The number of people in the United States who visited web logs in the first quarter of the year reached 50 million, and each of the top four hosting services for blogs on the Internet topped 5 million visitors, a web metrics firm said Monday.
The number of Americans visiting blogs amounted to 30 percent of the total online U.S. population, an increase of 45 percent over the same period last year, ComScore Networks said.
Other key findings in the report were that the top four hosting services for blogs had more than 5 million unique visitors. Those sites in order, starting with the largest, were Blogspot.com, Livejournal.com, Typepad.com and Xanga.com.
Blogspot.com's 19 million unique visitors amounted to more visitors than the NYTimes.com, USAToday.com and WashingtonPost.com. The numbers were "clear evidence that consumer-generated media can draw audience on par with traditional online publishers," the report said.
Five individual blogs had more than a million unique visitors. In order, starting with the largest, were FreeRepublic.com, DrudgeReport.com, Fleshbot.com, Gawker.com and Fark.com.
In general, political blogs were the most popular, followed by "hipster" lifestyle blogs, tech blogs and blogs authored by women.
Compared to the average Internet user, blog readers tended to be significantly more likely to live in wealthier households, be younger and connect to the web on high-speed connections. Blog readers also visited nearly twice as many web pages as the average Internet user, and were much more likely to shop online.
"The fact that we found 30 percent of the online population to have visited blogs clearly underscores the commercial importance of consumer generated and driven media," Dan Hess, senior vice president of ComScore, said in a statement. "It's noteworthy that while the blog audience is already quite large and growing, its demographic composition relative to the total population will appeal to many marketers."
The study was sponsored in part by blog-hosting service Six Apart and by Gawker Media.