Top of the blogs

A new site helps us measure our online 'presence'. But it also reveals who are the most influential people on the net

If you are a bit paranoid, like me, you may find the idea that baddies can discover things about you on the internet terrifying. Even getting Facebook messages from people I don't know freaks me out. Three cheers, then, for Garlik, the online safety company, which has created a system of measuring how prominent you are on the internet and, therefore, how paranoid you are entitled to be.

Garlik's website, (kudos, get it?), measures your "digital status" using your name and postcode; it works out your rating based on popularity, impact, activity and individuality. The higher your number the "bigger" you are online.

Popularity examines the number of people you engage with online and the size of your personal network; impact is how many people listen when you post something online; activity is about how much shopping, blogging, chatting and banking you do; individuality looks at how unique you are online, using your name, age and lifestyle.

My rating of Q648 briefly stopped my heart until I read that anything around 500 is "low". A medium presence is 1,000; 2,000 and above is high. So I can stop sleeping with a cricket bat under my pillow?

Not quite, says Garlik's CEO Tom Ilube. How vulnerable you are to identity fraud is about what kind of information is out there, not just how much. "A combination of date of birth, home phone number and your mother's maiden name, for example, puts you at risk." However, he says that having a large online presence isn't always a bad thing. "Our digital status determines how we are perceived and the opportunities available to us."

Already, 16 per cent of people in the UK have chosen a new home based on internet research about their prospective neighbours; 12 per cent have done the same with potential romantic partners; and 20 per cent of us have looked up a boss before accepting a job.

To get us to think about how "much" of us is online, Garlik has compiled a list of the "biggest" internet presences. Number one is the US rapper 50 Cent with a rating of Q10,742, closely followed by the American politician Barack Obama (Q10,623). Other high-ranking stars are Moby and P Diddy.

But the majority of the names are of bloggers. The gossip Perez Hilton is at number four with Q10,389, movie king Harry Knowles is at 20 with Q9,175 and Rafe Needleman, the business and technology blogger, is at three with Q10,415. So in celebration of these giants of the internet some of whom you may never have heard of here is our handy guide to the top 10 bloggers.

Meanwhile, I'm off to turn up my Facebook privacy settings.

Perez Hilton

Mario Armando Lavandeira Jr, 29, is better known as Perez Hilton. He started his celebrity gossip blog later changed to three years ago. The site shot to fame in its first six months when it was named "Hollywood's most-hated website" by US TV show The Insider. Hilton claims his site has 882 million hits on a normal day, but the reliability of the figures has been disputed. He has been criticised for being suspiciously chummy with the likes of Paris Hilton and has been sued for the unauthorised use of copyrighted photographs. Hilton has also been slammed for "outing" celebrities; on 17 August this year he announced the death of the still-living Cuban president Fidel Castro.

Harry Knowles

Following an accident in 1994, Knowles was virtually bedridden. To pass the time, he bought a computer and went online. Two years later, he set up the film website "Ain't It Cool News" (; Harry's film reviews pulled no punches. His website is now regarded as so powerful that in 2000, Forbes magazine ranked him Number 95 in their power list. Quentin Tarantino has referred to him as "the Wolf Blitzer of the internet".

Arianna Huffington

The only woman on the list, Arianna Huffington, 57, featured on Time magazine's list of the world's 100 most influential people in 2006. The Greek-born former politician "knows everybody", according to the magazine, and has an opinion about everything. She is the author of 11 books and is a nationally syndicated columnist in the US. Huffington's online presence started with her website However, it was in May 2005 when she launched the news and blog site The Huffington Post that the online world sat up and took notice. Having abandoned her former conservative views, the liberal blog quickly became hugely influential and is one of the most widely-read and frequently cited media brands on the internet.

