April 12, 2005
@ 05:21 PM

This morning I found an interesting article about the growth of blogging entitled The Blogging Geyser: Blogs Blast from 31.6 Million Today to Reach 53.4 Million by Year End. Below is an excerpt about various blogging services which I found interesting  

Perseus prepared a segmentation of the key blog hosts by analyzing the sites on two dimensions - momentum (new user accounts averaged over the life of the service) and longevity (length of time operational) - establishing four key segments: Leaders, Challengers, Upstarts and Niche Players.

The leaders (high momentum, long-time players) were BlogSpot, LiveJournal and Xanga, all launched in 1999. At the end of the first quarter of 2005, each had between 6.6 and 8.2 million accounts. The primary challenger (high momentum, new player) is MSN Spaces , which launched in North America in December 2004 and was closing in on 4.5 million accounts at the end of the first quarter .

Upstarts (moderate momentum, new players) included Six Apart's TypePad and Greatest Journal among others. Niche players demonstrated longevity but little momentum.

Blogging Is A Feature, Too

One of the newer aspects of blogging is that it's now an added feature being incorporated into other web applications. Social networking sites like the reinvented MySpace.com and teen sites like Bolt.com now offer blogging as a standard feature of their online accounts. Blogging appears to be used by just 4.7 percent of Bolt's 4.5 million accounts and by a somewhat greater percentage of MySpace.com's 12 million accounts. While neither service has been included in this study, they are testaments to the continued expansion and growth of web logs.

A lot of us working on MSN Spaces have been pretty humbled and impressed by how quickly the service has grown. During the beta period the service was acquiring users at the rate of about a million signups a month. When the site had about 4.5 million users we were seeing about 160,000 to a 180,000 updates a day which is about 4% of blogs being updated a day. These numbers compare quite favorably with LiveJournal's statistics which currently show they have 6.7 million blogs with 350,000 to 370,000 updates a day which is about 5% of blogs being updated a day. Given that LiveJournal is one of the most active and tight-knit blogging communities on the Web, it seems that MSN Spaces is definitely doing some things right.

Given that the service is now out of beta along with MSN Messenger coming out of beta I expect that its growth rate will increase over the next few months. It is pretty exciting to realize that the stuff I'm currently working on as part of my day job will directly affect millions of people. 


PS: A minor clarification to the article. Spaces actually launched in 14 languages and 26 markets worldwide last year, not just North America.