Ed Driscoll

If We Say It's a Weblog--It's a Weblog! Except When It's Not

Sweet, smokin’ Judas–how hard is it for the media to understand what a blog is? This TechWeb article on My Yahoo homepage starts off well, and then veers far off the tracks about halfway through:

The number of people in the United States who visited web logs in the first quarter of the year reached 50 million, and each of the top four hosting services for blogs on the Internet topped 5 million visitors, a web metrics firm said Monday.

The number of Americans visiting blogs amounted to 30 percent of the total online U.S. population, an increase of 45 percent over the same period last year, ComScore Networks said.

Other key findings in the report were that the top four hosting services for blogs had more than 5 million unique visitors. Those sites in order, starting with the largest, were Blogspot.com, Livejournal.com, Typepad.com and Xanga.com.

Blogspot.com’s 19 million unique visitors amounted to more visitors than the NYTimes.com, USAToday.com and WashingtonPost.com. The numbers were “clear evidence that consumer-generated media can draw audience on par with traditional online publishers,” the report said.

Five individual blogs had more than a million unique visitors. In order, starting with the largest, were FreeRepublic.com, DrudgeReport.com, Fleshbot.com, Gawker.com and Fark.com.

With the exception of the two Nick Denton-owned blogs sandwiched in the middle, (Fleshbot and Gawker), the rest of that list…aren’t blogs! Fark and Free Republic are Internet forums, updated equivalents of the BBS message boards from the online days of yore, and Matt Drudge has gone out of his way to tell interviewers that he’s not a blogger. And again, with the exception of the Denton sites, none of those Websites use any sort of blogging software to FTP content up–you know, like blog posts.

When it comes to “dead tree” publications, most people know instinctively what a magazine is, and how it differs from a newspaper. On TV, most people can separate a sitcom from an infomercial from the six o’clock news. Why is it so hard for the media to understand what a Weblog is, what an online forum is, and what a conventional Website is?