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Date: Thursday, 14 Apr 2005 18:56

UNITED STATES: Steve Rubel summarizes a key finding from a recent survey of the general public:

  • 30% of those surveyed read blogs. That's a lot, people.
  • The majority, 52% of those surveyed, said bloggers should have the same rights as traditional journalists, while 27% did not express an opinion. Whoa!
  • A minority, 39%, said that they found blogs less credible than newspaper articles. However an additional 32% said they either did not know or had no opinion. To me, this means that there is an opening for bloggers to be respected.

Blogcount.com

Author: "Phil Wolff"
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Date: Sunday, 10 Apr 2005 22:09

REDMOND, WASHINGTON: Microsoft announced more than 4.5 million spaces (their term for weblogs) have been created. That's 3 million added in about 90 days, since 11 January 2005.

Abandonment rates not reported yet. The convergence/integration of blogs with other Microsoft assets, like MSN Messenger, Hotmail, photo sharing is supposed to improve retention. Will it? If there's an art to it, Yahoo!, Naver, Livedoor, and Microsoft are all experimenting madly.

UPDATE: Blake Irving, MSN's corporate vice president for the communication services and member platform group, was interviewed by eWeek's Matt Hicks...

MSN is making use of a common contact database across Spaces, Messenger and Hotmail to let users share contacts across the services. For example, in Messenger 7.0, users see icons called "gleams" that inform them when a contact has updated his or her Spaces blog.

Irving said the gleams have helped attract people to Spaces and, he suspects, have led many users to actively update their blogs as they notice friends regularly refreshing their blogs. Users are updating about 170,000 blogs on MSN Spaces every day and uploading about 1.9 million photos a day, Irving said.

Let's clarify something. Some report that 170k daily updaters is a small fraction of 4.5 million (around 4%), meaning that Spaces is not being adopted or getting traction. That's wrong. Most bloggers don't update daily.

A better indicator is how many update their blogs in the last 30 days. Let's compare MSN's 170k to LiveJournal's 291k. LJ's daily 290k active users represent 1.5 million active LJ'ers having some activity in the last 30 days, a daily:monthly ratio of 1:5.15 . So MSN Spaces should have ~880k active users. Note that we're working from daily activity out. Given 4.5 million signups, around 1 in 5 have become active users, not bad at all in a world of free hosting.

p.s. Should we start tracking gleam stats?

Blogcount.com

Author: "Phil Wolff"
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Date: Sunday, 10 Apr 2005 21:15

Marc Cuban claims his IceRocket search engine searches 10 million weblogs. Nick W at Threadwatch.org wonders how many are active. I wonder how many aren't in English.

There must be huge overlap Between PubSub, Technorati, Google, BlogPulse, Yahoo! and other search engines. One strategy for measuring the overlap:

  1. design a hash that hides the url, but is unique for any given url.
  2. The search engines dump their hashed list of urls to a file.
  3. A neutral third party (university, research firm, Blogcount.com) analyzes for duplicates and coverage of the space.

Optionally, each hashed url may have a TLD (country domain like .com or .ch or .iq), so we can break down coverage by source and country.

Blogcount.com

Author: "Phil Wolff"
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Date: Friday, 08 Apr 2005 15:04
Claiming one Technorati Profile and another Technorati Profile.
Author: "Phil Wolff"
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Date: Monday, 04 Apr 2005 15:27

UNITED STATES: The Pew Internet & American Life Project reports Podcasting catches on. The problem is they add all the mp3s downloaded for later playback (via web, p2p, etc.) to those downloaded through a podcast RSS enclosure, the definition of podcasting. Their demographics show affluent young highbandwidth people who don't hear what they need or want on radio... download.

Blogcount.com

Author: "Phil Wolff"
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Date: Saturday, 26 Mar 2005 23:42
Noted. Stats. Second most cited blogger on Technorati these days.
Author: "Phil Wolff"
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Date: Thursday, 24 Mar 2005 22:44

FRANCE: Music radio station SkyRock's Skyblog is growing quickly. They will have 3.5 to 4 million blogs by year end.

