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Monday, August 27, 2007

Which Law Blogs Do Faculty Read?

Interesting news from Jay Brown, at the "Race to the Bottom" blog.  Discussing the question whether blogging is "worth it", and the challenge of deciding whether or not a blog is a "success", Brown notes:

Another measure of success, however, is whether the blog is read by the right audience.  This, of course, requires identification of the right audience.  In the law blog area, it could be decision makers, lawyers within the speciality area of the blog, and other segments of the public.  Thus, a law blog could be very successful even with low overall traffic so long as it is read by the right audience. 

For law faculty who blog, a critical audience is likely to be other law faculty.  In general, however, there is no way to measure a blog's success among academics, anecdotal evidence aside.  (Some evidence can be obtained by observing number of visits from IP addresses of academic institutions' networks or through direct feedback from faculty.  Even this information, however, does not permit a relative comparison.) 

That, however, has changed. . . .

What are the top ten law faculty blogs read most frequently by those with an edu IP address according to Justia? The Workplace Prof Blog (#2), PrawfsBlawg (#3), TaxProfBlog (#4), The Conglomerate (#7), Legal Theory Blog (#9), Religion Clause (#10), Mirror of Justice (#13), Sentencing Law and Policy (#16), and Truth on the Market (#17) (Concurring Opinions is next and is ranked #19 in the top 200 law blogs visited by those with an edu IP address).

Brown also has some thoughts about what, if anything, this top-ten list means.  (The answer might well be "not much", since the list does not include obviously successful blogs like Volokh, Instapundit, Leiter, Bainbridge, Althouse, etc.)

UPDATE:  The discussion of this list, and the methodology, in the Prawfs comments and elsewhere, seems to point pretty clearly toward the conclusion that the list is -- to quote Bainbridge -- worthless.

Posted by Rick Garnett on August 27, 2007 at 01:39 PM in Blogging | Permalink

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Comments

Dan,

I fully expect that you will soon figure out a way to get Co-Op 100,000 hits a day.

Posted by: Orin Kerr | Aug 27, 2007 11:30:42 PM

Orin,

You're just crying sour grapes because nobody reads the Volokh Conspiracy. It's time you jumped over to a blog with some more traffic.

Posted by: Daniel J. Solove | Aug 27, 2007 8:33:07 PM

Rick, perhaps they are measuring the *percentage* of hits from a .edu IP, not the number?

Posted by: Orin Kerr | Aug 27, 2007 7:28:51 PM

The #1 law blog of all time (according to that site) has 40 subscribers and has had 42,400 hits in its lifetime. Somehow I don't think Justia's stats are accurate.

Posted by: Orin Kerr | Aug 27, 2007 7:26:54 PM

I have never seen a more precise rankings formula in my entire life.

Posted by: Paul M. Secunda | Aug 27, 2007 7:16:20 PM

I also am a bit doubtful: it's one thing to claim an academic audience, it's another to suggest the scores indicate what blogs law faculty read.

That said, I'm happy with Prawfs' success among our target audience, but surprised that our friends at Co-Op or Balkinization aren't registering higher.

Posted by: Dan Markel | Aug 27, 2007 7:13:09 PM

I'm very perplexed. The Lewis & Clark Law School podcast ranks higher than the Volokh Conspiracy. I don't know what formula Justia uses to rank blogs, but I guess it doesn't involve hits or links.

Posted by: Daniel J. Solove | Aug 27, 2007 6:13:18 PM

I'm confused -- wouldn't a .edu ip address also include any student using a computer at a law library, or law school classroom, or dormroom?

Posted by: anon | Aug 27, 2007 5:21:59 PM

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