They may be on top of most published academic rankings, but when it comes to brand presence and recognition on the Internet, Harvard, Yale, Chicago and many other top runners have conceded the numero uno position to the University of Wisconsin at Madison in the TrendTopper MediaBuzz Internet analysis published by the Global Language Monitor.

The TrendTopper MediaBuzz analysis is published bi-annually, in spring and fall editions, and captures the brand equity of universities and colleges in the U.S. in terms of their global impact on the Internet and social media during the year.

It analyzes data collected from the Internet, social media, and blogosphere as well as the top 75,000 print and electronic media using a mathematical model and thus purports to be an unbiased reflection of what is actually being felt and said about these institutions, rather than their ratings on certain academic criteria.

The rankings include specialty (and for profit) schools as well, such as Art, Business, Design, Music, and even Online Education. Most specialty schools are included in the College category with the exception of the online university, which is assigned to the University category.

The December 2010 ranking in the University category has Wisconsin at the top followed by University of Chicago, Harvard University, MIT and Columbia in the first five. Cornell University and the University of California at Berkeley also broke into the Top Ten, knocking out Stanford and Princeton.

In the College category, Davidson College of North Carolina emerged at top spot.

The MediaBuzz list also compiles the Best of Class (BOC) from among all, the designation being awarded to those schools that are first in terms of brand repute and impact, either in the overall ranking or in a specific classification. Among the 12 BOC designations in the latest rankings, Babson emerged as the best business school while University of Phoenix won top spot in the online category.