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November 11, 2009
Breitbart, Reuters, Drudge 2009

In his initial study of Drudge Report links, Kalev Leetaru analyzed every snapshot of the site taken between January 1, 2002 through December 31, 2008 -- or 171,717 pages in all.

To see how much the Drudge Report has been linking to Reuters in 2009, Leetaru recently compiled another databased using snapshots archived at takes a snapshot of the Drudge Report every two minutes, but archives only those snapshots that show a change (i.e., a headline has been added or removed, etc.) Leetaru found that between 2002 and 2008, the site averaged 69 updates per day.

For this quick look at 2009, Leetaru created a database using only the last snapshot of the day, for January 1, 2009 through October 31, 2009. In other words, this new 2009 database is not quite as comprehensive as the original one he compiled; if a headline/link remained on Drudge's site for less than a day, it's possible it wasn't recorded in this particular set of data.

Nonetheless, the data shows that the Drudge Report continues to link to fairly regularly in 2009, and that a modest number of those links contain the RPC strings that are apparently the code Reuters uses to identify a link as coming from Specifically, there are 674 links to from the Drudge Report this year, and 178 of them contain the RPC=22 or RPC=23 strings.

Over time, the percentage of Drudge Report links to with RPC strings has shown a steady decline. For example, in 2007 there were 1390 links to, with 90% of those links containing the RPC string. In 2008, there were 978 links to, with 71% of those links containing the RPC string. In 2009, the percentage drops to 26%.

Obviously, that's a big change from 2008 to 2009. But a closer examination of data on a month-by-month basis in 2008 reveals that links containing the RPC string steadily dropped throughout the year. In Q1 2008, 90% of the Drudge Report links contained RPC strings. In Q2 2008, it was 87%, in Q3 69%, and in Q4 it dropped to 41%.

This steady decline supports the theory that as Gawker's John Cook suggested earlier this year, Breitbart stopped doing "regular shifts" at the Drudge Report around July 2008.

But given that the RPC strings have continued to appear as late as October 20, 2009, Breitbart may still be manning the ship at least every once in a while. Or maybe that's just Drudge doing his long-time associate a good turn.

Posted by Greg Beato at 10:08 AM