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17/04/2006

Take care with your blog stats: new Technorati figures hit the web

Technorati stats are the most regularly updated and in my experience the most quoted in the media and marketing industries. If we start building business and marketing investment cases with these stats in mind, best give them some close scrutiny...

Technorati's founder Dave Sifry has released his latest tranche of statistics about the "state of the blogosphere" today - and its still growth, growth, growth for blogs...

Hurrah, we chorus, once more.

A note of caution though: if you are using these stats to back up serious pro-blog arguments, best to be aware of some potential counterpoints, and even point them out to people when you are presenting, less you be undermined by more numerate or doggedly cynical colleagues.

Yes, we're still seeing huge growth in the number of blogs - ye gods, man it's double the size of six months ago and an increasing percentage are living longer than three months! - but the rate of growth does look like it's slowing down.

The rate of growth in these updates from Technorati used to be talked about in terms of "the blogosphere doubling in size every five months" and that it "showed no sign of slowing down" (I know those numbers well, I've quoted them a lot). But that figure shifted to five-and-a-half months in January this year and to six months at this latest count.

As Steve Rubel points out, it might be a different story if myspace blogs were included, but they don't seem to have to have been, and based on the Technorati numbers the growth rate is slowing down. If so, we need to discuss whether that is significant and what the reasons may be.

Mr Sifry says:

A better indicator of the growth of the blogosphere than simply the number of new blogs created each day is the rate of postings to those blogs. Daily Posting Volume tracked by Technorati is now over 1.2 Million posts per day, which is about 50,000 posts per hour.

If we take him at his word we've got flat growth, since 1.2 million posts per day and 50,00 an hour were the numbers he quoted for January 2006 (in February).

I may sound like I'm nit-picking, but I'm only raising this because I know others will, when I'm in the boardroom trying to sell them revolution. I'm a natural optimist/enthusiast, so I've learnt always to be sceptical before anyone else gets the chance, answer their questions for them - saves a lot of bother later.

These Technorati numbers are important - more important than when Mr Sifry began quoting them about 18 months ago, because social media is being taken a lot more seriously now and Technorati's influence as an authority on the blogosphere has grown accordingly. Maybe it needs a statistician or analyst play Devil's advocate for Technorati's figures before they're published?

Technorati stats are the most regularly updated and in my experience the most quoted in the media and marketing industries. It was Technorati that coined the "one blog created every second" stat that has been quoted so often in UK media since the boom in coverage of social media began at the start of this year.

If the rate of growth of blogs is easing, we need to be up-front about that or we'll lose credibility, give the nay-sayers a bit more ammo. Anyhow, the growth in social media overall, blogs included, is obviously growing at a stellar rate and will continue to do so (one blog and one myspace account at least a second being created - will that that do you?).

Just make sure you have some good answers based on statistical evidence. The authors of Naked Conversations are not the only  ones who are getting a grilling on the numbers and the evidence behind blogging - as this whole thing becomes more important to business you will get all sorts of people asking awkward questions.

Here's a table comparing key stats from Mr Sifry's blog on figures for October 2005, January 2005 (quoted in February) and the current April 2006 numbers:

                                                       
 

 
 

October 2005

 
 

January 2006

 
 

April 2006

 
 

Number of blogs tracked by Technorati

 
 

19.6 m

 
 

27.2 m

 
 

35.3 million

 
 

Number of new blogs every day

 
 

70,000

 
 

75,000

 
 

75,000

 
 

Rate of growth

 
 

Doubles every 5 months

 
 

Doubles every 5 ½ months

 
 

Doubles every six months

 
 

Percentage of new blogs that are fake or spam

 
 

5.8%

 
 

9%

 
 

9%

 
 

Number of blogs still being updated after three months

 
 

-

 
 

13.7 million (50%)

 
 

19.4 million (55%)

 
 

Rate of posts to blogs (per day / per hour)

 
 

792,000 / 33,000*

          

 
 

1.2 m / 50,000

 
 

1.2 m / 50,000

 

* Quoted in this post as "...on average, between 700,000 and 1.3 Million posts made each day.  That's about 33,000 posts per hour."

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Comments

This was worth pointing out, Antony. Plus the gure of a blog a second is not that many at the end of one year, in terms of reaching any massive tipping-point among blog-keepers. From these gures, we can probably chart where saturation in the western world will be—in which case those who are the gatekeepers of the blogosphere (indeed, of technology) will seriously need to examine how the remainder of the world can join in.
¶ As an optimist—and an idealist—I would like to see more cultures bridged, something which is not happening with as much vigour as one would hope, especially as English is not the lingua franca everywhere on Earth. (My own blog has been rather Anglophone-nation-visited of late, noted here: http://www.jackyan.com/blog/2006/04/report-card-please.html .)

Sorry, the word figures appears as gures above.

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