Wednesday, 8 March 2017

The top 50 (websites and) perfume blogs according to Feedspot: a blogger / market researcher's view

Charlie Bonkers, a capital cat
A few weeks ago I was contacted out of the blue by a chap in San Francisco, though I didn't clock his location at the time. It will later turn out to be significant in this story though.

"My name is Anuj Agarwal. I'm Founder of Feedspot.

I would like to personally congratulate you as your blog Bonkers about Perfume has been selected by our panelist as one of the Top 50 Perfume Blogs on the web.

I personally give you a high-five and want to thank you for your contribution to this world. This is the most comprehensive list of Top 50 Perfume Blogs on the internet and I'm honored to have you as part of this.

Also, you have the honor of displaying the following badge on your blog. Use the below code to display the badge proudly on your blog."

He inserted a link to the Feedspot site in the body of the email - you can find it here.

Well, there was much to puzzle over in this email, even before I studied the list in more detail. Does he really only have one panelist compiling these rankings? Isn't three a minimum quorum of judges in these sorts of things? And isn't a "comprehensive list of Top 50" anything a contradiction in terms? To my mind, the word 'comprehensive' inherently suggests all-inclusion, rather than a subset of something.

Tree top Truffle

But hey, these are minor hair-splitting points compared to what I went on to find on checking out the list. I appeared at # 41, which is perhaps surprising given my near total disregard for all matters SEO-related, but as you will see I wonder if I should even have been in the Top 50 at all...

The first thing that struck me about the list was that although many of the big behemoths of perfume blogging - old and new - were present and correct, and highly ranked as I would expect: Now Smell This, Bois de Jasmin, Cafleurebon,The Candy Perfume Boy, The Scented Salamander, Perfume Posse etc, there were a number of key blogs missing, while a whole slew of 'other entities' had been included, which are not what I would call blogs as such.

For starters there was Reddit, which I understand to be another social content aggregator site just like the one this chap is seeking to compile!

Then there were various retail chains that came pretty high up the list, such as The Perfume Shop, and and Perfume Click. On closer inspection, it turns out that their websites do in fact have a blog attached, but more in the way a motorcycle might have a sidecar, or I might wear an earring. I can't believe the retailers' blogs have all that traffic in their own right, though I can well believe that the sites overall do, as they are online shops! But I could be wrong - because I am judging things only from the perspective of the perfume blogosphere as I know it, not ALL internet writing on perfume.

Pillar puss surveying the blown over fence

Then Basenotes was in there, which is not a standalone blog either, but it IS an absolute core perfume website in our world. But in that case where oh where was Fragrantica??!! Or Osmoz, on which I cut my fragrance family teeth back in the day, if we are going to get a bit fluid with our categories.

And the anomalies kept coming. There was a site featured called The Perfume Expert which may well be huge, though I had never heard of it, and which also covered makeup. Which is fair enough, but if we are including make up, surely The Non-Blonde should be in there too? And Get Lippie, who will shortly be on our TV screens!

Kafkaesque was on the list, though she has been on hiatus since the end of last year. So if dormant blogs can be included, why not the gigantically rich archive that is Olfactoria's Travels? And where is Katie Puckrik Smells and Grain de Musc!?!?!

And there were also a number of perfume houses in there, such as Eurofragrance, Tijon Fragrance Lab & Boutique, and All Good Scents (an Indian brand). I may be remiss for not having heard of all of them. Though good old Andy Tauer also featured at #16: he is one of a number of perfumers like Roxana Illuminated Perfume (ranked #25) and Ayala Moriel with her Smellyblog (ranked #28), whose blogs are very much a key feature of their overall online presence.

Oh, and I spied an entry for a product called FragranceLock, a 'perfume setting spray' of all improbable things:

"...a new fragrance finishing spray that gives your fragrance longer lasting staying power, leaves a breathable mesh on the skin decelerating fragrance's natural evaporation cycle making fragrance last longer".

