Friday, October 14, 2005

How many feeds matter?

Jim Lanzone at Ask Jeeves posts that, according to Bloglines' data, only 37k feeds "really matter."

The details of the data are interesting. Only 1.3M feeds have even one subscriber. 37k feeds have at least 20 subscribers. 20 subscribers might be a somewhat high bar, but it does separate out feeds that are useful to some people from feeds that are useful to very few or none. The data does not distinguish feeds for weblogs from feeds for news sources like Wired or BBC. The data does not include the few popular weblogs that do not publish a feed.

It's a remarkable contrast to Technorati's claim (on their home page) that there are 19.4M weblogs out there. I and others have argued that the 19.4M weblogs estimate is utterly absurd, inflated by millions of spam and bogus weblogs.

At Findory, our experience has been that 95% or more of weblogs are fake. I suspect the number of real, interesting, and useful weblogs to be well under 100k. The new data from Bloglines support this lower estimate.

Thanks, Jim, for providing this data. Very interesting.

[via Gary Price]

Update: Mark Cuban complains about a massive increase in spam blogs.

Update: Dave Sifry at Technorati repeats his claim that only "2% - 8% of new weblogs are fake or spam weblogs." See also Dave's thoughts in the comments for this post.

Update: Rich Skrenta at says, "What we're seeing is that 85-90% of the daily posts hitting ping services such as are spam. Of well-ranked non-spam blogs that we've discovered, we've found about half haven't been updated in the past 60 days."


David said...

Wow Greg, 95% of weblogs are fake? That's a pretty bold statement.

We track about 8% of new blogs each day are spam or fake blogs, but the overwhelming majority of blogs are real, written by humans.


Greg Linden said...

Hi, Dave. Great to hear from you!

It might be a bold statement if others had not already said similar things. For example, Scott at Feedster said that "at times we see upwards of 90% of the traffic from Blogspot being spam." Bloglines' numbers say that 99.8% of weblogs don't "really matter." Mark Cuban has talked about the crushing number of "splogs", though he didn't put solid numbers on it.

Of course, it all depends on how you define spam or fake blogs. From our experience and the reports I've heard from others, I do think that over 95% of the supposed 19.4M weblogs are either spam, fake, or otherwise useless to readers.

David said...

Lol, this reminds me of Sturgeon's law: "90% of everything is crap"

The problem is figuring out which 90%! It is different for each person.

I don't think it depends on how you define spam or fake weblogs - those definitions are pretty easy. You can start with "weblogs not directly created by human beings". It has everything to do with how different each of us are, and the fact that one person's junk is another's treasure...