Tuesday, January 2, 2007

Will blogging really peak In 2007?

In mid-December, a chief fellow of the research firm Gartner predicted in an AP interview that the number of bloggers will level off in the first half of next year at roughly 100 million worldwide. Doug Caverly of WebProNews penned a perfect summary of the prediction and its ensuing debate, "The research firm predicted that blogging will top out in 2007; bloggers have responded to the forecast with various degrees of laughter and contempt." Indeed. Duncan Riley posts, "Wrong. So wrong it’s scary. How can people have tried blogging if they haven’t previously had internet access?"

Steve Rubel cites trending data from Technorati, Alexa and Google to illustrate how blogging may indeed be peaking in some ways over the coming months. Says Rubel, "I don't mean that it has peaked in influence. Hardly. But if you read the tea leaves behind some key statistics, the intensity of blogging may be plateauing." Despite his caveats, Rubel's posts, like Plummer's prediction, have accumulated strong rebuttals from numerous bloggers. My favorite: "Is the blogosphere almost saturated? In a word, no." It's ironic, as Caverly notes, that predictions on blog growth peaking have actually contributed in small measure to its continued cultivation because of the discussions such prognostications generate among bloggers.

This debate has a practical consideration for third-party blogging service providers such as BlogPatrol. For instance, how does BlogPatrol need to evolve to stay ahead of the changing supply and demand - and potential obselescence - of free blog counter services? Any combination of factors could trigger a catastrophic environmental change for existing blogging platforms, such as increased competition, waning interest, or an unimagined phenomenon that could make blogging as anachronistic as the handwritten letter. I have some thoughts on how BlogPatrol can continue to evolve. Before I get ahead of myself though, I'll first need to address how BlogPatrol is tackling its current performance challenges such as achieving zero database down-time, 100% site up-time, and faster page loads of stats reports.

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