Nick Douglas

It's little wonder that Douglas's blog, Valleywag (, is popular: it trades in gossip about companies and personalities in the computer industry. Although Douglas was fired last year from the blog by the site's owner, Gawker Media, he built it up into one of the US's most popular industry gossip sites. It went online in 2006, outing Google founder Larry Page's relationship with high-ranking employee Marissa Mayer, and Google CEO Eric Schmidt's openmarriage. Douglas was allegedly fired for favouring a small group of internet entrepreneurs and saying Valleywag's goal was to get sued. The blogis now edited by Owen Thomas.

Markos Moulitsas Zuniga

Better-known as "Kos", Zuniga is the 36 year-old founder of Daily Kos, the liberal political blog. Born in Chicago and raised in El Salvador, Kos returned to America in 1980. He served in the US Army from 1989 to 1992. After studying at Northern Illinois University and Boston University school of law, Kos set up Daily Kos in 2002. In its first year it is said to have received a million unique visitors. The site ran into trouble in 2004 when Kos criticised mercenaries in Iraq, for which he apologised. The site has 125,000 members and there is an annual conference, YearlyKos, held in June.

Pete Cashmore

Cashmore is the founder and writer of the blog, dedicated to news about social networking sites such as MySpace, Facebook, Hi5, Friendster, Bebo and YouTube. Referred to as an internet entrepreneur, the Londoner says on his PeekYou profile that he has had no schooling, and remarks on his Mashable profile that "I run this joint". Pete has 97,387 friends on Mashable.

C ory Doctorow

Canadian blogger, journalist and science-fiction author Doctorow, 36, is the co-editor of award-winning group blog Boing Boing, which calls itself a "directory of wonderful things". The former Greenpeace activist dropped out of four universities and speaks most often about liberalising copyright laws. He is the author of science-fiction novel Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom and the non-fiction work The Complete Idiot's Guide to Publishing Science Fiction. He also write columns for magazines Popular Science and Make, and contributes to the New York Times Sunday magazine. Not a graduate himself, Doctorow has taught at the University of Southern California.

John Amato

Crooks and Liars, a blog about American politics, was put online by Amato in 2004. By 2006, it had received the Best Videoblog award at the Bobs (the weblog awards). Other contributors to the blog include Nicole Belle, Steve Benen, Logan Murphy and Howie Klein. The site contains an audio and visual archive of relevant political material. At first there was no original material but in 2005, the site began to distribute its own audio interviews with politicians and commentators.

Sven Lennartz

A relative newcomer to blogging, Lennartz is the co-founder of technology website and blog, Smashing Magazine. Not one for the casual browser, it is a tecno-heavy resource for web designers and developers. They promise to "smash" web developers with useful information. Lennartz is the owner of Dr Web Magazine, and the co-founder of the site, Vitaly Friedman, is the creator of The Web Developer's Handbook.

Rafe Needleman

San Francisco-based Needleman started out in 1988 covering business and technology stories in print at InfoWorld. He has been the editor-in-chief of Byte and the editor of Corporate Computing. From 1997 to 1998 he was the editor of technology website and during the bubble he was the editor of His blog, "Rafe's blog: technology, start-ups and other unpublishable items", has been running since 2004.

Additional reporting by Ida Bergstrom

scienceExcitement from alien hunters at 'evidence' of extraterrestrial life
Life and Style
Customers can get their caffeine fix on the move
food + drink
newsRyan Crighton goes in search of the capo dei capi

Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
Arts and Entertainment
Actors front row from left, Jared Leto, Jennifer Lawrence, Meryl Streep, Ellen DeGeneres, Bradley Cooper, Peter Nyongío Jr., and, second row, from left, Channing Tatum, Julia Roberts, Kevin Spacey, Brad Pitt, Lupita Nyongío and Angelina Jolie as they pose for a
Life and Style
techCould new invention save millions in healthcare bills?
David Moyes gets soaked
sport Moyes becomes latest manager to take part in the ALS challenge
A meteor streaks across the sky during the Perseid Meteor Shower at a wind farm near Bogdanci, south of Skopje, Macedonia, in the early hours of 13 August
voicesHagel and Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise, says Robert Fisk
peopleEnglishman managed quintessential Hollywood restaurant Chasen's
Life and Style
food + drinkHarrods launches gourmet food qualification for staff
Arts and Entertainment
Michael Flatley prepares to bid farewell to the West End stage
danceMichael Flatley hits West End for last time alongside Team GB World champion Alice Upcott
Life and Style
Horst P Horst mid-fashion shoot in New York, 1949
fashionFar-reaching retrospective to celebrate Horst P Horst's six decades of creativity
Members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community walk with a rainbow flag during a rally in July
Life and Style
Black Ivory Coffee is made using beans plucked from elephants' waste after ingested by the animals
food + drinkFirm says it has created the "rarest" coffee in the world
Life and Style

As Voltaire once said, “Ice cream is exquisite. What a pity it isn’t illegal”

Life and Style
food + drinkThese simple recipes will have you refreshed within minutes
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    C#.NET VB6 Developer (Software Developer, Software Engineer)

    Negotiable: Harrington Starr: C#.NET VB6 Developer (Software Developer, Softwa...

    SQL Developer (TSQL, SSRS, SSAS) Fund Manager - London

    £45000 - £50000 per annum + Benefits: Harrington Starr: SQL Developer (TSQL, S...

    Software Developer (JavaScript, TDD, Jasmine, Angular.JS)

    Negotiable: Harrington Starr: Software Developer (JavaScript, TDD, Jasmine, An...

    Front-End UI/UX Developer (HTML5, CSS, JavaScript, jQuery, Ang

    £45000 - £50000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Front-End UI/U...

    Day In a Page

    All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

    Robert Fisk: All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

    Chuck Hagel and Martin Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise
    Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

    Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

    So claims an EU report which points to the Italian Mob’s alleged grip on everything from public works to property
    Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

    Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

    Once the poor relation, the awards show now has the top stars and boasts the best drama
    What happens to African migrants once they land in Italy during the summer?

    What happens to migrants once they land in Italy?

    Memphis Barker follows their trail through southern Europe
    French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

    French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

    The ugly causeway is being dismantled, an elegant connection erected in its place. So everyone’s happy, right?
    Frank Mugisha: Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked

    Frank Mugisha: 'Coming out was a gradual process '

    Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked
    Radio 1 to hire 'YouTube-famous' vloggers to broadcast online

    Radio 1’s new top ten

    The ‘vloggers’ signed up to find twentysomething audience
    David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

    David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

    A blistering attack on US influence on British television has lifted the savvy head of Channel 4 out of the shadows
    Florence Knight's perfect picnic: Make the most of summer's last Bank Holiday weekend

    Florence Knight's perfect picnic

    Polpetto's head chef shares her favourite recipes from Iced Earl Grey tea to baked peaches, mascarpone & brown sugar meringues...
    Horst P Horst: The fashion photography genius who inspired Madonna comes to the V&A

    Horst P Horst comes to the V&A

    The London's museum has delved into its archives to stage a far-reaching retrospective celebrating the photographer's six decades of creativity
    Mark Hix recipes: Try our chef's summery soups for a real seasonal refresher

    Mark Hix's summery soups

    Soup isn’t just about comforting broths and steaming hot bowls...
    Tim Sherwood column: 'It started as a three-horse race but turned into the Grand National'

    Tim Sherwood column

    I would have taken the Crystal Palace job if I’d been offered it soon after my interview... but the whole process dragged on so I had to pull out
    Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

    Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

    Eden Hazard admits he is still below the level of Ronaldo and Messi but, after a breakthrough season, is ready to thrill Chelsea’s fans
    Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

    Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

    The Everton and US goalkeeper was such a star at the World Cup that the President phoned to congratulate him... not that he knows what the fuss is all about
    Match of the Day at 50: Show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition

    Tom Peck on Match of the Day at 50

    The show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition