google Analytis, AdSense or some other advertising system or metrics tool). At times I wonder whether I should be putting my blog’s data in the hands of Google too!

What do You Think?

My overall feeling is that this is a tool that has some merit and gives bloggers a fresh way of looking at their performance – however in terms of being a comparative tool that ranks the blogosphere I’m not it’s going to get enough blogs involved to warrant it being useful. As a statistical tool it might be useful for bloggers – but then again you could get all the same information on how your blog is performing by using another metrics tool.

The above are just some of my own initial thoughts on BlogRank – but I’m just one blogger (one who has chosen not to use it). Ultimately the success or failure of RealRank doesn’t rest on my shoulders – it rests on whether it’ll be picked up and used by the wider blogging community.

So will you use it?

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.
  1. I am out.

    We all know that metrics systems can only be reliable if they have a critical mass behind them (it is an statistical game).

    Even Alexa had a hard time getting accurate most of the times, and still it is the most widely used one.

  2. Im not gonna use it. Mainly because it’s not gonna be accurate. Im gonna pass this one.

  3. No. It’s owned by payperpost. They can change their name all they like, but izea is still just payperpost in a different color.
    There’s no way I’ll let them have access to any of my sites.
    Just look how bad they screwed up Zookoda?
    Plus, in order to be truly accurate for all bloggers, all bloggers all over the world, will have to opt in and install this tracking code.
    Sorry to say, but I don’t trust them to allow them any kind of access to my sites.

  4. Nope.
    I am still really new to blogging as it is and I am starting new blogs also. I watch my stats and read about things I can do to improve my blog and traffic. I do not like to deal with measures…at least not at this time, they do not benefit me as of yet. Maybe latter.

  5. Heck no! Izea, Payperpost,whatever they want to call themselves, is not a good idea to align yourself with, unless you’re ready for the page rank of your site to be forgotten or trampled to non-existence

  6. Considering that it requires yet another tracking code from outside source to blog – many will NEVER join it and how could they claim accurate results?

    Just like Alexa tracks based on people using their toolbar – it will only be a guideline, assuming anyone will actually use it …

    Personally me – thanks, but no thanks. I leave the tracking to analytics software.

  7. I think this is a really great system. I really don’t like this whole PPP/IZea bashing.

    In my opinion PageRank is an incredibly flawed metric of blog performance, especially for buying/selling advertising, because it doesn’t deal with readership – which for me would be something I would take into account when evaluating a blog.

    In addition, PageRank is quite a ‘static’ measurement, it’s only updated every 3 months or so which makes it hard for newer blogs to compete against ones that already have PageRank.

  8. Darren,
    I think you are overlooking some parts of this site. Not only does IZEARanks report a RealRank, it also reports pageviews and visits based on actual data. While RealRank is relative to how many bloggers are using the system, other statistical measurements are not. We provide a variety of ways for people to look at the data and compare blogs.

    It’s easy for a very large blogger like Mashable (or yourself) to say that bloggers shouldn’t look at blogs as a unique segment of the web and measure accordingly. Both of your blogs are large enough to have their own staff and have become media properties in their own right.

    However, despite your size I think you could still benefit from a system like IZEARank. IZEARank is designed for advertisers as much as it is bloggers and you can bet that advertisers will be looking at this data on IZEARanks, when it is released and in other manners on other sites through the API. I find it interesting that you fail to recognize this as a marketing tool for bloggers given your background. Being at or near the top of a list never hurt anyone.

    Marketers looking to make purchases on blogs and readers looking for content don’t compare those blogs to the Yahoos and Googles of the world. They compare them to other blogs. This provides people with an easy and open way to do so.

    The IZEAToolkit (ITK) code is different from that of PayPerPost as I stated in my blog post. We were aware of the concerns about Google and made that decision to eliminate any doubt. 65% of the blogs singing up are not part of PPP.

    If you have feedback as to the adjustment of the algorithm we are all for it. We already have some great suggestions we are considering. This is an open system. We are exposing the API and have nothing to hide. Our goal is to create better bloggers.

