Technorati’s latest State of the Blogosphere report shows continuing growth in the number of active blogs, with over 57 million blogs currently being tracked.
However, growth in blog numbers has slowed slightly since the last quarter, something Technorati put down to more effective measures at limiting the number of spam blogs (aka 'splogs') listed. This is a good thing.
Let's dip into the figures...
Technorati claims that it has reduced the percentage of new splogs it indexes to around 4%, from 8% in last quarter’s figures. This reduction has impacted on overall blog growth, which is down from an average of 160,000 new blogs per day in July to 100,000 new blogs at the end of September.
So the immediate question we have is this: how much of the massive blog growth reported by Technorati in the past is down to splogs? And will Technorati a) restate old figures / growth, and, b) remove splogs already indexed, to clean up its directory?
The good news is that Technorati CEO Dave Sifry acknowledges the splog problem and promises a more detailed analysis of the issue next quarter:
“My gut feeling is that since we're better at dealing with Spam now, even some of the blue areas in last quarter's graph were probably accountable to spam, which would mean that rather than the bumpy ride shown above, we're actually seeing a steady increased (but slower) growth of the blogosphere.”
It's great to see some movement on this. We've previously suggested that Technorati throws a chunk of that $25m it has raised in VC funding towards tackling the splogs issue, which is one of the biggest threats to its business / credibility / usefulness.
How big is the Splogs problem?
A quick search on Technorati reveals that the amount of splogs listed is still a huge problem, meaning surfers have an awful lot of rubbish to sift through to find a genuine blog.
For instance, in the past week 26 of the 55 blogs in Technorati which linked to E-consultancy articles were, or at least appeared to be, splogs. Automated blogs that simply lift the extract from our RSS feed, and re-publish with a link. This, for the record, is the main reason why we do not publish full-text RSS feeds.
Is this important, other than for usability reasons? Well, yes, since there's an awful lot of talk about 'the influence of the blogosphere' from Technorati and Edelman, a partner company. And how is influence measured? By the amount of incoming links, that's how. Only these links include automated links, which are not remotely 'influential' in the real world.
Blogging is global
One of the really interesting things to emerge from this latest Technorati study is the fact that blogging is truly global. The chart below shows that the English language now accounts for less than 40% of blogs, with Japanese and Chinese language blogs in second and third place (in terms of popularity).
Here's Dave Sifry's summary of where we're at:
Technorati is now tracking more than 57 Million blogs.
Spam-, splog- and sping-fighting efforts at Technorati are paying dividends in terms of the reduction of garbage in our indexes, even if it does seem to impact overall growth rates.
Today, the blogosphere is doubling in size approximately every 230 days.
About 100,000 new weblogs were created each day, again down slightly quarter-over-quarter but probably due in part to spam fighting efforts.
About 4% of new splogs get past Technorati's filters, even if it is only for a few hours or days.
There is a strong correlation between the aging and post frequency of blogs and their authority and Technorati ranking.
The globalization of the blogosphere continues. Our data appears to show both English and Spanish languages are a more universal blog language than the other two most dominant language, Japanese and Chinese, which seem to be more regionally localized.
Coincident with a rise in blog posts about escalating Middle East tensions throughout the summer and fall, Farsi has moved into the top 10 languages of the blogosphere, indicating that blogging continues to play a critical role in debates about the important issues of our times.
For more information, facts and figures, plus some lovely charts, visit Dave's blog.