I say unfortunate for the lack of a better word without sounding harsh.
Just in case you are wondering what that chart is trying to tell (which is perfectly fine)
Nick Bilton, who constructed this chart, got curious and went to the top 98 websites in the world and found out how many links they have on their home page. Then he used charting tools like processing to create the bathing bubbles you are seeing aside.
The conclusion ?
Too many bubbles can drown you. And also, top web sites have lots and lots of links on their home pages.
But seriously, apart from looking really pretty, does this chart actually provide that conclusion?
I think Nick and the O’Reilly radar team could have much better with a simpler and fortunate chart selection.
A histogram of # of links on popular home pages
like the one below would have been very easy to read and get the point.
I showed some dummy data in the histogram, but when you create 2 histograms, one for popular sites (ranked below 5000) and one for not-so-popular sites (>5000) you can easily make the point and use the bubbles for a warm bath.
A better alternative is to show a scatter chart
with site rank on one axis and # of links on home page on another axis, that way a conclusion like Top Sites Links More can be easily established.
Even a bar chart with number of links on each home page
could have been better than umpteen bubbles
You could easily add a bar with “avg. number of links on non-popular sites” to contrast the linking behaviour of large sites wrt small sites.
But alas, we are treated to an unfortunate bubble chart that does nothing but look pretty (and ridiculously large)
What do you think ? How many bubbles are too many ?