How Many Blogs Are There? Is Someone Still Counting?

The question of how many blogs are out there is currently buzzing in my e-mail inbox and in my (Dutch) feed list. Why do we even care about the total number of blogs? Carl Bialik from the The Wall Street Journal explained it as follows in 2005:

First, let’s step back and consider why we’re counting blogs at all. You no longer see articles that attempt to demonstrate the legitimacy of the Web by stating how many Web pages there are. But blogs are still in the process of entering mainstream consciousness, so numerical credibility is important; bloggers themselves cite the statistics a lot.

It’s been almost a year (April 2007) since David Sifry wrote his latest report on ‘State of the Blogosphere.’ Even though Sifry’s reports only include blogs that are indexed by Technorati, the numbers in the reports are often used to generally reflect upon blogs, blogging and the blogosphere. Sifry’s reports started out as a quarterly reports but are no longer published as frequently. Does this mean that we no longer need “numerical credibility” to account for the phenomenon of blogs? Sifry stated in his latest report that:

The state of the Blogosphere is strong, and is maturing as an influential and important part of the web.

For nearly four years, we’€™ve been tracking and enabling the growth of this phenomenon and theirs is much in our data to indicate that the medium is “€œgrowing up.”

Is the medium mature now? Is that why nobody seems to be counting blogs anymore? Do we no longer feel the need to count blogs because we have established their importance?

I don’t think the blogosphere is quite mature yet. Technorati currently states it is tracking over 112.8 million blogs, a number which obviously does not include all the 72.82 million Chinese blogs as counted by The China Internet Network Information Center. Blog statistics often concern the English language blogosphere but we should not forget about the millions of other blogs that are not always included in estimations.

Another important question we should ask ourselves is where these numbers come from. How do we even count blogs? Should we use numbers provided by software platform, by country or by indexing engine? Duncan Riley used to do frequent ‘manual’ blog counts on the Blog Herald based on software platform and country. An incredible initiative in an attempt to achieve a rough estimation on the total number of blogs. However, it would be nearly impossible to re-do such a count because it relies on many sources that unfortunately no longer count blogs.

The ‘easiest,’ most obvious and arguably the most accurate estimation on the total number of blogs could be given by the indexing engines and the ping services. Even though not all blogs send out pings to the ping services, all the major blog software platforms do. Unfortunately ping servers do not disclose the amount of blogs that ping their services. Technorati as a ping service and indexing engine does disclose the number of blogs they track but Google doesn’t. Am I the only one who is curious about the total amount of blogs Google is tracking?

Have we reached such a great amount of blogs that we no longer feel the need to count them? Should we count them? Does it matter how many blogs are out there?

Comments

  1. says

    I agree with Ian…Stumbling through blogs is really depressing because there are so many that are inactive. Outside of the Technorati 100, it’s hard to locate the active bloggers.

  2. says

    Agree with the comments above. A blog is not a website – though better than counting them would be to rate publication frequency/ blog posts. In my opinion # of posts per day would make perfect sense – eleminating everything that has gone to sleep.

  3. says

    The problem is that too many blogs are created without the intent to say anything meaningful. These days internet marketing gurus advise every business to throw up some crap on a blog to help their sites rank.
    The amount of passionate bloggers is a lot lower than the amount of bloggers, and believe me, under the age of 30 you will find that probably 1 in 4 has a blog and takes it seriously.

  4. says

    Interesting feedback, thank you. It would be intriguing to visualize the total number of blogs (the blogosphere) with the active core in the middle. How active is this core? Or does the blogosphere consist of a huge graveyard of dead blogs.

    How do we define what an active blog is? As Michael suggests one blog post a month? Or more than daily as Harald suggests?

    Fire Town: The meaningfulness of blogs is an interesting discussion. If there are 1 billion blogs, what does it mean if 99,99% are inactive, or contain useless information? Which in its turn releases another discussion, what is meaningful? What is meaningful for me might not be meaningful for you. Do blogs need to be meaningful?

