What are the point of top this-that-and-the-other lists? Today we have the Forbes Celebrity 100 list. Apart from the headline dominance of Oprah Winfrey, it indicates that actors and old rockers are increasing in influence, whilst sports stars are declining (except for 2nd place Tiger Woods and new boy, David Beckham).
Media relations is a key factor in getting listed, with press, television and radio mentions all taken into account, along with the number of front covers obtained in 32 major consumer magazines. But being scandalous isn’t delivering the right coverage though with the likes of Paris Hilton not making the list (although Kate Moss does).
Public relations profile may also be a factor in securing a place on the The 50 best business blogs list published yesterday by The Times. There seems to be no real scientific analysis, so I presume these were blogs familiar to the journalist tasked with this pointless activity.
Bizarrely he lists Fastlane from GM under the Engineering category (there was a transport option) along with Have Your Say, an anti-LandRover blog, which has been inactive in 2007 after the company gave the creator a refund.
Similarly stagnant is the listed corporate blog from Charles Dunstone at Carphone Warehouse, which has had one entry in 2007 (celebrating the 1st birthday of its badly managed free broadband offer) and does not allow comments.
The Friendly Ghost has an equally idiosyncratic approach in creating a PowerPR index – seemingly deriving it from a personal blogroll. I have to agree with David Brain who suggests a wider reading list is required here. [How else do you explain greenbanana’s omission?]
Regardless of its methodology, lists seem to generate debate. They are an easy way of filling a gap in a publication, creating cheap television or “inspiring” a blog post.
According to Scoble, they also generate online traffic for those who are listed. Which means in the case of blog lists, the cited bloggers then write about the list, creating a hit circle.
Does this mean lists provide useful endorsement; third party credibility for those included? Does it matter whether there is a robust approach to determining the list or if it simply reflects a personal opinion? Should public relations activity be directed to securing a top spot on the list?