NYTimes Blogrunner v. TechMeme

On Thursday we covered the official launch of the NY Times Blogrunner product. Blogrunner was specifically positioned as a Techmeme-like blog news aggregator, albeit with a human touch to help pick good stories when the algorithm isn’t quite up to the task (Techmeme is 100% algorithm based news).

When we wrote that initial story we said we’d report back on how much traffic was referred to us from each of Blogrunner and Techmeme. It was a perfect day for us to test, because our story about MySpace joining Google OpenSocial was the top story on both sites for much of the day.

We are not comparing apples to apples. While the same story was at the top of both sites, blogrunner is just a feature in the NY Times technology section, and at TechMeme it’s the whole show. But the fact that the NYTimes is so much bigger than TechMeme still made me suspect that overall traffic from them would be higher. September Comscore says the NY Times had 14.5 million unique visitors. TechMeme is too small to be counted by Comscore, so they probably had less than 500,000 unique visitors.

Still, the difference is amazing. The NY Times sent us 150 visitors (and another 70 from blogrunner.com). But those 220 visitors are being compared to 4,500 visitors that TechMeme delivered during that same 24 hour period.

So little of that massive traffic seems to be filtering down to the blog level from the NY Times. It could be due to placement, or perhaps the readers are not yet comfortable with blogrunner; perhaps it will grow on them over time.

Until I see otherwise, TechMeme is the water cooler in the blogosphere. It’s the place we all go hang out to tell stories – some get the attention of everyone around while others are just whispered and no one hears a thing. But it is the place where we all are all the time. It’s going to be hard to hurt it much.