December 11th, 2007 | 2 MIN READ

Most Blogged About Online Retailers - Are They Really?

Written by author_profile_images Linda Bustos

Linda is an ecommerce industry analyst and consultant specializing in conversion optimization and digital transformation.

Blog ConversationsNielsen Online recently released some data from the top 1,000 influential blogs (determined by inbound link popularity) and discovered that gift recommendations, reviews and gift buying guides were all the buzz in the blogosphere.

As you would expect, gadgets, gaming gifts and other techie stuff was most discussed according to the press release. Which makes this leaderboard a bit of a head-scratcher:

Top Online Retailers Ranked by Buzz Growth for Week Ending December 2nd


Online RetailerWeek over Week Buzz Growth
1. Overstock.com122%
2. Orbitz.com97%
3. JC Penney94%
4. Dell52%
5. Travelocity.com49%
6. Netflix.com40%
7. MSN Shopping30%
8. Hallmark22%
9. Lowes22%

Source: Nielsen Online

Are these really the top discussed retailers for product reviews and recommendations? Hallmark? Last time I checked, Hallmark wasn't sellin' no iPhones or Wiis. So I looked under the hood at Google Blog Search, and found that there were a lot of results for Hallmark on deals/coupon sharing sites, Hallmark buildings, the Hallmark Channel, and Paris Hilton suing Hallmark for cards like this:

Paris Hilton Hallmark Card

Of course, the top blogs are usually techie focused or celebrity gossip!.

Hallmark Blog Search Results

When I Google-Blogged "Lowe's" there were many results for the word including Lowe's Senior Class Awards, but not talking about the retailer's product much, aside from posting coupon codes. Not exactly product reviews!

Lowe’s Blog Search Results

Conversation is still bubbling about Overstock, but as you can see, it's not consumers discussing products:

Overstock Blog Search Results

Fair enough, Nielsen probably has a more sophisticated tracking system (for influential blogs) than a simple Google Blog search.

About the Nielsen Online CGM Analysis

Nielsen Online analyzed online conversations in 1,000 influential blogs, as determined by volume of inbound links. Using a proprietary tool to incorporate key correlations in consumers' language, we created topic-specific classifiers to establish the total population of messages about holiday shopping from November 1 through November 30, 2007. We then drew a random sample of 100 messages and coded each message for the topics that are driving conversation.

But my question is what is considered retail-related conversation? A lot of these companies make the news because they are publicly traded, they share branding with other types of business (Hallmark Channel), they're popular with the deals and coupon crowd or they get sued by a socialite.

What do you think? Do you find the Nielsen research believable or a reliable benchmark for word-of-mouth marketing? Who do you think is really getting discussed the most by real consumers?

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