And that came in one notch after Undina's Looking Glass, and ahead of Perfume Shrine. Eh??

More tops of fixtures to conquer

And if we are going to be modern about all this, why not include the video blogs? - Katie Puckrik's YouTube channel and the new vlogs on the block, We Love to Smell and Fume Chat, being clear contenders for inclusion.

So of course me being me, I had to write to Anuj and point out to him a) that some of these sites were not blogs per se, b) that there were all sorts of notable omissions and c) that I post once a week, not once a month(!). I am not overly bothered if that affected my ranking or not, but if I see a mistake I have to correct it, obviously. ;)

And given my conviction that some at least of the missing blogs would have made it into the Top 50 - especially if Feedspot ditched some of the shops and 'other entities' - I asked how many Anuj had come up with in total. I haven't done the exercise, but have a hunch that if you were to take the combined blog rolls of a dozen perfume bloggers or so - even selected at random - you would probably generate another 30+ names, who could at least be put through the screening process to see if they might have made the cut.

Anuj replied:

"Overall we found Top 50 Perfume blog."

So there you have it. It's not the Top 50 Perfume Blogs, but all the perfume blogs he found...

Moving on to how the blogs are ranked, the criteria are stated as follows:

  • Google reputation and Google search ranking
  • Influence and popularity on Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites
  • Quality and consistency of posts
  • Feedspot's editorial team and expert review

'And while I am on the wardrobe, here's another thing...!'

On Feedspot itself, each site's Alexa ranking is mentioned, but not its Google page ranking, which I do think is an important complementary yardstick, but maybe it is factored in. Hell will freeze over before I install an Alexa toolbar. Then I see that I am listed as having no Facebook presence: while it is true that I have no page specifically for the blog, I do publish links to all my posts under my own name, so they are potentially seen by upwards of 700 friends on there all the same. I decided against having a dedicated Bonkers presence on Facebook because I truly can't be bothered to repeat my blog post updates in two places. But hey, I am someone who never ever has a party in case nobody comes, so go figure.

So there are SEO factors that are more tangible, if you will - though I believe even Alexa rankings are based on estimates where blogs don't have the toolbar installed?- but of particular interest to me were the last two criteria. I wondered who the Feedspot editorial team are exactly. Maybe Anuj has a particular interest in perfume. Certainly Feedspot are not perfume specialists. You will find lists of the Best Bag blogs, the Best Recycling blogs, Lupus blogs, Lyme Disease blogs, Melanoma blogs, Divorce blogs, Feng Shui blogs and many, many more.

And I may have had a bit of influence on the list as well, for if my memory is not playing tricks, Feedspot seem to have quietly amended their title to "The top 50 Perfume Websites and Blogs", whereas I  am sure it was originally just "blogs". Hence why I went off on one to them! ;)

And if you leave aside my quibbles about the rights and wrongs of the rankings, it may well be dead handy for readers to use these consolidated 'RSS reader sites' as a way of accessing their favourite blogs. I would be interested to know if that is so, or how you follow / read the blogs you like.

Here's the badge I have not added

Meanwhile, I have no plans to display the badge, mind, proudly or otherwise. Also because I don't take kindly to being 'badge-ered' to do things.

"Hi Vanessa,

I emailed regarding your blog Bonkers about Perfume which was selected by Feedspot as one of the Top 50 Perfume Blogs on the web.

Can you help us spread the word by adding the badge on your blog.

If you can briefly mentioned about the Top 50 Perfume Blogs list in any of your upcoming post, we would greatly appreciate it."

Well, I did do that! 


  1. My favourite is

    1. I am sure it is, being Holly's blog! ;) I was curious to know if people use a 'reader' mechanism as such, rather than going directly to the url?

    2. sorry Vanessa too tech I will ask Hols x

    3. I just meant whether you go directly to a blog to read it, or view it via a third party site that fetches up / delivers the latest post for you by email or whatever.

