Monday, April 17, 2006

The blogosphere is growing, but is it just yardstick measurement?

Today the Technorati "state of the blogosphere" was released with great fanfare on the blogosphere. For most of the day, it sat on top of Memeorandum - and rightfully so, as it is a big story for bloggers.

From the post ....

In summary:

  • Technorati now tracks over 35.3 Million blogs
  • The blogosphere is doubling in size every 6 months
  • It is now over 60 times bigger than it was 3 years ago
  • On average, a new weblog is created every second of every day
  • 19.4 million bloggers (55%) are still posting 3 months after their blogs are created
  • Technorati tracks about 1.2 Million new blog posts each day, about 50,000 per hour
And, that is great news for those of us in PR that are touting blogs as a great tool to clients. And, I love data points. Always have, which is why I always had a good relationship with my analyst at IDC.

But, for corporations that are looking to launch blogs, what do these stats really tell us? Okay, a lot of blogs are being launched, and Technorati is tracking alot ... but that just really means more "consumer generated media" that we can track, talk to - we don't pitch, we participate in the conversation - and, well, just read.

But, what about the hard stats? Where's the measurement for businesses, on how influential blogs are for sales and influence ... among business people. That is the data that business people need.

I was discussing this over IM this afternoon with another PR blogger - in PR, it is about the upsell to the executives, and executives like data points. But, they don't want just traffic data points, or how blogging is growing exponentially. They want hard data that shows how blogging is affecting sales or exposure.

And, the fact is that no one has those figures, only "anecdotal" information that is just quantitative. We have all read the stories about how blogs are working with consumers, helping companies become part of the conversation ... but is that enough to get large corporations to jump in to the fray.

This all goes goes back to the old PR argument of quality versus quantity. Which is better - PR by yardstick or PR by message points? So, now we just have data for blogging by yardstick, but we are looking for blogging by message points ... or something else that we can point to that says "yes, this is what blogging does."

The blogging colleague had a good point - if he can't get quantity from any other source, at least right now, he'll take the Technorati data because it gives him *something* to go to executives with, to show how blogging is growing.

For now, that is as good as it gets ... but we need another yard stick to get more corporations involved.
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