Blog Post

How big is the Blogosphere really?

Dave Sifry’s State of The Blogosphere report has a much talked about event, one that generates maximum impact in the blogosphere, not to mention the generous link love. So much so, Sifry, CEO of San Francisco-based Technorati, a blog search company, has become synonymous with the rapid growth of the blog phenomenon.

In his latest missive he says there are 50 million blogs, which can make you go ….. realllllyyyyy! Well, Kevin Burton isn’t buying it, and he did number crunching of his own, using Sifry’s data and came to a different conclusion: the blogosphere isn’t growing as fast as Sifry suggests.

There might have been 50 million blogs that have ever been created but there aren’t 50 million blogs in active use.

Technorati says that there are 1.6 million postings per day, and with 50 million blogs out there, it works out to about 0.032 posts per blog per day. To Kevin it seems that there are a lot of inactive blogs out there.

I just checked the numbers for the April 2006 report: 35.3 million blogs and 1.2 million blog postings. That works out to about 0.034 posts per blog per day. Between the April and July reports, the blog posts per day are up 33%, while the total number of blogs are up 41.6%. Kevin might have a point when he writes: “number of active blogs is on a linear growth scale not an exponential scale… and Technorati has a high number of inactive weblogs in their index.”

I would let Kevin, Dave and others debate this issue. But while you are at it, please do read the lively debate currently underway at Kevin’s blog.

12 Responses to “How big is the Blogosphere really?”

  1. Deus Lo Volt

    I am a perfect example of this. I created a news blog about one year ago, and a second (on a different topic) about three months ago. I had an initial burst of enthusiasm with each. Then, I forgot about them. It was really too much work. Yet, they still sit there on a Google server somewhere.

    I am going back to reading traditional media where they actually go out and report stories, knock on doors, comb through data, etc.

  2. I’m with Ed. If we pin the active number of blogs in Technorati at about 20%, and Technorati is covering less than 20% of the blogosphere (which is totally true), then there are more than 50M active blogs.

    And if you toss in MSN Spaces, LiveJournal and MySpace, there are more than 100M active blogs.

  3. I’m with Kevin, it’s really the active blogs that count. I even have an inactive blog myself. For the most part, blogging is more effort than the average person wants to put into it. According to the numbers, most people aren’t really posting to their blogs or they are doing so infrequently. Of course, there are those who make multiple posts per day, but there are fare more that don’t even make a single post per day – that is if you go with the math that Kevin did. Math is a great way to figure things out, particular when the masses have bought into a misconception.

    You have to love what you do to blog. If you don’t, your enthusiasm will soon wane. Actually, I take that back. You have to have a PURPOSE to blog or it needs to bring meaning to you somehow.

    There are a billion things going on in the world and blogging is just one of them. If a you are a person who is going to blog, then you probably like it, otherwise why not would just go out and do something that you find MORE interesting than blogging.

    That’s how I see it.

    • Dave
  4. I don’t think it’s as simple as it’s being made out to be. If taken in context, they are both right. Dave is merely counting the number of claimed blogs on technorati. Kevin is trying to count the number of active blogs on technorati.

    The fact is that there are a lot more blogs than even technorati tracks, so if you use Dave’s methods, the blogosphere is much larger than 50 million. Kevin is in turn trying to make technorati’s tracked blogs a population when in reality it is a sample of the larger blog population(those tracked by technorati those not tracked). Kevin’s idea to take a meaningful sample falls apart when you realize that he wants to take a sample of a sample. We already have the sample, we call it technorati. Following that, if technorati is the sample, Dave is actually right.

  5. well let’s see, corporations are creating blogs en masse for every product and service under the sun, along with all employees being told to blog about their boring daily lives, along with the millions of stagnant and deserted blogs…easily past 50…

    but i suppose if you count only ‘active blogs’ it’s probably under 2 to 4 million, based on a formula that i pulled out of my arse…

  6. doesn’t matter how many blogs there are, it matters how many blogs are being READ. If I am posting every day about meaningless stuff, and no one reads my blog, does it really exist? Kind of like if a tree falls in the forest, but no one is around, does it make a sound?

  7. There are definitely more than 50 Million blogs. Technorati does not list all the blogs out there. For example, there are so many blogs on msn live that are not YET listed/linked on technorati. It could be true for lot more.

    About the Sifry’s figures, both may be right. Unless we have information about how long a blog has been inactive, it is difficult to say. There are 50 million blogs but a lot of them may be inactive for a while. Not every blogger posts every day. Many bloggers post once or twice a week, including some of the top 100 in the technorati list. Some bloggers the frequency is much less.

  8. Ronald Wielink

    Same story as the ones about GSM penetration in , e.g. my home country The Netherlands. “Now there are more GSMs than people in Holland!” or something like that. Not taking into account that you basically get GSMs for free with a new contract and most of the GSMs (and phone numbers) spend their time stowed away in some cupboard. With blogs it’s even easier/cheaper to get one, but if you have nothing to write about, lots of people just quit. But the blog still exists.