From their home page today:

  • 1,653,745 Skyblogs
  • 63,767,145 Articles
  • 87,312,381 Comments
  • Today:
  • 8,792 Skyblogs created
  • 405,414 Articles published

This averages out to a lively 39 posts per blog, 53 comments per blog. Assuming bloggers posted no more than one post today, 1 in 4 skybloggers were active today.

The 1.6 million Skybloggers are 2.6 percent of France's population.

Blogcount.com

Author: "Phil Wolff"
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Date: Monday, 21 Mar 2005 21:02

I've been a fan of John John C. DvorakDvorak for -- let's say decades. He's always been one of my favorite curmudgeons among technical columnists. We've both seen fads come and go, and that memory keeps us steady in hip deep hype. He's blogging now, he gets it, and he's started to metablog.

In a recent column for PC Magazine, Conformism in the High-Tech Era, he cites my post about the Korean blogosphere to make a point about jump-on-the-bandwagon hype and conformism.

"It is asserted that there are 11.9 million bloggers in South Korea, a country with a population of around 50 million people. This means that over 20 percent of the people in the country, including old ladies and babies, are bloggers. This is a laughable and needy assertion. IBM cannot even muster 0.1 percent of its employee base, and Korea manages over 20 percent of its entire population? This is how delusional the blogging-crowd members have become about their hobby. And, frankly, I don't get it. Everyone has to conform. It's the 'everyone must become a blogger because I am one' mentality."

He's making a bigger point, and I don't want to take away from it.

But on the South Korean numbers, I agree. It's hard to swallow. That's a lot of bloggers. A nation of bloggers, even.

Given that South Korea is one of the most wired places on the planet, would you think those numbers large for web users? for email users? for IM users? 75% broadband access in the home, compared to 45% in the United States. 95% of South Koreans have broadband access somewhere (home, school, work), many at 100 Meg per second, not even dreamed of in the U.S..

This is the place, after all, that elected a new president through the power of SMS texting. Where thousands of citizen journalists write OhmyNews.

For a more complete description of the evolution of blogging in Korea, read Korean Broadband Holds Lessons for U.S. by entrepreneur and blogger Bernard Moon.

In about 18 months, CyWorld went from nothing to being Korea's leading Web site in terms of page views and visit durations, and 19th in the world in terms of traffic (after AOL.com and Amazon.com), according to Alexa Traffic Rankings.

It's clear why Yahoo! started their blog service there, to learn about blending blogs with other services. Their sudden successes explain Yahoo! 360 blending blogs, Flickr, MyYahoo, etc. Microsoft Spaces blending IM. Friendster giving blogs to all their members.

The problem in this case, John, isn't a shortage of reality or skepticism. It's clutching old numbers when new realities defy experience. Blogging is one of those behaviors that take off in fertile ground, and South Korea is more fertile than most. Our challenge: forget selectively, so the world may astonish us.

Update: If you look at Alexa figures, you'll see Nate.com as the top site. Cyworld is now part of Nate. See also:

Author: "Phil Wolff"
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Date: Tuesday, 15 Mar 2005 07:43

Some findings reported by Technorati's David Sifry:

  • The number of blogs Technorati tracks doubled every 5 months for the last 20 months. [Useful for planning server purchases, I bet.] If the trend continues (and we don't know why it should), Technorati should be tracking 15 million blogs by August, 30 million by January.
  • Technorati discovers 30-40 thousand blogs daily.
  • Technorati is working hard to remove fake or spam blogs from their reporting. Perhaps 10% of malicious content makes its way through Technorati's defenses against comment spam, spam blog posts, and ping spam.
Not discussed:
  • How many blogs are abandoned or killed or misplaced daily?
  • How many new blogs are old blogs that have moved, or old blogs that are now continued on a new site by the same author's?
  • What percent of the blogosphere does T believe it tracks?
  • A useful or complete definition of the kinds of weblogs included in their statistics.
Sifry promises more stats soon.

