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August 18, 2005

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Mark Wagner

Matthew

Thanks for the feedback on the latest installment of our LinkRanks. As always, we appreciate any and all feedback in regards to our services, especially those that we can use to make our services better for our users.

We will look at our usage of the term 'percentile' and try to clear up the confusion. The value we call percentile represents that a site is the top X percent for that day. I think we catch it correctly in the table via the phrase 'in the top 6%'.

There were two main reasons behind the decision to display the percentage. The main reason was because it is the measure that we use to help allow users to filter their weblog subscriptions. The second reason was that the actual LinkRank value is not that 'absolute'. A site can change from a rank of 400 to a rank of 500 without impacting its standing in regards to its percentage.

We chose to display the percentage as a fixed scale because it provides a quick visual as to the changes over time. It is also a great tools for determining why an entry from SiteX was not picked up in your weblog subscription when you are filtering to pick up only the top 40%.

While we do not publically discuss our algorithm for determining LinkRanks, you are not completely correct in your assumption that more postings will improve your ranking. Personally, I would continue to strive for the quality of my postings over the quantity of them.

Again, thanks for feedback. If there are any other features that you feel would be useful please don't hesitate to let us know.

Bob Wyman

Thanks for a great review! A quick check of the dictionary shows that you are correct in suggesting that we're not using the word "percentile" properly. What we're really showing is the "inverse percentile." I've been digging around to see if there is a word for this concept, but haven't found one. Can you make a suggestion?

As Mark indicates in his response, in our system, we allow people to filter their results using LinkRank values. Thus, it is possible to say things like: "I want all references to 'datamining" in the Top 5% of publishers." The "Top X%" language seems to be the easiest for people to understand. If we were to have people say "95th Percentile" it wouldn't be quite as obvious to the broad audience. I'd like to keep some consistency between the language that is used when filtering and when viewing LinkRanks. We'll try to figure out a solution but clearly we can't continue to use the word "percentile" improperly.

Also... It isn't frequent posting that gets you a high rank, rather it is the number and variety of InLinks that gets you a higher rank. We don't care if people link to new postings or to old postings, we only care about the age of the InLinks. Some people write posts that will continue to generate InLinks long after they are written. Others write posts which gather links for only a short period and need to write many of these posts to keep their LinkRank up. So, you can have a high rank by writing a small number of really "great" and posts of enduring interest, or by writing a larger number of "less-great" posts that fade rapidly.

Thanks again for your great comments.

bob wyman
CTO, PubSub.com

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