  5. Gene says

    I would find the most value in a description of how many blogs are in various fields, such as “energy”, “engineering”, or “science and technology” (perhaps with subcategories such as earth sciences, physics, geology, etc.). Naturally there would ideally need to be some kind of common definition of what fits into what category.

  6. says

    there are a lot of junk/inactive blogs out there, but there are also a ton of high-quality, frequently updated ones… it’s quite an awesome display of human energy and desire for an outlet/way to express oneself

  7. says

    Do MySpace, Facebook or Stumble pages count as blogs? Or do you only count WordPress, Blogger or LiveJournal as blogs?

    Some people have websites that they count as blogs such as ProBlogger or Steve Pavalina.

    Has a blog ever been clearly defined?

  8. says

    Great post, but I think you have a point about whether it matters anymore or not. The number of actual bloggers, active or inactive, would be interesting to know. Also, are there bloggers on other planets out there in the Universe? It’s logical. If so, how many blogs are there in the Universe?
    .
    a blog is born
    somewhere on the planet
    – while you read this
    .

  9. says

    It does matter how many blogs there are to people like me because I’m writing an article about blogs and it would be nice if I could throw in a recent accurate number on how many there are! And I know I bookmarked something somewhere….Pew Internet Research has blog user statsitics – but not how many blogs and I’ve seen figures from 11 million to 200 million. How about if I do a search in Google blog search for the word “the” or something….maybe “blog” cause it’s four letters…but, then you get blogs and blog pages mixed together…

  10. says

    “Does it matter how many blogs are out there?”

    I think, it is important to accent relevance and impact of blogging. Or just because people loves numbers :)

  11. says

    Normally, I post a post a day. But I’ve had a horrible sinus infection for 21 months which has kept me in bed a lot. Thank God I am FINALLY getting surgery for it. My coughing got so bad last week that I couldn’t breathe and had to go to the hospital in an ambulance.

    I go way back to BEFORE the internet. I used to play Star Trek on a teletype in my apartment for $ 9 per cpu hour, plus crushing long distance charges. There were NO personal computers in the mid- 1970s…yet.

    I remember the days of Genie and Compuserve and bbs systems when you would log on to post comments, chat or play Legend of the Red Dragon, all in TEXT.

    Back then BBS sites would come up and die, some died because people hacked the site and stole all the personal and credit information of the users. I remember one very popular dating site going down because of this. This was back in the early 1990s.

    There seem to be many reasons why blogs go inactive or die. I have seen blogs where the blogger says ” I am burned out . “, or ” I have personal reasons for quitting. ” , yet the blog stays up.

    But one problem that I have seen is that Blogger has rules which limit nudity. And uses it to censor popular blogs. One had over a million hits, had NO nudity on it, yet someone found it offensive because the blogger was a lesbian. I mentioned this on my blog and was really angry about it because the blogger made really interesting and intelligent posts and shouldn’t have been censored.

    Other blogs stop working or the blogger quits blogging but never removes the blog.

    One of my favorite blogs, Pittsburgh Dish, no longer seems to work and I can’t access it, even to look at past posts.

    Perhaps what is needed is a blog DPW ( like a street sweeper truck ) which would contact the blogger and remove blogs after a period of time, say a year or so without any activity.

    I ping Technorati every time I post or sometimes in a few days depending on how I am doing physically. I have over 5 or 600 posts in a over a year at this point.

    I am signed up on a number of reporting sites, but don’t get many comments. I don’t think people aren’t reading it, but there are technical issues that limit me from knowing for sure . ( see below ).

    I do wish there were some kind of course on how to do technical things on a blog. I don’t know how to do certain things and frequently you see things like – insert this into the header, etc. I’ve never known how to do this.

    Perhaps a blogging course and maybe a blogging etiquette course as well is needed ?

    If you die, I guess your blog lives on forever…

    As they say in the LASFS, death will not release you, even if you die…

  12. says

    I’d like to know how many blogs are tracked by technorati.com, I could not locate how many are tracked, I could only find my ranking. Is the total amount of blogs being tracked available?

    Keith

  13. says

    blogsphere is the trends it delf. so, whoever smart in SEO, he can change the world! spread the influence :-) lets spread peace on blogsphere. agree?

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