    I would love for you to participate and help us make the system more beneficial for bloggers. I know many people look up to you and openly giving them something to strive for would be a great thing. I am sure your readers would like to see how you stack up.

  9. Will not install. Ever. I used to work for PayPerPost and regret it immensely. Getting out of paid blogging was liberating. I got my soul back. Getting back into bed with them is just a bad idea.

    This whole rank system, regardless of what they tell you, is just a way for them rank their ‘posties’. Involve the whole Internet and Google can’t single you out. Don’t believe the hype.

  10. Nope.

    My blogs are way too modest to enjoy any benefit from this anyway, my own tracking software is PHP-based and far more accurate for my purposes, and ALL I need is yet another bit of Javascript on my pages…

  11. I’m not sure I see the real value in this one. I also agree that I’d really hate to put yet another JavaScript snippet on my site. Sometimes I think most of my site is JavaScript widgets measuring this and JavaScript do-dads calculating that.

  12. Isn’t one important metric missing. What about RSS subscribers? Without it it’s just half of the picture.


  13. I agree Bryce about the flaws of G’s PageRank, but that alone would not convince me to add more code to my site to track stats against ONLY a select number of blogs who also choose to do the same. Regarding IZEA, I will be a follower. When everyone is doing it, so will I (sorry Mom).

    Regarding the PPP connection…it’s not a big factor for me. I would judge IZEA on its own merit. But thus far, it just doesn’t get my vote.

  14. Hm…
    My thought was similar – do I want to be affiliated with the new PPP?

    I think it is a good idea and has some potential.

    But I’m gonna wait it out.
    Keep us updated? :-)

  15. For the hobbyist blogger like myself, its hard to see the benefits of ranking by approximation, particularly in an opt-in system. I also get a little discouraged by what I can only describe as pseudo-MLM traffic driving products that only seem to benefit bloggers with already substantial traffic. While that may not be necessarily a bad things for those I just mentioned, it just doesn’t even register on my radar. Once again thanks for such an informative blog and post.

  16. The possible benefits of RealRank definitely seem to outweigh the risks at this point. There currently is no way to compare ourselves as bloggers to the rest of the blogosphere. Technorati only deals with links, not with readership or site visitors and PR and Alexa both canvas the entire web.

    You state that your biggest complaint is that it’s opt-in only. It seems to me that the solution to that is to encourage others to opt-in, not to kvetch about those that don’t. The more that climb on board the more accurate it will be. And at least with RR it’s the webmasters who must opt-in and not the visitors like Alexa requires.

    No metric is really going to be reliable. Ever. That’s why getting information from various differnet systems is the key to understanding your blog’s (or website’s) success.

  17. “IZEA only tracks blogs who opt in and who are willing to allow IZEA to put a tracking script on their blog. ”

    Yes, I placed a code in my non PPP blogs but I did remove it after they were claimed so where is the tracking script?

  18. There can only be one….True Page Rank!

  19. i agree with you that it will be to limited and not enough people will install it.

    The new house looks nice by the way. The kitchen is lovely, but it does need some color. There is way to much white in there.

  20. Michael Grove – how do you mean it won’t be accurate? I think it will be relatively accurate in terms of measuring a blog’s performance – just not so accurate when it comes to gauging a particular rank in the blogosphere.

    Bryce – I agree in that I don’t think everything IZEA does should be bashed without consideration. In terms of page rank – I agree that it’s not a great measure of looking at buying and selling of advertising – but to be honest I’m not sure it was ever intended to be.

    Ted Murphy – appreciate you stopping by to engage in the conversation. I’m not sure I overlooked that – I just didn’t go into the details of what it reports. As I said I think there is some merit to it, just not as a way to compare blogs to one another (which must be what you’re trying to do at least on some level by having a top 100 blogs isn’t it?).

    I do agree that it will provide some good metrics for blogs that will be accurate – but I guess for my own purposes I could get the same figures from Google Analytics which are easily passed on to advertisers who want to see them.

