The blog counting game

Question: do these count as blogs?

http://isbeliamoorehead.spaces.live.com/
http://loveableleonamae.spaces.live.com/
http://lno-nd.spaces.live.com/
http://rocoko0525.spaces.live.com/

Question: if you’re an advertiser what kind of person do you want to reach? People who publish empty spaces like those? Or folks who publish real content and have real audiences?

So, when Microsoft says “we have the most blogs” does that even matter to ANYONE?

No. Advertisers see through that smoke screen. That’s why more and more money is pouring into real blog networks like B5 Media and Federated Media Publishing and AdBrite.

Just wondering how Microsoft defines “blogs” if they get on stage and say “we have more of them than anyone else?”

Are all blogs the same? Even ones that have no content in them? (By the way, a very high percentage of the “most recently published Live Spaces” are empty like this — I’ll give you a better count in a few).

Comments

  1. Those examples look like MySpace pages. Since there is a (generally used) blog section for each persons MySpace page, does MySpace compete as one of the largest blog-hosting sites, like Live Spaces?

  2. Those examples look like MySpace pages. Since there is a (generally used) blog section for each persons MySpace page, does MySpace compete as one of the largest blog-hosting sites, like Live Spaces?

  3. I’m pretty sure no one with a clue at Microsoft has said we have more blogs than any other service because MySpace’s published number of blogs is higher than any number we’ve published. What I have seen mentioned is that according to ComScore, there were more unique users visiting MSN Spaces WORLDWIDE than any other such site on the planet.

    Feel free to point out that MySpace generates more page views than we do with less unique users visiting the site. Bonus points for pointing out than none of your A-list blogging buddies use any of our services.

  4. There is a definition of blog on wikipedia and it is different from yours. Maybe you should go fix it because that definition includes a whole lot more web pages than yours does.

  5. There is a definition of blog on wikipedia and it is different from yours. Maybe you should go fix it because that definition includes a whole lot more web pages than yours does.

  6. I’m pretty sure no one with a clue at Microsoft has said we have more blogs than any other service because MySpace’s published number of blogs is higher than any number we’ve published. What I have seen mentioned is that according to ComScore, there were more unique users visiting MSN Spaces WORLDWIDE than any other such site on the planet.

    Feel free to point out that MySpace generates more page views than we do with less unique users visiting the site. Bonus points for pointing out than none of your A-list blogging buddies use any of our services.

  7. The most number of blogs doesn’T really matter to advertisers. What they want is a high number of quality, high traffic, niched blogs.

  8. The most number of blogs doesn’T really matter to advertisers. What they want is a high number of quality, high traffic, niched blogs.

  9. Alfred: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blog doesn’t agree with my definition, although I notice that that page only links to things that fit my definition of blogs as examples so there is SOME agreement.

    Also, Wikipedia has been demonstrated to be inaccurate enough that I would never take its word as “authoritative” alone.

  10. Alfred: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blog doesn’t agree with my definition, although I notice that that page only links to things that fit my definition of blogs as examples so there is SOME agreement.

    Also, Wikipedia has been demonstrated to be inaccurate enough that I would never take its word as “authoritative” alone.

  11. Dare’s right. It’s about the total number of unique visitors/month (according to ComScore, NOT Microsoft) that you hear about, not the total number of Spaces created since inception – a stat which isn’t all that interesting in and of itself.

  12. Dare’s right. It’s about the total number of unique visitors/month (according to ComScore, NOT Microsoft) that you hear about, not the total number of Spaces created since inception – a stat which isn’t all that interesting in and of itself.

  13. Mike: ahh, OK, so MSN Messenger gets a new icon next to my name because I updated my Live Space with, say, a new bookmark or photo, then all my friends go to check it out. Yeah, I can see how that would generate a boatload of traffic since 200 million people have used MSN Messenger in the past 30 days. But I don’t get what ANY of that has to do with blogging.

  14. Mike: ahh, OK, so MSN Messenger gets a new icon next to my name because I updated my Live Space with, say, a new bookmark or photo, then all my friends go to check it out. Yeah, I can see how that would generate a boatload of traffic since 200 million people have used MSN Messenger in the past 30 days. But I don’t get what ANY of that has to do with blogging.

  15. Robert, you ask: “if you’re an advertiser what kind of person do you want to reach?”

    Whether or not a specific blog is of interest to advertisers is completely irrelevant to the question of “what is a blog” and it is also irrelevant in determining if the “blog” is useful, good, etc. The examples you provided included pictures, book lists, etc. which, for all we know, are considered vitally important to some community of people associated with their publishers. It is also possible that what you’re seeing are simply new blogs that will contain much more content in the future. (It is my experience that most blogs start off with just a picture or a “hello, world” post and then more content arrives later.) If you say that these things aren’t “blogs” today, then if they start publishing more content tomorrow, will you call them blogs? If they do become “blogs” tomorrow, what name do you use to describe them today?

    bob wyman

  16. Robert, you ask: “if you’re an advertiser what kind of person do you want to reach?”

    Whether or not a specific blog is of interest to advertisers is completely irrelevant to the question of “what is a blog” and it is also irrelevant in determining if the “blog” is useful, good, etc. The examples you provided included pictures, book lists, etc. which, for all we know, are considered vitally important to some community of people associated with their publishers. It is also possible that what you’re seeing are simply new blogs that will contain much more content in the future. (It is my experience that most blogs start off with just a picture or a “hello, world” post and then more content arrives later.) If you say that these things aren’t “blogs” today, then if they start publishing more content tomorrow, will you call them blogs? If they do become “blogs” tomorrow, what name do you use to describe them today?

    bob wyman

  17. I wouldn’t call Federated Media and Adbrite blog networks – I call them what they are – advertising networks.

    B5, however, is a classic blog network run by great people…

    Matt

  18. Bob: good points. But if I go to my favorite service, startup a script that opens a new URL and pastes in a picture, is that a blog? After all, someone COULD post a new piece of content to each one of those in the future.

    I guess what I’m saying is, not every blogger is equal. What pissed me off is the idea that it’s only the service with the most URLs that matters.

    To me it’s the service with the most BLOGGERS that matter.

    More in a few…

  19. I wouldn’t call Federated Media and Adbrite blog networks – I call them what they are – advertising networks.

    B5, however, is a classic blog network run by great people…

    Matt

  20. Bob: good points. But if I go to my favorite service, startup a script that opens a new URL and pastes in a picture, is that a blog? After all, someone COULD post a new piece of content to each one of those in the future.

    I guess what I’m saying is, not every blogger is equal. What pissed me off is the idea that it’s only the service with the most URLs that matters.

    To me it’s the service with the most BLOGGERS that matter.

    More in a few…

  21. Matt: B5 Media is an advertising network too. Just a little bit different from the other ones. Google is an advertising distribution network too. So is Yahoo. So is Microsoft.

  22. Matt: B5 Media is an advertising network too. Just a little bit different from the other ones. Google is an advertising distribution network too. So is Yahoo. So is Microsoft.

  23. Robert: You’re totally right. You’re just not right about the argument that you’re currently making. Trying to apply a narrow definition of “blog” is fruitless.

    Now, arguing about what makes a blog worth reading, or worth advertising on, or worth recommending to a friend… that’s a different argument. Just remember, one person’s garbage is another person’s treasure, so you’re unlikely to get total agreement no matter what point you want to make about blogs.

  24. Robert: You’re totally right. You’re just not right about the argument that you’re currently making. Trying to apply a narrow definition of “blog” is fruitless.

    Now, arguing about what makes a blog worth reading, or worth advertising on, or worth recommending to a friend… that’s a different argument. Just remember, one person’s garbage is another person’s treasure, so you’re unlikely to get total agreement no matter what point you want to make about blogs.

  25. Guess TechCrunch7 gave you a swelled head yet again, seems you’re in full-on douchebag mode again. If you’re not going to accept Wikipedia’s definition of what a blog is, why is anyone supposed to accept yours? Just because you screech “Not up for a discussion!”

    Get a check on your ego already.

  26. Guess TechCrunch7 gave you a swelled head yet again, seems you’re in full-on douchebag mode again. If you’re not going to accept Wikipedia’s definition of what a blog is, why is anyone supposed to accept yours? Just because you screech “Not up for a discussion!”

    Get a check on your ego already.

  27. I think there are many different reasons why people blog, and that is what’s causing all this confusion. Robert only thinks about making money from blogging, and I’m sure him and many of his buddies at the top of the lists do quite well with their endeavors. However, there are a lot of people out there (me) who blog for completely different reasons. Maybe to communicate with distant family. Maybe to share their expertise on a subject. Maybe to have a diary to look back on in 5 years.

    Point is, most of your criteria are important if you are trying to have high traffic, attract advertisers, and make money. Some people could care less about ads.

  28. I think there are many different reasons why people blog, and that is what’s causing all this confusion. Robert only thinks about making money from blogging, and I’m sure him and many of his buddies at the top of the lists do quite well with their endeavors. However, there are a lot of people out there (me) who blog for completely different reasons. Maybe to communicate with distant family. Maybe to share their expertise on a subject. Maybe to have a diary to look back on in 5 years.

