The Difference Between A-List Bloggers and the rest of the alphabet…

I set out to explore what it takes to go A-List, or specifically to be considered an A-List Blogger. The differences between an A-List Blogger and a B-List Blogger are drastic, and focus more on influence and status. The differences between a B-List Blogger and all other 'letters of the alphabet' are mainly traffic and income levels.

Of course, this is just my perception and opinion... because there is not an official definition or chart available that outlines the differences between the A-B-C lists. If there is I could not find it, and will gladly stand corrected. This is the closest I could come to finding an official definition for an A-List blogger:

Popular bloggers, usually those in the Technorati top 100. (source)

There are several criteria that define which list a blog falls under. Those criteria include the number of inbound links, number of unique visitors, amount of (consistent) monthly revenue and the number of feed subscribers. Other possible criteria might include post frequency, post-to-comment ratio, PageRank, etc. It depends on who's categorizing.

But in my opinion it boils down to only 3:
links, uniques & revenue...

All of the other factors and criteria ultimately lend to these three things.

Unless you are in it for fame and popularity, these are the only true indicators of your success as a blogger. If you suck, nobody is going to link to you. If you blog crap, nobody is going to read it. And if nobody links to your blog, or reads it, you have no revenue.

That's not to say that every blogger is in it to make money, and make money alone. Revenue is more a result of great blogging than a goal.

Technorati has a ranking system that is based on Authority Groups. The criteria of each of their groups (from Low Authority to Very High Authority) is based on the number of blogs that have linked to yours in the last 6 months. Their Top 100 Blogs list is also based on link love.

Using their scoring system, at the time of this writing ClickNewz.com is considered a High Authority Blog and is categorized in the B-List by the related bloglebrity widget.

Since there is no official chart or criteria that includes all 3 primary indicators of list placement, I'll whip up a general guideline for you:

  • A-List
    500+ inbound links in the last 6 months
    250,000+ unique visitors per month
    $10,000+ in monthly revenue
  • B-List
    100-499 inbound links in the last 6 months
    10,000+ unique visitors per month
    $1,000+ in monthly revenue
  • C-List
    10-99 inbound links in the last 6 months
    2,000+ unique visitors per month
    $300+ in monthly revenue

From those figures, there may not seem to be such a divide between the B-List and the A-List. But dont let my chart fool you - these are very conservative generalities and A-List Bloggers generally enjoy 10x the number of either 3 criteria listed.

The truth is that there is a gaping divide between the two classes, and making the jump from B-List to A-List is a major feat.

I should add that this is all truly irrelevant unless you are simply looking for a benchmark to help you set your blogging goals. And to be honest, its still irrelevant because success is relative.

It has been argued that "Being A-List" is more about reach and influence than about blog stats. But since influence cannot be measured in logical terms, this gives you a general breakdown of the results of unmeasurable factors such as popularity & influence.

There is an excellent article on David Hauslaib in NY Mag titled The Haves and Have-Nots of the Blogging Boom. I should warn you upfront that it is more of a short novel, being 6 pages in length.

If you launch a witty blog in a sexy niche, if you’re good at scrounging for news nuggets, and if you’re dedicated enough to post around the clock—well, there’s nothing separating you from the big successful bloggers, right? I can do that.

In theory, sure. But if you talk to many of today’s bloggers, they’ll complain that the game seems fixed...

I'm going to skip the arguments and animosity regarding The Blogging Elite (ie the A-Listers), and that 'the game is fixed'... suffice it to say there is plenty of noise in the blogosphere on that topic. The article mentioned above is a fairly good read on the basics of the Power Law and the differences between society's elite and majority.

If you want my personal opinion on the matter, I can sum it up in one statement: be inspired instead of envious. As I mentioned, success is relative. Figure out what you want whether that be a fun outlet and a certain dollar amount on the side, fame and wealth, or something in between. Know exactly what your goals are, and set out to achieve them.

But for those of you that want to break out, there is still hope...

“You think the A-list is the A-list is the A-list,” says David Sifry, the CEO of Technorati. “But I’m telling you, boy, does it shift—and does it shift fast.” (source)

See Part 2 of this series: How to Break Out From The Majority and Claim Your Stake on the A-List...

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About Lynn Terry

Lynn Terry is a full-time Internet Marketer with over 15 years experience in online business. Subscribe to ClickNewz for the latest Internet Marketing trends & strategies, Lynn's unique case studies, creative marketing ideas, and candid reviews...more»

Discussion

  1. Paul Short says:

    In part 2, the most important parts of breaking out need to be 'how hard you work' and 'how hard you network'.

    Those are the driving forces behind those unmeasurable 'influence' and (percieved) 'authority' factors.

  2. Paul Short says:

    I'd also like to add the word 'mindshare' to that last sentence in my previous comment. Hellishly hard to measure, but when you have lots of it you'll know ;-)

  3. Teli Adlam says:

    I can attest to the fact that the game isn't necessarily fixed, but it does require an inordinate amount of time/effort -- moreso than most are willing to invest in the initial stages.

    Some of my clients jumped from unknowns to borderline A/B-list (having the blog mentioned quite frequently in offline media sources - television/newspapers and by A-list bloggers, huge amounts of traffic and revenue as a result) in less than 6 months. It's because the desire was there and effort was put into it.

    On the flip side, I've also had clients who just don't get it and quit before any real results can be seen.

    Paul's right. It's about getting the people's attention, networking with others, and maintaining both relationships.

    ~ Teli

  4. So you've just created your own scale here and assigned values which is fine.

    However, I consider myself an A List blogger (and have high authority at Technorati, plus am deemed A List by Bloglebrity) but I don't meet 2 of your criteria. First of all, I don't generate any $ from my blog. (Don't need it, don't want the headache, thanks. Blogging is for fun in my world.) Secondly, I can only dream of having 250,000 visitors in my lifetime, much less per month. I write what I feel like writing and have been accused of having articles that are way too long. Ha! I'm a lawyer . . . you want lengthy, I can give you lengthy. :-) But my purpose is to write quality, not appeal to, as Jeff Goldblum's character put it in "The Big Chill" so many years ago, the crowd that can only read an article for the length of time it takes them to perform certain bodily functions.

  5. I agree that the lines are fuzzy when it comes to classifications in the blogosphere, and there are many out there that straddle the lines for their own reasons.

    As I mentioned in the original post, they are conservative generalities... and success is certainly relative. In fact, to the average blogger with his/her own goals... the entire topic is completely irrelevant.

    I'll go into more detail on that in Part 3 of this series ;)

    Best,
    Lynn Terry

  6. Justin Wright says:

    Great article. It really is hard to classify bloggers because there are so many different ways to judge them. Technorati is only one of them, but there are many more. But I know for sure, I have a long ways to go to become an A lister...

  7. Hi Justin,

    Was just checking out http://www.websitegrader.com this morning - check it out. They use a variety of criteria to "grade" a site or blog. Pretty interesting!

Trackbacks

  1. Learning Geek: Affiliate Marketing, Blogging, Article Writing, Site Building and MORE. PLR Content & Some Link Love : says:

    [...] Lynn Terry has a trio of posts that are a must read: The Difference Between A-List Bloggers and the rest of the alphabet… What It Takes To Become an A-List Blogger and Join ‘The Blogging Elite’ Six Reasons To Shoot For The B-List and Forget About Becoming an A-List Blogger… [...]

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