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How many blogs died today?

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The blog world needs reality checking and it can start by answering this question: Does anyone know how many people stopped blogging today?

The Pew Internet & American Life Project’s The state of blogging” data released in January, doesn’t tell us that. Data posted by BlogPulse and Technorati, is similarly incomplete.

Pew claims “that 7% of the 120 million U.S. adults who use the Internet say they have created a blog or Web-based diary. That represents more than 8 million people.”

Technorati reports number of blogs watched, more than 8.5 million, and BlogPulse puts the total number of identified blogs at 9.7 million, as well as new blogs created in any given 24 hours period (usually somewhere between 20,000 to 40,000).

I’m not disputing the accuracy of the numbers assembled by BlogPulse and Technorati and posted on their homepages or the Pew report, just their usefulness in assessing the state of blogs. It’s a general point: Growth numbers tell a small part of the story. A company can report revenue growth and still have a net loss.

The hype about blogs, inadvertently or otherwise, is helped by these estimates. For instance, many media outlets this week carried reports on the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s report, “How to Blog Safely” , citing these stats to illustrate the popularity of blogging. See this CNN story, for instance.

A lot of people blog, that’s for certain. A lot of people have also created newsgroups, mailing lists and Web sites, but there are many inactive newsgroups, mailing lists and Web sites. Check your own “blog roll” — how many links are still active?

What’s the likelihood that a blog that hasn’t been updated in 30, 60 or 90 days will ever be updated?

How many of the new blogs created are junk blogs, designed to optimize search engine results by repetitive use of certain words?

How many blog creators have developed multiple blogs? Or created one blog, but moved on to another?

The U.S. election fueled a lot of interest in blogs, and it’s argued that blogs will have considerable influence in many other areas and markets. Some blogs will thrive as businesses. Blog networks have already started to emerge and others may follow. But how many people will move on, end their blogs, after realizing it’s not for them or it just takes too much time?

I don’t have a clue what the impact of blogs will be. But I do know that anyone who writes a story about blogs that says 40,000 blogs were created today, without knowing how many also died today, doesn’t have a clue either.

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About KOB

  • This is a very good point, KOB! I checked my (fairly short) blogroll, and one of the sites has gone cob-web. (No post for 2 months.)

    On the other hand, when I do my weekly blog scan (which I’ve been doing regularly for 6 months, even though I’ve only been publishing it for a month now), I run across few dead blogs – I think the percentage might be less than 5%.

    What do I call a dead blog? One that was started more than four months ago, and whose last post was more than three months ago. (I give people a lot of leeway to get hooked on blogging, you see…)

    I have found your “junk blogs” a lot more predominant. Maybe 1 in ten as I scan are junk blogs.

  • KOB

    Thanks Dr.Pat — Your finding about junk blogs is interesting. I’ve yet to see any estimates about them.

  • According to Technorati statistics, about 55% of blogs are active, meanting that they have been updated at least once in the last 3 months.

    Hope that answers your question.


  • That’s a pretty generous definition of ‘active’. I’d like to see a list that classifies blogs based on level of activity. I wonder what percentage of blogs are updated daily or weekly.


  • KOB – There might be a market for a website that tracks dead blogs/websites. Seriously: if it did a decent job of monitoring, all of the media companies you mention above could theoretically add that data into their calculations. How difficult would that be to do or what are the technical ramifications? I have no idea. But you bring up a good point.

    What I’d like to see is the percentage of amatuerish/juvenile crap out there versus what is worth taking a look at. But that might be even more difficult to gague. Damned subjectivity…

  • Great point. A duh moment, though. I’d thought of that before I’d forgotten about it, as i’m sure it passed through evryone’s mind fleetingly. Good post.

    Your post also brings up another subject. Companies such as Technorati, just to pick one (David Sifry up there is the owner of Technorati) track new blogs and everything elee well.

    But they can’t possible track blogs created by one person. For instance, technically at one point I had eight. Now I have three.

    I’m not the only one with ownership of multiple blogs, including one I started Wednesday.

    So the number of blogs are measured but not necessarily the number of bloggers (though the trend is still obviously up up up).

  • great stuff KOB. i’m guilty of creating three blogs before setlling on my beloved Mondo, which doesn’t even count as a blog according to some folks.

    And i guess one of the three doesn’t count, since it was the same as my current, and only, one, except primitive in comparison. which means VERY VERY primitive.

  • oops, KOB did make the multiple blog point. I expanded it.

  • If you count running a BBS for about 10 years I’ve been blogging since before there was an internet to blog on.

    I currently have two primary blogs – one for business and one for politics – but I have multiple domain names and customized entry pages. For my political/personal blog I have maybe a dozen different addresses and entry pages.

    I wonder how this sort of thing impacts their tracking systems.


  • KOB

    Dave, thanks for that useful data point. Is that data you post and update on your Web site? I ask because it’s data that ought to be included in news reports about blog growth, especially since many reporters turn to your company for info. If you have a link, please share. I couldn’t find it. Thanks again.

    >>According to Technorati statistics, about 55% of blogs are active, meanting that they have been updated at least once in the last 3 months.

    Hope that answers your question.


  • One source of such information for real (as opposed to my quick&dirty counts) might be sites like Bravenet and Feedburner and the like who supply hit counters where the statistics are generated and tracked back at the home site.

    I know I can get a day-by-day (hour-by-hour if I want) breakdown of hits at my site, but I’m not sure just anyone could see them. I’ll try signing out of my blog, then trying the hit counter.

