Who is the biggest blogging service of all?

Elise Bauer has conducted a couple studies of market share in the blogosphere.  I originally found this story on Scoble’s Link Blog and tracked it back to Blogging Roller and, in turn, to Threadwatch.  From there I did what any other Google nut would do and I ran a search for the original study.  I found the link to Elise’s site on the Six Apart blog.  The analysis is pretty detailed and very interesting.  The oft quoted graph (just beneath this paragraph) clearly illustrates Blogger’s overwhelming popularity, follows closely by LiveJournal and TypePad.

The study only covered sites in the United States and does not take into account blogs that are not available to be indexed by Google’s spiders.  Apparently roughly 30% of TypePad blogs are basically hidden from Google’s view and this obviously impacts on the TypePad statistics, to name just one set of statistics.

Another interesting tidbit is that Blogger is "growing much faster than the average of all of the tools, and twice as
fast as the Technorati Index. Typepad is growing almost as fast as
Blogger.".  I wonder if the results are affected by Google’s ownership of Blogger?

In light of this tendency to compare products and services (something I do tend to do fairly often), Elise’s comments put the comparative debate regarding the best blogging platforms into perspective:

I’m often amused by the petty bickering that goes on in the blogging
community over which tool is better – Movable Type, WordPress,
Expression Engine, etc. Who cares? In the consumer market,
less than 1 percent of those wanting to blog have the skill level or
desire to deal with HTML tags, let alone configuring scripts for a
server. These tools will never win in the consumer space; they are just
too difficult to use.

They may find a home in corporate deployments however, as these
customers have the means and the need to host their own weblogs, rather
than use a third party service. The tools that will win in this space
may not actually be the best tools per se, but have the most organized
sales force, the best documentation, and the best support offerings.
Even so, many companies will still choose a hosted service such as
Typepad over doing it themselves, simply because it is easier and more
cost effective.

As much as I tend to rail against Microsoft, I am curious to see how MSN Spaces develops in the near future.  Elise considers this angle too:

Look to see MSN Spaces take off in the next 6 months. Microsoft is the
800 lb. gorilla sitting in the corner of most software markets,
blogging no exception. They have just as much market power as Google
does in this space and the market is still young enough for a big
player like Microsoft to quickly take a big chunk of the growth.

With all the hype about blogging and the insistence by many advocate of blogging that this is the way to go and that companies and people who don’t blog will be left behind, become destitute and eventually close down or wither away (vaguely reminiscent of the hype during the Dot-Com boom and we all know what happened there), blogs are tools.  They are improvements on static sites and allow even the least technically inclined person to create a dynamic and effective presence on the Web but they are still tools which are better used as such and not ends in themselves.






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