Blogger or Blog-air?

There may be lies and damn lies but at least The Numbers Guy has saved us from the pseudo-statistical inflation of the blogsphere. Instead of 31.6 million blogs, an estimate that many, like me, have unquestioningly referenced, Wall Street Journal Online columnist Carl (aka Numbers Guy) Bialik says there may be more like 3.5 million active blogs — if “active” is defined as a posting in the last 30 days. And, he suggests, far fewer than a million bloggers do it daily. Thanks to Staci Kramer at Paid Content for pointing me to Bialik’s column, which is worth reading in its entirety, as I will only summarize a few points here. Bialik writes that when BlogPulse researcher Natalie Glance studied activity in January, she found that “the typical active blogger posted an update just once every 10 days.” Elsewhere he writes that, at a recent blogging conference, Technorati chief executive David Sifry estimated that “daily volume is 800,000 to 900,000 posts.” Bialik notes that BlogPulse, “which says it has more blogs in its index, counts only between 350,000 and 450,000 posts a day — and that number has held steady for about a year, even as the total number of blogs has accelerated.” But the real thrust of Bialik’s commentary is that counting blogs is beside the point. It’s traffic and readership that matter. And here the message is similarly deflating — blog reach seems to be exaggerated. He asked ComScore Media Metrix to look at the April traffic for 13 prominent blogs, by counting their unique visits. “Just five met the company’s minimum threshold for statistical significance of about 150,000 monthly visitors,” Bialik writes. “Media and gossip site Gawker had the most, with 304,000 unique visitors. The others that cleared the cut: Defamer (287,000), Boing Boing (250,000), Daily Kos (212,000) and Gizmodo (209,000) … By point of comparison, comScore says the New York Times’s Web site had 29.8 million unique visitors in April.” Bialik presumably offered that last comparison as a reality check, but it coul be stood on its head. The Times is over a century old. These blogs are barely out of their virtual diapers. Iwonder what the comparisons will look like in a few years — or whether incumbent media will simply acquire the top blogs and extinguish any distinctions between the new and old media.

Tom Abate
Cause if you ain’t Mass Media, you’re Mini Media