Maybe, maybe not. Mike Arrington over at TechCrunch points out that the comScore numbers disagree. Unfortunately, the comScore numbers appear to be highly erratic and demand some sort of explanation from that web traffic monitoring firm. Until they explain the wild swings in Technorati’s numbers, one has to imagine it will just provide more fuel to the company’s detractors.
Frankly, hearing that Google is now coming out on top in blog search isn’t a great surprise. In many respects, they were probably already the top search traffic driver to blogs, just through their regular results which numerous folks have pointed out tends to favor blogs pretty heavily. Given the large mass of traffic that Google generates and the huge brand ID that it has, it would be no surprise that more people are turning to them for blog-specific search.
One has to assume that Google could really slam the door on any debate simply by making blog search accessible from their home page, rather than through the "more" menu.
Of course, the real question is not so much what the traffic numbers are but what the greater business meaning is. Mark Evans asks the insightful question, "What’s Technorati’s M&A future?" I have felt for a while — and think I wrote it somewhere but can’t find it this morning — that Technorati should leverage its position to make itself more distinctive. Competing head-on with Google isn’t the way to go. So my view is they shouldn’t worry about who gets more page views — though it’s hard for them to ignore the blog swarm on this topic today — and instead focus on what will make them unique going forward.
Blog monitoring and analysis is becoming increasingly sophisticated and Technorati has some role to play in that arena, but it may or may not be as a "straight" blog search engine. My own company, CustomScoop, has provided enterprise blog monitoring services for the past several years, so I’m not really encouraging David Sifry to come be a competitor in that space, but realistically it’s one he’s probably already looking at.
Our own efforts have recently gone beyond simple blog monitoring to include higher-level analysis in the form of BuzzPerception reports that detail tone and trends in the blogosphere as it relates to individual clients. I would guess that’s probably not the best fit with Technorati’s mindset since it relies in part on human analysis and not purely technology. But who knows?
It will be interesting to see how this all plays out in 2007.