Monday, January 03, 2005

How many bloggers are there? How many readers? 

Hindrocket points out the latest Pew Internet Project survey on blogging.

According to the Pew survey, around 120 million American adults "use the internet." Of that number, 7%, or 8 million people, say they have set up blogs. That seems like a very high number to me.

In Pew's survey, 27% of internet users said they read blogs, and 9% said they read political blogs. That would be nearly 11 million political blog readers, which seems high to me, based on what I know of our traffic and other sites' traffic. Four percent said they read political blogs "regularly." If I understand the numbers correctly, that means there are around 4.8 million self-described "regular" readers of political blogs--again, a higher number than I would expect, based on reported traffic.

There have been other surveys suggesting a high number of bloggers. Jeff Jarvis notes that Technorati is covering about 5.5. million. According to a survey by Perseus there were 4.12 million blogs created by 2003 -- but 2/3 of those had been abandoned. Over a million were one-day wonders and only 50,000 were updated daily. That level of detail does not appear in the Pew report. And some report multiple blogs (I've written on at least five, two of which have been abandoned.) I think that explains a good bit of the air in the 8 million blogs number.

It's also worth remembering the time of this study (23-30 November 2004) which comes at the end of a presidential campaign. The 4.8 million regular readers then are probably half that after the election.

And most of this is based on a report with 537 internet users and has an error band of +/-4%, so the numbers could really be any old place.