David Sifry posts his musings on the apparent exponential expansion of the blogosphere. The fly-in-the-ointment, however, is a rigourous mid-2005 academic study called Characterizing the Splogosphere from the University of Maryland. It found there were a little over 500,000 of what they termed “authentic blogs in English” on the planet, after they had filtered out the ‘not-really-blogs’. Compare this to Sifry’s graphs that show around 14 million blogs for mid-2005. That suggests a ratio of 28:1 between fluff and real blogs. By that measure, Technorati’s current claim of “50 million” suggests we now have just under two million “authentic blogs in English”. Although it’s unclear if Techorati is including Japanese and Chinese blogs in their total. We also have to assume that the majority of that rise to “50 million” is not largely due to junk and marketing blogs and abandoned “MyHomepage” fluff. Being cautious, we might estimate that regularly-updated “authentic blogs in English” may have at least doubled in number during the last year, and are now probably topping the 1 million mark.
What the world really needs is not bloated sprawling uber-engines like Technorati, but small tightly-focussed niche blog-search engines aimed at professionals, pro-actively selected by humans (no submissions), spidering around 1,000 blogs at any one time, and with a simple “update your blog at least monthly or the bot kicks you off” attitude. Any takers for the “creative-industries development” search-engine? Or the one for “university lecturers teaching creative-industries subjects”? I know; it should be so simple with tags to find, search and aggregate quality topic-specific content across all blogs. But it doesn’t seem to be working, does it?