A colleague asked me yesterday how many blogs there are. He thought he had heard a figure of 5 million.

There is good evidence you can double that, at least. The monitoring and tracking service PubSub lists on its home page the number of blogs it’s tracking, currently 8.8 million plus, of which some 4.95 million are listed as ‘active’ whatever that means. Compare those figures as at March 3 with the figures quoted by PubSub’s Bob Wyman on January 18 of 8.049 million. That’s an increase of roughly 10% in about 6 weeks! Extrapolate that, if you will.

Back in October 2003, Perseus reported on a survey of blogs hosted by Blog-City, BlogSpot, Diaryland, LiveJournal, Pitas, TypePad, Weblogger and Xanga (clearly not a comprehensive list even then, but helpful for getting some weight of stats) and gave an estimate of 4.12 blogs, and estimated that the number of ‘hosted blogs’ would exceed 5 million by the end of 2003 and exceed 10 million by the end of 2004.

Going on what PubSub’s Bod Wyman says, the PubSub list of 8.8 million plus leaves out a lot of blogs. He says, ‘For instance, we don’t handle Chinese, Japanese and Korean very well at present and thus haven’t made much of an effort to track down the many millions of blogs that use those character sets.’

So what does that make the ‘real’ figure? 10 million, more? Who knows?

But what do the numbers really indicate? That’s a whole other story. For one thing, they do not indicate that there are ten million, or even five million bloggers sitting every day at their keyboards tapping and posting away!

In its survey exercise back in 2003, Perseus did some analysis of the numbers and found that a lot of blogs had been abandoned (males more inclined to abandon blogs than were females – hmmm) and 66% of surveyed blogs had not been updated for two months.

And back then (now too?) blogs generally were updated much less frequently than a lot of bloggers might like to think. Only 106.572 of millions of blogs surveyed were updated on average once a week and less than 50,000 on a daily basis.

Would ‘business’ blogging have changed the ratio very much in the past couple of years? I have my doubts.

So in the absence of some more up to date stats, those of us who blog at least every couple of days are members of a very small minority – and maybe that will ever be so.

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