While you read this, how many blogs were born?

ON BLOGS

August 13, 2006|By TROY MCCULLOUGH | TROY MCCULLOUGH,SUN COLUMNIST

On July 31, the authoritative blog tracking service Technorati recorded its 50 millionth blog.

Hundreds of thousands more blogs have been registered since.

The phenomenal expansion continues to amaze Technorati's founder, Dave Sifry, who released his quarterly report on the state of the blogosphere last week.

Technorati is tracking 100 times more blogs today than when it started three years ago. The blogosphere continues to double in size every six or seven months. And as of July, 175,000 blogs are created daily - that's more than 7,200 blogs each hour and about two each second.

"Can this possibly continue?" Sifry asks in his report (found at sifry.com/alerts). "Will I be posting about the 100 Millionth blog tracked in February of 2007? I can't imagine that things will continue at this blistering pace - it has got to slow down.

"I shake my head as I am writing this," Sifry adds. "The only thing still niggling at my brain is that I'd have been perfectly confident making the same statement 7 months ago when we had tracked our 25 Millionth blog, and I've just proven myself wrong."

As the number of blogs has increased, so too has content.

The Internet's 50 million blogs create 1.6 million new posts each day - more than 18 posts a second - about double the number of daily posts created a year ago.

One major drawback to this rapid rise has been spam.

Despite Technorati's intense filtering efforts, Sifry says, about 8 percent of new blogs appear to be spam blogs - or splogs, as they've come to be known. Most of the renegade splogs are eventually filtered from the index, Sifry says, but they constantly threaten to gum up the system.

Automated splogs also send out a constant flood of pings - signals blogs send out when they are updated, allowing sites like Technorati to track them - in an attempt to game the system and gain unwarranted attention. About 70 percent of the pings Technorati receives come from splogs, Sifry says, but nearly all are blocked before being indexed.

"This is going to be a fight that is going to continue as long as people find the web useful," he writes.

English is still the dominant language of the blogosphere, but only by a slim margin. Thirty-nine percent of the blog posts tracked by Technorati were written in English. Thirty-one percent were written in Japanese, and 12 percent were written in Chinese.

Curiously, the most prevalent time for English-language posts is between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. Eastern time, with another spike around 8 p.m., suggesting that many people are updating their blogs at work, Sifry says.

Japanese blogs, on the other hand, tend to be updated at night and in the early morning hours before work.

As for what the future holds for the blogosphere, it's anybody's guess.

Common sense would seem to agree that the rapid expansion can't continue for much longer, but no one seems certain when - or to what degree - things will slow down.

For the time being, it's full speed ahead.troy.mccullough@baltsun.com

Listen to Troy McCullough's podcasts at baltimoresun.com/onblogs.

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