Blogcount.com

Author: "Phil Wolff"
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Date: Monday, 14 Mar 2005 21:00

Nielsen/NetRatings studies web surfing behavior. For example, in January 2005

  • People surfed at least daily
  • They went to 62 domains a month
  • Look at 30-35 pages per session, about 45 seconds each

By comparison, some bloggers using newsreaders, like Robert Scoble, can keep up with a thousand blogs in the time others visit a few dozen. These blog readers:

  • Grab fresh stuff from blogs continuously.
  • Discover dozens of new blogs each month.
  • Consume 300-350 posts per session, most for 3 to 5 seconds each.

So RSS newsreaders, still in very early adoption, distort the numbers used in advertising metrics. Why?

Newsreaders change reader behavior, sometimes by an order of magnitude:

  • They load feeds in the background. This cuts network latency from that 45 seconds.
  • They only show the fresh stuff. And hide blogs you don't need to visit today. Robert Scoble says only a third of the weblogs he follows update on any given day.
  • They strip away distractions. Fonts, colors, banners, advertising, and sidebars aren't in feeds. So readers don't need to find their way on each new page before focusing on the text.
  • They present for efficient reading. The feeds are shown in ways that support skimming and navigation. Headline scanning, the "river of posts", and folder tree/feed navigation help drill down. Some include headline tickers, balloons or other alerts for peripheral notifice of updates. All let you scan a hundred headlines in a minute.
To Do:
  1. Research reader behavior down to the post level using newsreaders, instrumented to record actions and timing.
  2. Design how to blend these findings with "traditional" surfing behavior.
  3. Explore how advertising, subscriptions, and other economics are affected by using newsreaders.

Blogcount.com

Author: "Phil Wolff"
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Date: Sunday, 13 Mar 2005 17:09

Henry Copeland reports BlogAds second annual survey of blog readers is over. Early findings:

  • 75% are over 30 years old (up 16%)
  • 43% had family incomes greater than $90,000 (up 3%) (margin of error?)
  • One reader in five is a blogger
  • 1.7% are CEOs
  • 44% spend more than $500 for air tickets
  • 86% purchased music online
  • 75% are men (down 4%) (margin of error?)
  • Half found blogs their most useful source of news and opinion
  • 4.8% listen to podcasts weekly
  • 28% use RSS to read blogs
Not exactly typical. These are mostly readers of blogs which carry BlogAd advertising, so it is not a sample of the whole blogosphere.

Blogcount.com

Author: "Phil Wolff"
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Date: Wednesday, 09 Mar 2005 07:26

A little over six months ago (191 days) I looked at LiveJournal software's population. LJ software powers a number of sites, and I looked at 14 of them. Since then:

  • LiveJournal's share grew from 88% to 90% of the community.
  • SocialJournal folded. It had 189 active users of the 5255 who'd once tried or used the service.
  • The number of cumulative accounts grew 39% to 8.7 million.
  • The number of active accounts grew 10% to 1.67 million.
  • Growth was not evenly distributed. Only 4 of the 13 services experienced growth in Active Users (users updating in the last 30 days). The two largest (LiveJournal and GreatestJournal grew 13% and 11% respectively). Two of the smaller communities (InsaneJournal and Mweb) grew too, but the other nine lost active users.

This suggests:

  • Consolidation. The big get bigger. The smaller fight for scraps.
  • Critical mass helps the smaller survive.
  • New blood matters. In the last six months, two million people tried LiveJournal, 74 thousand a week. But after abandonment (people who stop blogging) and defection (those who switch to other services), LJ came out only 170 thousand active users ahead. That's a lot of new traffic to do a little better than breaking even.
. 29-August-2004 8-March-2005 191 days
Cumulative accounts Active in Last 30 Days Cumulative accounts Active in Last 30 Days Account Growth Active Growth
livejournal.com 4,346,145 1,337,754 6,366,282 1,508,359 146% 113%
greatestjournal.com 497,134 97,303 817,677 107,996 164% 111%
deadjournal.com 467,746 38,727 476,683 27,063 102% 70%
blurty.com 835,772 36,496 894,159 22,109 107% 61%
crazylife.org 34,537 1,974 37,973 1,489 110% 75%
aboutmylife.net 26,807 1,825 36,889 1,417 138% 78%
plogs.net 6,983 1,126 7,140 41 102% 4%
weedweb.net 19,379 1,084 23,931 1,038 123% 96%
journalfen.net 5,230 596 7,885 562 151% 94%
insanejournal.com 6,605 543 13,042 888 197% 164%
socialjournal.com 5,255 189
needlesspanic.com 26,515 142 26,785 95 101% 67%
minilog.com 8,774 120 9,403 35 107% 29%
blog.mweb.co.za 565 59 969 96 172% 163%
6,287,447 1,517,938 8,718,818 1,671,188 139% 110%