    I see your point about how advertisers will be using this – but I do wonder what type of advertisers they will be who use your service – paid review advertisers? I only ask this because you guys have pretty much become synonymous with that type of advertising. As someone who isn’t in that game it’s not really too useful.

    What I’ve found with advertisers (on big and small blogs) is that the majority tend to be less interested in advertising on blogs specifically and more interested in advertising on websites of all kinds. From my experience they’ve arrived on my blogs largely after searching Google for terms and seeing who ranks highest – not through blog ranking tools. Some do use ranking tools like Alexa, Compete or Com Score – but most of them are not just targeting blogs specifically.

    The same is true of readers looking for blogs to read. Most aren’t looking for a blog to read – they just want good content. As a result they head to Google. I know this because despite being ranked highly on Technorati in both the ‘favorites’ and ‘top 100’ lists I get barely any traffic from that source – yet I get thousands of visitors a day from Google.

    I could be wrong though – I guess time will tell.

    In terms of the algorithm – I think it’s a reasonable starting point. You could take it further and look at things like comments left, new readers vs returning readers etc in an attempt to look at reader engagement – but I think you’ve got to start somewhere and visitors and page views are a good starting point – incoming links can be good too (although I’d lay money on some bloggers trying to game you on this like they did with Technorati’s Top 100 lists – link swapping).

    As I said in the post – I won’t be running it at this point. Partly because I have 2-3 metrics tools running on most of my blogs already – partly because this is a b5 blog and our tech team work this kind of stuff and partly for the other reasons in this post.

    I do think it could be useful for some blogs though and I’ll be watching on with interest.

    Paul Logan – hadn’t thought of the extra javascript thing.

    Patrick – RSS subscribers might another useful metric to include. That’d make sense but it’d rule out some bloggers from being included who didn’t make these figures public.

  21. I think that it sucks big time. The whole purpose of it is so they can grab more customers and continue satisfying their advertisers who are not getting anymore SEO gain.

    Google penalized pageranks for a reason, but now those same advertisers are going to continue overpaying for little to no benefit in the search engines.

    Same crappy idea… but even less gain for the advertisers.

  22. There are too many variables not accounted for to call it “true” rank.

  23. I will never allow PPP to access my blog,
    I suppose technorati is a better option based on blog reactions, which according to me is more important.

    Also it doesn’t include other aspects such as alexa rank and page rank which should be included.

    It is always better that the ranking systems track on their own rather than by adding scripts

  24. I’m going to apply a much simpler formula here. If I can make more money with PPP/IZEA, then I’ll use it. If I can’t, I wont.

    If they require it, I’ll think about it some more, but probably end up using it.

  25. FormerPostie says: 01/10/2008 at 1:39 pm

    I have figured out a very easy way to game RealRank with hardly any coding skills. I wasn’t looking for a way to game it, it is just something that popped into my head. A few years ago there was videos showing how to open an expensive bike lock using a cheap bic pen. Anybody remember seeing those vids? Well, my idea is something so easy and simple that the coders at PPP overlooked it. Now I just have to decide what I will do. My method could put a blog in the top ranking, without breaking PPP TOS. I am trying to decide whether to post my idea here, or just forget it and move on. Is it wrong of me not to tell Murhpman first? I feel like PPP is wrong. but would it be wrong for me to post my idea here instead of telling it to PPP?

  26. I had contemplated checking in to it a little more but after dropping by here first Iearned a few things I wasn’t aware of before and now i’m thinking i’ll opt out for now at least.

  27. I won’t use it. I’m not a big-guns blogger, so my rank compared to other bloggers doesn’t matter. And if/when I become a big-guns blogger, I’ll be successful so it won’t matter if other blogs are successful too.

    Overall, I don’t see how this info is valuable except to either path myself on the back or stress out how I’m not number one.

  28. Quote Patrick D.
    “This whole rank system, regardless of what they tell you, is just a way for them rank their ‘posties’. Involve the whole Internet and Google can’t single you out. Don’t believe the hype.”

