Fun with numbers

By Nick Holmes on November 27, 2006
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Filed under Blogging, Fun

Blog enthusiasts will be chuffed to learn that the blogosphere represents more than half of all websites. So bloggers rule! Or do they?

Netcraft, in its November 2006 web survey reports that there are now over 101 million websites (hostnames), commenting that “Blogs and small business web sites have driven the explosive growth this year, with huge increases at free blogging services at Google [ie Blogger] and Microsoft.” Meanwhile Dave Sifry of Technorati reports that in October Technorati was tracking over 57 million blogs. Though Netcraft’s comments do imply every blog counts as a website, I’m not sure we’re comparing apples with apples here.

And how representative are the bloggerati? Web usability guru Jakob Nielsen writes that:

In most online communities, 90% of users are lurkers who never contribute, 9% of users contribute a little, and 1% of users account for almost all the action.

There are about 1.1 billion Internet users, yet only [yes, only] 55 million users (5%) have weblogs according to Technorati. Worse, there are only 1.6 million postings per day; because some people post multiple times per day, only 0.1% of users post daily.

Blogs have even worse participation inequality than is evident in the 90-9-1 rule that characterizes most online communities. With blogs, the rule is more like 95-5-0.1.

So, frequent bloggers are a tiny unrepresentative minority. I can’t say that’s news to me. But by comparing apples with pears Nielsen suggests that this ratio shows greater “participation inequalty” than in other online communities. Hogwash!