August 21, 2006
@ 11:14 PM

Matt Mullenweg has a blog post entitled MSN Spaces Numbers where he writes

Scoble has been questioning the claimed numbers of MSN Spaces and somehow the conversation got sidetracked in the technicalities of “what’s a blog?” I’m not sure what Microsoft hopes to gain by inflating their numbers so much, now claiming 70 million “blogs”, but it’s interesting to note back in March they were claiming 123 million blogs at SxSW (Flickr photo of their booth). Of course that was like 2 name changes and reorgs ago. Maybe 50 million people left the service?

I wasn't planning to blog about the recent round of player hating on Windows Live spaces certain bloggers but the above claim by Matt Mullenweg that we are 'inflating' our numbers really got my goat.

First of all, the two numbers quoted above by Matt are unrelated metrics. The count of 123 million users is explained in the press release MSN Spaces Now Largest Blogging Service Worldwide which states that comScore Media Metrix has measured the service's reach as being 100 million unique vistors a month and this number is in addition to 20 million unique visitors from using the chinese version of MSN Spaces. The 70 million number is the number of blogs spaces that have been created since inception. This number isn't particularly interesting since it doesn't correlate to how many people are actually getting value out of the service.

For example, according to the LiveJournal statistics page their current statistics are

How many users, and how many of those are active?

  • Total accounts: 10945719
  • ... active in some way: 1870731
  • ... that have ever updated: 7278240
  • ... updating in last 30 days: 1164416
  • ... updating in last 7 days: 679693
  • ... updating in past 24 hours: 204465

According to those statistics only 1 out of 5 LiveJournal accounts is actually active. Of course, it would sound impressive to tout 11 million LiveJournal accounts even though the number of active accounts is much less. For that reason, the number of spaces on Windows Live Spaces isn't a particularly interesting metric to me nor is it to anyone I know who works on the product. We are more interested in the number of people who actually use our service and get value added to their lives by being able to share, discuss and communicate with their friends, families and total strangers. 


Tuesday, August 22, 2006 2:35:18 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
Those screens are I linked are confusing, if not misleading. "123 million users worldwide - The world's largest blogging service." When you read that, do you think Comscore? Besides, that picture was taken two months before the press release you linked. How is the 101 millon number calculated differently from this Comscore press release[1] that puts MSN spaces at around 9.5 million? I'd also be curious to know what "The world's highest ranked blogging service" means, I must have missed that press release, too. You guys are doing plenty of interesting things without having to flaunt big numbers.

I'm curious what metrics you think are most interesting that various blogging services should expose, perhaps Spaces can lead the market here.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006 3:59:40 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
This is an age old problem that nobody has ever really been able to wrap their heads around. The simple truth is that marketing people love big numbers. Case in point that makes this look trivial.
Back in the day AOL used to count screen names and present that as their total number of members. Problem was that you could have up to 6 screen names per paying account. So after much back and forth AOL started to report the total number of paying accounts. This worked for a bit until someone on Wall Street started wondering how many of these paying accounts were paying full price vs discounted price and so on.

Back at my old CompuServe stomping grounds in the days of the forum we had to come up with a way to figure out how to pay the sysop for the traffic they generated. Since it was a pain to tell if someone was just reading the board vs say posting, there was a flat usage time payout. The more time people stayed in the forum, the more the sysop got paid.

The point in all this is that these are problems that are over 10 years old. Just the product names have changed.

As for Robert ('I wrote a book on blogging there for I am the definer of what is or is not a blog' has got to be one of the greatest self ego stroke of all time), brah jumped the shark awhile ago. I'm just waiting for when his son's beloved Fruit company forces the old man's employer to change their name since it has 'pod' in it. Then again, the Fruit is know to go one step further and just slap a lawsuit on them.
David Leslie
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