Kevin has released new versions of TailRank (2.5) and Spinn3r (2.0). A new version of TailRank mean a new dose of Arrington's criticism. What is going on here is the use of one piece of technology (TechMeme) to make assumptions and criticize another (TailRank). Michael Arrington compares TailRank with TechMeme in the following way:
- Assume that they are trying to do the same thing (surface news that is hot right this minute)
- Assume that they are using the same algorithm to compute this
- Compare the performance of the back end (grabbing data from the blogosphere in real time)
Ok - now I'm making assumptions, but my point is that TailRank - while it is obviously doing something similar to TechMeme - is not TechMeme. Look at the name: TailRank - it is ranking articles based on the attention given to them by the long tail. Much of this attention is due to interest sparked by the cycles that happen in the blogosphere and how things are passed along (compare this with TechMeme's approach which is based more on immediacy and weights given to 'important' blogs).
To Michael's criticism that the news is old, Kevin points out that if attention is being given to any news, what matters is that that attention is being given right now, not what the date of the news is. For example, if the blogosphere suddenly linked to an archived story about the launch of Sputnik, that would be old news but new attention.
I actually wrote about this issue along time ago when TechMeme initially appeared with features similar to (but different, of course) those we had developed on BlogPulse.