  2. No extra points for featuring pictures of the adorable Truffle (and Charlie Bonkers)? Shame.

    1. Hi Bejoux Noir,

      I sense not, though perhaps in hindsight I should have called them Chanel and Guerlain? Or Chanel and Trussardi even, to retain the alliteration, though the latter is probably a bit too obscure.

  3. LOL... you go girl. Yes, I'm not sure of any perfume bloggers are adding this distinction to the site. I like your feistiness..makes me happy on this dreary day!

    1. Thanks, Steve! I have half an eye open for any that do...and I am glad my robust take on the matter went down okay. You did well in the ranking, as I recall, so congrats on that! ;)

  4. Hmmm... Good on you for not just feeling flattered and leaving it at that. It seems like the badge is more of a way to get more publicity/hits for them than prestige for you!
    I reckon the first of the criteria is the relevant one. I wonder if you put "perfume blog" into Google whether the first 50 entries would correlate to their list?
    I still don't know how you improves your SEO levels or what Alexa is but I think it's for the best :)

    1. Hi Tara,

      I did see the badge that way, as the Feedspot chat was so keen for me to display it. I have yet to figure out what they stand to gain from compiling the list but there may be some kind of commercial angle to have done this exercise for so many topic areas. You wouldn't just do so because you liked making lists, I don't suppose.

      What a fun idea to see if the search results would correlate with the list...and how much it would change if you use the term 'website'? Very interesting thought.

      By being on Wordpress you are doing yourself one of the biggest SEO favours right there, because it is easy for people to comment, and you can have a ton of labels compared to the measly allowance Blogger give you, meaning that your posts are more likely to be found in Google searches. That said, when a post has more labels than words in the actual body copy, which you occasionally see - or something not far off - I do think that is SEO gone mad.

  5. Replies
    1. Bloody hell yes, and where are you?!!! Adding in pronto with The Non-Blonde. Keep these omissions coming, people.

  6. This entry made me chuckle.
    It seems as though Truffle is a tree cat. Just curious, did she make it out of that tree on her own?

    1. Hi Tatiana,

      Ha! Truffle is a 'high things in general' cat, to be fair. And yes, she got down okay unaided. You should see her jump from shed roof to shed roof in the gardens of the houses behind me. I am still trying to capture her astounding leaping feats on video. ;)

  7. I did a bit of snooping around when I saw the email last week and it turns out that feedspot is essentially a clickbait "by subscription only" aggregate. So that took care of that. I had thought about displaying the badge, but the site is the much dreaded "fake news" ah well....

    1. Hi Robert,

      Thanks for stopping by and do forgive me for not immediately recognising which blog is yours? Very interested in your comment, and feel that my less than reverential response to the Feedspot approach has been vindicated. More 'fake news' indeed, hehe.

    2. Hi Vanessa, no blog yet I am a writer for Cafleurebon, previously for Australian Perfume Junkies, and somehow they got my name and info. I too became suspicious when I saw how "diverse" the list was, so followed the links which led right to "the ask". some ridiculous monthly amount to read the blogs I already subscribe to. Pffft! that was enough of that!

    3. Ah, thanks for the clarification, your name was familiar but I couldn't quite place you! I have taken another gander at the list and it is even more diverse than I remembered. But the pay to subscribe is a real kicker. I would not have seen that coming. Who is that lazy to want to pay an aggregator?

  8. Hooray! Long may you continue to fight the good fight and be obstreperous (in your courteous, reasonable and dignified way)! What a lot of nonsense.

    I'm not sure about technical stuff. All I do know is that I follow blogs that are well written, informative and whose writers have a sense of humour. If other blogs are mentioned in those, I am curious and will look at them too. I couldn't care less about ratings or competitions or badges.

    Thank you for the brilliant photos of Truffle - and dear Charlie. Now that's always an attraction for me to a perfume blog ..... pictures of kitties!


    1. Hi Jillie,

      How much do I love that you called me 'obstreperous'? I shall bask in that for some time to come.

