Techmeme's top-50 tech stories show the influence of Apple, Google and corporate blogs and press releases

This afternoon, Techmeme published its top-50 tech stories of the year. What's crazy is how few of them are actually news stories. Twenty-one of the top 50 are either tech company blog posts or press releases -- that means corporate issued. Six of the top 10 stories came directly from companies, such as Apple CEO Steve Jobs' "Thoughts on Flash" (ranked No. 2) or Andy Rubin's Google blog post about the changes in Nexus One availability (No. 4). The list says something about the tech news you read and who really influences it.

Take for example Rubin's post on Nexus One. Many tech blogs or new sites are still calling Nexus One a failure (I'm not one of them). But clearly somebody was interested in the Google smartphone for it to rank in Techmeme's top 5. Nine Google blog posts appear on the list -- get this -- four in the top 10. Two are about Google's search policy changes in China. With all talk about Apple, Google's influence shouldn't be underestimated -- at least as measured by Techmeme. Including actual news stories, Google makes the list 13 times.

By comparison, Apple makes the list 19 times, which includes 5 press releases and the 1,700-word Jobs missive on Flash. The number is a little higher when adding stories where Apple is included but not the main topic. So combined, Apple and Google account for 64 percent of the stories in Techmeme's top-50 stories of 2010.

Another measure of influence, or lack of it: Facebook and Twitter make the list. Facebook is topic five times, twice from company blog posts. Twitter's presence is by its own blogs -- three times. Microsoft made the list once. For all the hype about Kinect for Xbox or chatter about Windows Phone 7, neither product made Techmeme's top-50 list. Microsoft's lack of showing is surprising, considering how many of the other companies show up by their blog posts and how many Microsoft blogs there are.

If making any kind of showing on the list is sign of influence, then Opera, which also shows up once, rivals Microsoft. Again, it's another press release -- Opera Mini for iPhone. Speaking of iPhone, it directly made the list 13 times, not counting several related to operating systems and analyst data on market share. Four of the top 10 stories are about iPhone, including Consumer Report's blog post refusing to recommend iPhone 4 -- after the organization rated the handset best among all smartphones tested.

No surprise, No.1 story is about iPhone -- Gizmodo's big scoop on the lost prototype.

Gabe Rivera writes about the top-50: "We crunched Techmeme's historical data, cancelling out the influences of our editors, essentially ranking stories by links and citations, to produce the following quasi-objective' list of the year's biggest tech stories." Rivera makes a few observations about the data, one I wholly agree with: "iPhone's lead in media coverage greatly exceeds its technical and profitability edge (er, arguably)." More than arguably, I say.

"Google's major announcements continue to be bonanzas for the tech media," Rivera continues. "While the Facebook juggernaut blew past half a billion users this year, their individual announcements rarely produced Google-scale excitement among the broader tech press."

Yeah? I'll assert something else: Corporate blogs and press releases continue to be bonanzas for the tech media -- or readership.

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