    This is 100% true.
    Their posties need the rest of the blogosphere to sign up and install this code, to show the advertisers at Izea/PPP, their “value” in the rest of the blogging community.
    It is so that the posties can earn more money.

    Izea Rank for just posties, only ranks them against each other, it doesn’t show the adverts how the posties measure up truly.
    The posties are here in your comments, wanting you and others to sign up and use it, because they need you to.
    Without the rest of the blogospere using it, their ranks are worthless to advertisers.
    All you have to do is go read their forums to see this is true. They are only ranked with each other right now, have no worth to the advertisers that way, and if more normal bloggers use Izearank, their value will go up, they will make more money.

    Pumping this as true rank is pure BS hype. Ted Murphy needs you to use this so his company and his posties, can keep making money.

  29. I’m not going to opt in. I don’t think the world needs to know how many visitors I get. I only keep track myself to limited extent, to know rough numbers. Some bloggers spend way too much time watching stands anyway and this would just make it more visually appealing.

  30. As a Postie, I’ve had Real Rank since it was released in the PayPerPost market place.

    What Ted said about it being easy for “big” bloggers like Problogger to consider themselves in the context of the larger internet is 100% correct.

    Even before Google decided I was worthless, I was only a PR 2. And what does that mean? Other sites linked to me. That makes any and all readers that are not webmasters irrelevant.

    Since advertisers want eyeballs, Real Rank is a solution. Is it prefect? No. But it is more useful for blogs than Alexa or PR.

    I’m happy because I can focus on what I wanted to do when I started blogging: writing and trying to attract readers, not trying to get Google to like me.

    Darren, I respect you very much. I do. Still, Ted has done so much for those of us trying to make a modest income from our blogs. The creditability of the blogosphere as a whole is part of the goal of IZEA and is good for every blogger.

  31. The only rank I use nowdays is traffic rank in awstats.

  32. hi
    when i use “find a blog” i dont see, yahoo, but find msn, playboy,google. what that means.

  33. Absolutely not interested. The idea of the closed “blog community” is an idea that holds many of us back, and the last thing we need is yest another tool to drive a wedge between “us” and “them”.

    I’ve had several “false promise” issues with PPP in the past as well, and I’m certainly not going to host any of their code or give them any access into my business.

  34. Too bad code is needed to install~

  35. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure! LOL

  36. Ugh, so because all the people that do PPP got smacked with google dropping their PR Izea decided to create their own measuring stick. It is like a kid failing the sixth grade and his parents deciding that they should create their own way to grade their child.


  37. It’s at least a little refreshing to see that someone out there is making an effort to move in the right direction when it comes to ranking.

  38. Some of the comments are truly inane in this discussion…

    I’m happy to be trying it out as a serious attempt to measure a blog’s worth… I’m also happy that advertisers will get the metrics that can help them judge what kind of site they want to advertise on…

    I can’t see a real problem, really. It can’t be worth any less than Alexa or Technorati’s numbering system. And it’s a good attempt at a compromise between traffic and PR ranking, which just measures a site’s worth.

    Most importantly, the algo is transparent. So, I’m willing to give it a go.


  39. Seems pointless to rely on an opt-in system. What kind of true RANK could that system ever achieve?

    I also would not trust the Pay Per Post people.

  40. Not all posties got slapped with a PR drop after the PPP fiasco. Mine actually increased the last go around. Granted, I don’t write for money but have made a few hundred dollars on my site by doing the occasional review. I don’t use the service frequently but i’ll at least look into this rank and try it out to see what i can gain from it before passing judgment.

  41. I don’t want to be associated with PPP or have the appearance that I am. Therefore, I wouldn’t use this ranking system.

  42. I have five blogs. On four of them I’ve done PPP opportunities. All lost PR (from 5 to 3, from 4 to 0, and two other from 2 to 0).

    Ironically, the PR loss only diminished my income opportunities at PPP itself. The other companies I’ve done work with in the past continue to offer the same (much higher than PPP) rates they were offering prior to the PR slash.