Blogcount.com

Author: "Phil Wolff"
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Date: Tuesday, 08 Mar 2005 00:38

WASHINGTON (CNN): via Bloggers Blog:

More than three-quarters of Americans -- 76 percent -- said they use the Internet, but only 26 percent said they were "very familiar" or "somewhat familiar" with blogs. ... Just 7 percent of adults said they read blogs at least a few times per week, according to the CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll. Forty-eight percent said they never do. ... The poll was based on telephone interviews of 1,008 American adults carried out February 25-27. It has a margin of error of plus-or-minus 3 percentage points.

My first reaction: Only adults? Diarists trend young. If you're worried about the future of newspapers or television news, start surveying the young, the mobile phone users, and the wired.

Findings:

  • 1/3 adult American Internet users are familiar with blogs
  • 1/10 are regular readers.

Separately, the Pew Internet & American Life Project reported yesterday that blogs were big in the 2004 election. Part of an overall trend toward using and trusting online news sources and using the net for conversation about politics. Acrobat files of the summary, the report, and Michael Cornfield's interpretation.

Blogcount.com

Author: "Phil Wolff"
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Date: Monday, 07 Mar 2005 00:44

Via the IAOC blog.

Blogging at IBM by Phil Borremans at 05:27PM (CET) on March 4, 2005

Hi everyone, just wanted to give an overview of how blogging is used at IBM.

At this moment we have about 2800 internal weblogs (on a total worldwide population of about 330.000 IBM'ers.) with about 12700 entries. About 200 blogs have more than 10 posts on them...

On the other hand, editors can come from any part of the company; engineers, communications, research, software... you name it. ...

Some of these blogs are "information blogs" linking to interesting articles, URl's, RSS feeds etc... but some are used for project management.

In this case blogs are used to get the team on "the same page" with regards to progress being made or issues being tackled.

We also have external blogs, mainly written by our people from developerWorks. As these are written by our engineers and developers they tend to cover specific topics in their area of expertise.

What can we extrapolate?

  1. Less than one percent tried to blog inside the firewall (I'm looking for a term besides "intranetally" or "domesticated"). About 0.8 percent.
  2. Let's assume most dabble first (people try a first post or two and abandon their first blogs), just like in the wild. So let's chalk up 6000 posts to experimentation. That leaves another 6700 posts for the 200 active bloggers, or 34 posts per blogger.
  3. Assuming 3 posts a week, most of the active blogs are less than three months old. So it is still very early in their adoption.
  4. Other blogging may not "public" even within the general intranet, limiting visibility to a project's or team's members. These blogs are unlikely to show in stats from a central blog host.

Questions:

  • How do bloggers choose to blog internally or externally? What are the likely indicators?
  • How much positive feedback does a blogger need to stick with blogging and make it a personal work practice? What forms of feedback (e.g. commenting in a blog, linking to a blog or blog post, showing up in a blogroll, mention in private, mention in a meeting or in public) work best?

Thanks to Steve King's IFTF Future Now blog for the tip.

Blogcount.com

Author: "Phil Wolff"
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Date: Sunday, 20 Feb 2005 00:56

NPR : Urban China Embraces Web; Rural Regions Lag China and the Internet Urban China Embraces Web; Rural Regions Lag All Things Considered, February 17, 2005· Urban Chinese are embracing the Internet. One especially popular site is Ninth City, which provides an imaginary world. Men and women can plan weddings, invite guests, set up registries and tie the knot -- multiple times. There are half-a-million bloggers now. But a digital divide remains between wired city dwellers and poor, often illiterate country peasants.

Author: "Phil Wolff"
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