    Point is, most of your criteria are important if you are trying to have high traffic, attract advertisers, and make money. Some people could care less about ads.

  29. How about this – http://bhuvans.wordpress.com/ – this is supposedly the top blog in wordpress. All (as in *ALL*) articles on the first page are simple plain copies of external content that the author has been getting through email/other sites. For ex, look at this comment – http://bhuvans.wordpress.com/2006/08/19/50-common-interview-qa/#21

    I didnt read all the posts but looks like at least 8 out of 10 would be external stuff. Generally blogs on ‘interviews’, ‘interview questions’ seem to be getting a fair amount of coverage and this one is not an exception.

  30. How about this – http://bhuvans.wordpress.com/ – this is supposedly the top blog in wordpress. All (as in *ALL*) articles on the first page are simple plain copies of external content that the author has been getting through email/other sites. For ex, look at this comment – http://bhuvans.wordpress.com/2006/08/19/50-common-interview-qa/#21

    I didnt read all the posts but looks like at least 8 out of 10 would be external stuff. Generally blogs on ‘interviews’, ‘interview questions’ seem to be getting a fair amount of coverage and this one is not an exception.

  31. I’m not certain how to properly define a blog but I can define what I don’t consider a blog – regularly published media with little to no context.

    To me, Rocketboom is a (video) blog. Posting the daily top videos from an Internet site is not. The context of Rocketboom is the daily coverage of Internet pop culture (or however you’d like to describe it). Posting daily top videos has no context – a regularly published zeitigeist is not a blog. At a miniumum, categorization of videos into categories like comedy and music would make it a blog. Commentary on these video trends would make it a blog.

    Likewise, dumping photos of yourself on MSN Spaces is not a blog. It’s simply a zeitigest of your life. At a minumum, adding the context of category makes it a blog to me. Commentary like “party last night” does not make it a blog. Creating a new photoset for every event is not a blog, it’s simply zeitigest based on collections of media.

    It’s very tricky to define a blog but that’s my take. If MSN Spaces users are creating a new photoset for every new event that happens to them, without any context, that’s not a blog. But if they’re adding commentary or even have a theme (eg. My University Party Space) which provides a context to which they are posting pictures, then it’s a blog. Sure, “Lisa’s MSN Space” is a theme. But posting pictures/photosets without commentary (or some other way to provide a context) is not a blog.

    A lot of my friends are posting random photosets of events in their life with no context. That’s a personal zeitigeist, not a blog. And if the trends I see from my friends constitues a large portion of MSN Spaces, then Microsoft is kidding themselves if they think the usage of MSN Spaces has much to do with blogging.

    Heck, even using tags would make it a blog in my book.

  32. I’m not certain how to properly define a blog but I can define what I don’t consider a blog – regularly published media with little to no context.

    To me, Rocketboom is a (video) blog. Posting the daily top videos from an Internet site is not. The context of Rocketboom is the daily coverage of Internet pop culture (or however you’d like to describe it). Posting daily top videos has no context – a regularly published zeitigeist is not a blog. At a miniumum, categorization of videos into categories like comedy and music would make it a blog. Commentary on these video trends would make it a blog.

    Likewise, dumping photos of yourself on MSN Spaces is not a blog. It’s simply a zeitigest of your life. At a minumum, adding the context of category makes it a blog to me. Commentary like “party last night” does not make it a blog. Creating a new photoset for every event is not a blog, it’s simply zeitigest based on collections of media.

    It’s very tricky to define a blog but that’s my take. If MSN Spaces users are creating a new photoset for every new event that happens to them, without any context, that’s not a blog. But if they’re adding commentary or even have a theme (eg. My University Party Space) which provides a context to which they are posting pictures, then it’s a blog. Sure, “Lisa’s MSN Space” is a theme. But posting pictures/photosets without commentary (or some other way to provide a context) is not a blog.

    A lot of my friends are posting random photosets of events in their life with no context. That’s a personal zeitigeist, not a blog. And if the trends I see from my friends constitues a large portion of MSN Spaces, then Microsoft is kidding themselves if they think the usage of MSN Spaces has much to do with blogging.

    Heck, even using tags would make it a blog in my book.

  33. Exactly, Aaron. I created a private blog on Blogger specifically to keep my friends, family, and co-workers up to date on what what going on with me (in words and in pictures) when I spent a month working in Scandinavia last winter.

    But I guess it wasn’t really a blog since I didn’t make it available to King Scoble or anybody else whose life’s passion is to be an A-lister.