    I will not be adding PPP, RealRank&tm; or any Izea-related tracking script to my newest blog unless and until PPP figures out how to stop making bloggers sell their PR in exchange for PPP opps.

  43. Quote investor blogger: ”

    Some of the comments are truly inane in this discussion…

    I’m happy to be trying it out as a serious attempt to measure a blog’s worth… I’m also happy that advertisers will get the metrics that can help them judge what kind of site they want to advertise on…

    I can’t see a real problem, really. It can’t be worth any less than Alexa or Technorati’s numbering system. And it’s a good attempt at a compromise between traffic and PR ranking, which just measures a site’s worth.

    Most importantly, the algo is transparent. So, I’m willing to give it a go.


    Of course you’re using it, you are a postie.

  44. I’m not a postie and I’m using it. I’m also very active in their forum and blog. Additionally, I attended PostieCon, their blogging conference… right after attending BlogWorldExpo.

    My purpose for use is to see how it stacks up. What do I have to lose? I login to the PPP marketplace everyday too… I still don’t post for them (or take opps).

    To make assumptions that “posties” only care because it helps them is ridiculous and failing to realize how the overall concept could help everyone, from the big to small.

    It appears, with the comments on this one post, the problem isn’t just people are assuming this is for posties but the connection with PayPerPost. Give it up, they have a great business model and you’re upset because you didn’t think of it first. That’s no reason to hold out on what could very well change everything…

  45. It is funny to me that people are equating a drop in TOOLBAR PAGERANK to the pre mature failure of a system that could potentially make them money (socialspark). Actually take the time to learn organic manipulation, search optimization, link building, the effects they have on websites, how worthless a metric TBPR is and you then might realize how bogus the google TBPR bitch slap was.

    I think its very evident the people who are whining about PPP being the demise to their site, via the dropped PR, really do not know what they are talking about.

    Those are the same people who buy all the spin that comes out of Matt Cutts mouth.

    Make money on your site however the hell you want. Google is NOT god.

  46. No, Google is not God; however, those of us who’ve witnessed our PR being slashed after assurances from PPP that such a thing would never happen ARE understandably skeptical.

    The point A ndypermits insertion of “nofollow” (which PP still prohibits); and therefore

    – AND Anyone inserting the Izea tag can be flagged by Google as being likely associated with PPP; AND

    – AND since anyone associated with PPP is still under the proscription of adding “nofollow” to their links

    – THEN anyone inserting Izea code into their blog is more likely than not (and here the odds work in the favor of the little guys outnumbering sites like Problogger) likely to be doing paid posts through PPP which means

    – END IF your site relies on leveraging Google PR into opportunities to make money

    See how logical that is?

    For me that’s what it comes down to: my PR died because I started doing PPP opps.

    Mmmmm… buh-bye to PPP opps if they’re killing income while other monetization routes haven’t suffered.

    Eventually you might get to wondering, as I have been lately, whether this isn’t a sword-crossing contest between Murphy and Cutts.

  47. I am opting out and have written to them to remove my sites from their database. I believe that sites which are registered with PPP are automatically in their database. Stats would only show in Izea if we embed a custom code.

    Unless Google says that it’s fine to participate in this ranking as long as there is no selling of text links, I don’t want to participate.

  48. “- END IF your site relies on leveraging Google PR into opportunities to make money”

    If this is the case then you really need to weigh how to make money in the long run, this is a flawed practice and to be flat out honest is the plauge google has started.

    Monetize your blog in real ways.

    Don’t quickly jump to the conclusion a few paid reviews on your site via PPP caused your PR to drop. I can give you a list of over 550+ blogs that do not use PPP’s service and about 90% of them dropped in TBPR.

    The PR bitch slap was a web wide slap.

  49. Google has already started feeling the rivalry and changed it’s back link count policy….

    Join the discussion at my blog here

  50. Great post Darren, as always. I have my own thoughts regarding Real Rank, and whether it will be widely adopted throughout the blogging community, and have posted them on my own blog.

    I look forward to seeing how this enfolds.

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