    If these stats are typically available, that might go a long way to answering your question.

  • Um we’re talking blogs not mine’s-bigger-than yours-honest-domain names and Web sites and entry pages.

    Aand that 55 percent is low dontcha think? That surprises me and I’m starting to question these blog numbers touted by boggers and everyone else.

    Maybe a million blog owners in USA?

  • KOB – The answer is: yes. I can click on the graph icon of a Bravenet hit counter, and see a breakdown of hits for my site, also the one from Sitemeter.com. The hit counter from eXtremeTracker.com even lists ISP addresses for hits!

    On the other hand, a hit counter from FreeLogs.com doesn’t give out that info. And lots of blogs don’t have a hit meter to check.

    Temple, what defines a blog? Single-owner=poster? Teams of three or fewer posters? Lack of corporate affiliation?

    I think the threshhold would depend on why KOB (or the blog-marketer) wants to know.

  • I just said what they were not. I wasn’t mentally up right now for describing what they are.

    By one definition i’ve heard a Newpaper Web site as a whole could be considered a blog because it is constantly updated on a variety of topics. But it isn’t, is it? No, it isn’t.

    Also bogs are often part of other Web sites.

  • TTLB Blogosphere Ecosystem could somehow figure into all of this as it tracks its list of blogs and ranks them by the number of incoming links they receive from other blogs on the list.

    I have noticed very few blogs that do not have one of those “I’m a [insert phyla rank here] in the TTLB Ecosystem” links.

    I have noted that my own blog ranks somewhere between “Marauding Marsupial” and “Large Mammal” depending upon how recent (or not-so-recent) my last update was, so there must be some relevance there. But I am curious about others’ experiences with the TTLB Ecosystem and how it correlates with traffic and frequency of updates.

  • uao

    This is a good post, and a good discussion.

    I started blogging in January. I didn’t even know what a blog was until then; had no clue, really.

    I also had no clue exactly what I wanted to blog about; so by mid-January, I was up to 11 blogs, each taking a different approach or subject.

    By the end of January, when I started to understand the blogosphere and how it worked, I settled on just one, which I update and maintain and care for like a child.

    The other 10 I abandoned to rot on the side of the road. So 91% of my blogs are “dead”.

    I wish there were more accurate information on how many active blogs exist; if 7% of adults really blog, why am I the only one among my friends and family (many of whom are daily internet users) to blog? I suspect the number of “real” bloggers to be considerably fewer.

    So I second (or third or fourth) the motion for more accurate measuring. It’d be cool if there was a definitive ranking system somewhere. Ranking #1 all the way down to #9,000,000 by incoming links (or weighted incoming links), and outgoing links. Tougher to do (but nothing is impossible) might be rankings by total visitors.

    TTLB may do all this (I never looked at it before until I saw the post above), but right now, it is displaying some signs of “dead blog syndrome” itself: adding a blog is disabled, the search is disabled, the blog showcase is “on hiatus”, and the last sidebar notice is from Jan. 17th.

  • Successful blogs may also run into the ills that have plagued BlogCritics (and Blogger, for that matter) – once they reach a certain size / popularity / frequency of posts, they’re toast without an IT-guru.

    Not that BlogCritics is a blog. I would call it a forum. Jan Herman’s stuff is a blog within the forum, and now, so are the five categories. Maybe. Technically.

  • If blogcriitcs isn’t a blog I don’t know what is DrP.

    I consider Blogcritics an uberblog on steroids.

  • KOB

    Very insightful comments from all — thanks.

    I found this Web site that takes a hard look at blog stats. Some of the questions that I posed here have already been raised by the author of this blog, blogcount.com


  • Oh, please- blog critics is an “uberblog on steroids”? It is as unreadable and unpersonable as any “content provider” site is.

    It is a website selling shit masked in a form to make it acceptable to the “7% of adults” who blog. Yes- 93%+ of the internet is sjite- but everyone of you posting to your own blog/website/BBS?message board is RESPONSIBLE for what you post- and quite frankly- 99.99999% of what is being posted is shite- myself included.

    We are not at the forefront of any great socialogical event- we are the test subjects for a new marketing tool keyed into our inner most desires, fears and “ids”. Nothing good will come of this except hearing about Tony’s ever expanding ego and book sales. I would go on- but I am sensitive to hijacking another person’s personal webspace….

  • mtanglo,

    Well, allow a person some hyperbole eh?

  • Eric Olsen

    mtlanglo, I would say, with respect, that you are virtually 100% full of shit.

    What is unique and I think great about Blogcritics is that it is EXACTLY a blog AND a web-based magazine.

    Not “personable”? It is dripping with personality.

    Obviously commercialization has moved into blogs — you expected something different? — but the vast majority of blogs are not commercialized, and the vast majority of those that are have done so simply out of necessity to try to fund a very time-consuming hobby. We “sell” what we can in an effort to keep the site functioning, not the other way around.

    Idiocy such as this really pisses me off – can you tell?

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  • Oh, this is a good post.
    It let me make think about How many blog born today.


  • notebook

    It is easy to get a new blog.
    So I dont care this question

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  • You bring up an excellent point. Just in my own limited experience, a number of blog pals I know have packed it in for various reasons. For some this is just a fad that they soon tire of. Like most things, it takes some perserverance and drive to endure, since a blog does take consistent effort to maintain.

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