  34. Exactly, Aaron. I created a private blog on Blogger specifically to keep my friends, family, and co-workers up to date on what what going on with me (in words and in pictures) when I spent a month working in Scandinavia last winter.

    But I guess it wasn’t really a blog since I didn’t make it available to King Scoble or anybody else whose life’s passion is to be an A-lister.

  35. Robert, your first question isn’t exactly relevent:

    Question: if you’re an advertiser what kind of person do you want to reach? People who publish empty spaces like those? Or folks who publish real content and have real audiences?

    Typically, advertisers aren’t looking to reach the person publishing the site, they’re looking to reach the people who *visit* that site. The reality is that it’s pretty hard (though not exactly impossible) to pay for an ad to appear on a site that no one visits – typically, ads are sold on an delivered impression basis, and it takes someone visiting a site to generate that impression. From an advertiser’s perspective, a service with the most BLOGGERS isn’t necessarily as valuable as the service with the MOST VALUABLE READERS.

    Now I’m sure that last comment will inspire a response or two, but valuable is completely subjective. There are plenty of high-profile, well-known and respected brands who would love to reach the woman looking at pictures of her grandchildren, the teenager reading about her friend’s high school drama or the young male keeping up with his old buddies from his college years.

  36. Robert, your first question isn’t exactly relevent:

    Question: if you’re an advertiser what kind of person do you want to reach? People who publish empty spaces like those? Or folks who publish real content and have real audiences?

    Typically, advertisers aren’t looking to reach the person publishing the site, they’re looking to reach the people who *visit* that site. The reality is that it’s pretty hard (though not exactly impossible) to pay for an ad to appear on a site that no one visits – typically, ads are sold on an delivered impression basis, and it takes someone visiting a site to generate that impression. From an advertiser’s perspective, a service with the most BLOGGERS isn’t necessarily as valuable as the service with the MOST VALUABLE READERS.

    Now I’m sure that last comment will inspire a response or two, but valuable is completely subjective. There are plenty of high-profile, well-known and respected brands who would love to reach the woman looking at pictures of her grandchildren, the teenager reading about her friend’s high school drama or the young male keeping up with his old buddies from his college years.

  37. A picture is worth a thousand words. Those thousand words are the context.

    By the way, you could argue Scripting News is not a blog because there is no context. But you see herein lies the paradox – it’s inherently easier to extract context from text than from other forms of media. If Scripting News were a collection of links with _zero_ commentary, I would not consider it a blog. Instead, Dave mixes random/interesting links with his own thoughts. His own thoughts are what make Scripting News a blog, not the links.

  38. A picture is worth a thousand words. Those thousand words are the context.

    By the way, you could argue Scripting News is not a blog because there is no context. But you see herein lies the paradox – it’s inherently easier to extract context from text than from other forms of media. If Scripting News were a collection of links with _zero_ commentary, I would not consider it a blog. Instead, Dave mixes random/interesting links with his own thoughts. His own thoughts are what make Scripting News a blog, not the links.

  39. And private blogs are blogs as long as the there’s context to the content posted on the blogs (i.e. not a personal media zeitigest).

    And advertisers are irrelevent in defining what is a blog and what isn’t.

  40. And private blogs are blogs as long as the there’s context to the content posted on the blogs (i.e. not a personal media zeitigest).

    And advertisers are irrelevent in defining what is a blog and what isn’t.

  41. >Get a check on your ego already.

    Heheh. Why the hell should I? After all, executives can get on stage and say they have more blogs than anyone else and the most you can add to the conversation is to tell me to get my ego in check? You guys make me laugh. How is the new coffee up in Redmond, by the way?

  42. >Get a check on your ego already.

    Heheh. Why the hell should I? After all, executives can get on stage and say they have more blogs than anyone else and the most you can add to the conversation is to tell me to get my ego in check? You guys make me laugh. How is the new coffee up in Redmond, by the way?

  43. I agree with Bob and Steve above…

    Scoble’s quote: “executives can get on stage and say they have more blogs than anyone else”…

    I looked it up, and it seems as if the actual quote was that Spaces is “now the largest blogging service on the planet”… so it looks like you’re doing a bit of misquoting here… he didn’t actually say that Spaces had the most number of blogs… while “most number of blogs” is one way to judge largest blogging service, so is “largest audience”… In fact, you said yourself in all these posts today that a key to the definition of blog is audience reach (and therefore how much advertisers think they are worth)…

    so by your own definition of blogging, you must admit that the fact that Spaces has the most number of unique vistors per month out of all the major services that offer blogs is worthwhile to advertisers and is a pretty impressive stat for such a new service?