      Thanks for explaining your own MO when it comes to choosing blogs to read. It gives me great hope, as my Alexa ranking is not going to fall below the 20 million mark (out of 30 apparently, where near zero is the ideal!) any time soon.

      The pictures of cats on top of things was my small concession to the theme of rankings. I thought of getting Truffle to wear a rosette, but quickly thought better of it.

  9. Hahahaha, they so chose the wrong blogger for flogging their BS. Well done.

    1. Cheers, Sabine. I couldn't let it pass unchallenged, really. Now for my post to come up in Google when you type in 'Top 50 perfume blogs'. No sign yet, and you never know - the bots may nobble it...

  10. Hi Vanessa,
    Well done on this accolade (chuckles). I wish you a much more sincere well done on the creation of the term 'badge-ered'. This pleases my love of language slapstick!

    1. Hi odiferess,

      Haha - I am glad you liked 'badge-ered'. You being the Queen of language slapstick, it means a lot! ;)

  11. Replies
    1. All of it? Did you not get the email, and associating badgering to display it? You had a good ranking, as I recall, so well done on that!

    2. No I never got the e-mail or was bothered and so never had to scratch my head over who Feedspot were exactly and what they were doing.
      Matter of fact all I had previously heard about Feedspot was that one of my cousins used their service and wanted my husband's blog (not mine) and that was all i ever knew about it till I read your informative and entertaining post.

      I was wondering if Truffle was a petting cat too? Charcoal is and will sit on laps for hours and watch TV with us, even loves company at the front door and her cat sitter!

  12. Boy, you're not lazy... :) I got that e-mail a while ago, checked them out (not through the link - I do not click on unknown links ;)) but finding them through the search, started looking through the list but stopped after the second online perfume store I noticed there (and yes, it was "blogs", not "blogs and sites"). It's such a BS that I ... put it aside to the pile of similar requests for cooperation, about which I thought writing one day but never come around actually doing that.
    I enjoyed you post though I must say that you sound much more polite than I would have been... probably it's a British thing or maybe it's pictures of Truffle that made me feel all mellow and relaxed... She's just amazing! Does she allow people to pet her?

    1. Hi Undina,

      Thanks for confirming that my memory was correct, so I probably was the catalyst for the Feedspot guy widening the definition to include perfume sites generally. But there are still soooo many missing. You wonder how he found the ones he did?

      I keep the emails with requests for collaboration too as some are preposterously worded. I think I may have blogged about the subject, or maybe like yourself it is something I keep meaning to do when I get a rush of blood to the head.

      I tried to stay polite in case I was factually wrong about anything. But that is never a comprehensive list of perfume blogs, and there are so many more than 50!

      Truffle allows very few people to pet her, and then only if she is in the mood, and if they come at her from the right direction. She seems to have bonded so well with me it has been to the detriment of forming other relationships, which I regret. But I am hoping that she will get better in that regard over time.

    2. PS And if I catch her not in the mood, or over-pet her, she is well capable of biting or hissing at me too! Definitely the feistiest and most characterful cat I have ever owned. Or who has owned me, I mean.

  13. Who would want to pay for a not very well curated list of perfume blogs and perfume-related sites? I subscribe to a few blogs, have a few put in a favourite list and otherwise usually just remember the names and visit daily, weekly or when I want to be entertained. The blog lists of various bloggers have led me to many new-to-me blogs, not all about perfume.I have to like the way it is written or/and there must be useful information. If it is not well written I won't make a habit of visiting that blog, usually.

    1. Hi Ingeborg,

      I know, it is an odd proposition? I guess people are not expected to notice it is not very well curated, but even so, the paying aspect would stick in my throat. I also have a mixed way of accessing blogs I read: some I get notifications of by email, others I click on from my own blog roll, and others I follow through to via other blogs and their lists! If I had the time, I would read far more 'home interiors' and knitting blogs, but there just aren't enough hours in the day. I do dip into those for reference, mind.