The blogosphere is maturing and becoming part of the mainstream media.
In a report issued Thursday, The State Of The Live Web, April 2007, David Sifry, founder and CEO of blog search engine Technorati, details the slowing of blog proliferation and the increasing popularity of blogs in relation to mainstream media sites.
The number of blogs being created worldwide every day remains considerable: 120,000, according to Sifry, whose site now tracks some 70 million blogs.
But it's taking the blogosphere longer now to double in size. From the second quarter of 2004 through second quarter of 2006, the number of blogs tracked doubled every 150 to 200 days. Moving from 35 million to 70 million in March took 320 days.
Among the blogs being created daily, some 3,000 to 7,000 are splogs, or spam blogs, designed to draw and profit from search engine traffic with pseudo-content. This is down from December when 11,000 splogs appeared daily. Technorati purged some 341,000 splogs from its index during that period. Sirfy said the problem is manageable.
There are now more blogs among the 100 most popular sites tracked by Technorati. In the third quarter of 2006, 12 blogs made that list. In the fourth quarter of the same year, there were 22 blogs, suggesting, as Sifry puts it, that "the audience is less and less likely to distinguish a blog from, say, NYTimes.com," which is to say a mainstream media site. It's not clear from the data provided, however, that the increasing popularity of blogs correlates with the disinclination or inability to distinguish between personal and professional journalism.
The blogosphere is also becoming decidedly international, with Japanese beating out English as the most popular language for blogging in the fourth quarter of 2006. Blog posts in Japanese now account for 37% of posts worldwide, up from 33% in the third quarter of 2006. Posts in English fell to 36% of all posts, down from 39%. Chinese represents the third most popular language for blog posts at 8%, down from 10% in the third quarter of 2006.
It may also be worth noting that while blogging tends to be thought of as personal publishing, it's happening around the clock, particularly in the United States. "It would also appear that a significant number of people who are blogging are doing it during work hours," Sifry said in his report.