  44. I agree with Bob and Steve above…

    Scoble’s quote: “executives can get on stage and say they have more blogs than anyone else”…

    I looked it up, and it seems as if the actual quote was that Spaces is “now the largest blogging service on the planet”… so it looks like you’re doing a bit of misquoting here… he didn’t actually say that Spaces had the most number of blogs… while “most number of blogs” is one way to judge largest blogging service, so is “largest audience”… In fact, you said yourself in all these posts today that a key to the definition of blog is audience reach (and therefore how much advertisers think they are worth)…

    so by your own definition of blogging, you must admit that the fact that Spaces has the most number of unique vistors per month out of all the major services that offer blogs is worthwhile to advertisers and is a pretty impressive stat for such a new service?

  45. BTW, do advertisers have any chance with active Live Spaces as well?

    Robert, I have an active blog at Live Spaces, but lack of javascript and limited html sandbox does not allow me to put any affliate/ advertorial code.

    You got any solution for me? :)

  46. BTW, do advertisers have any chance with active Live Spaces as well?

    Robert, I have an active blog at Live Spaces, but lack of javascript and limited html sandbox does not allow me to put any affliate/ advertorial code.

    You got any solution for me? :)

  47. Robert, you seem to think you are avenging some kind of marketing sin here – but we don’t care whether somebody made an overreaching claim or not.

    The bottom line is, most of us will never ever want or expect advertisers to flock to our blogs. We don’t spend our day scheming about how to get links from A-listers or debating whether or not to link to someone or to make a ‘gesture’. We just want to write our thoughts in the way we see fit. You seem to have forgotten that blogging tools are just that — tools. The content is the point, the tools just enable people to express themselves. Permalinks & trackbacks are merely administrivia.

    I think YOUR type of blogging is the sub-type, m’dear. The rest of us will do what we wish no matter who complains…

  48. Robert, you seem to think you are avenging some kind of marketing sin here – but we don’t care whether somebody made an overreaching claim or not.

    The bottom line is, most of us will never ever want or expect advertisers to flock to our blogs. We don’t spend our day scheming about how to get links from A-listers or debating whether or not to link to someone or to make a ‘gesture’. We just want to write our thoughts in the way we see fit. You seem to have forgotten that blogging tools are just that — tools. The content is the point, the tools just enable people to express themselves. Permalinks & trackbacks are merely administrivia.

    I think YOUR type of blogging is the sub-type, m’dear. The rest of us will do what we wish no matter who complains…

  49. Hi Robert,
    I think you have mix things up. Microsft Spaces is not a Blog network, neither is Adbrite, or Text Link Ads etc.

    WordPress, Typepad, Microsoft Live are online software services used for blogging.

    While I agree with Matt that Adbrite, FM are advertising networks.

    Microsoft has no control if people put up a blog on their service and update in regulary or not. Their claiming of most no. of blogs is plain stupid. While Blog networks like b5media, Instablogs, Know More Media have group of bloggers who are in constantly touch within the network and maintains and update their blogs regulary.

  50. Hi Robert,
    I think you have mix things up. Microsft Spaces is not a Blog network, neither is Adbrite, or Text Link Ads etc.

    WordPress, Typepad, Microsoft Live are online software services used for blogging.

    While I agree with Matt that Adbrite, FM are advertising networks.

    Microsoft has no control if people put up a blog on their service and update in regulary or not. Their claiming of most no. of blogs is plain stupid. While Blog networks like b5media, Instablogs, Know More Media have group of bloggers who are in constantly touch within the network and maintains and update their blogs regulary.

  51. >>No. Advertisers see through that smoke screen. That’s why more and more money is pouring into real blog networks like B5 Media and Federated Media Publishing and AdBrite.

    B5media.com – I did not know about that and the site was too slow. Anyway it seems to have been started by pro bloggers, for pro bloggers. Not for the normal users

    fm – does not look like it offers blogging service..It seems to offer adv to some other sites

    Adbrite – not even close to a blog

    Probably you gotto learn what a blogging service is !! You comparison is like comparing IE to Photoshop.

  52. >>No. Advertisers see through that smoke screen. That’s why more and more money is pouring into real blog networks like B5 Media and Federated Media Publishing and AdBrite.

    B5media.com – I did not know about that and the site was too slow. Anyway it seems to have been started by pro bloggers, for pro bloggers. Not for the normal users

    fm – does not look like it offers blogging service..It seems to offer adv to some other sites

    Adbrite – not even close to a blog

    Probably you gotto learn what a blogging service is !! You comparison is like comparing IE to Photoshop.