The Site that ate the Blogosphere

Reprinted from mobilejones.com

Technorati reported on the "State of the Blogosphere" starting last week and continuing this week. The company points to the size of the blogosphere and it's growth rate. Claiming 27.7 million blogs tracked and the doubling of the blogosphere measured in months with 75,000 new blogs added daily are impressive signs of growth as stated by Technorati. But what if I told you there's a part of the blogosphere that claims 56 million members, 2 1/2 times the traffic of Google and adds 1 million new bloggers per week? Technorati does not track this part of the blogosphere. If Technorati added feeds from this group of bloggers, their current "blogosphere" would be a mere 1/3rd of the total.

The separate blogosphere that MySpace represents, 56 million members, receives very little coverage or even acknowledgement from the blogging intelligentsia. As Derrick points out, the addition of RSS feeds and Podcasting support to MySpace blogs went completely unnoticed by Technorati's A-list and RSS evangelist, Dave Winer. One might argue that Technorati's claiming that only those blogs which ping Technorati make up the blogosphere is an questionable claim. Who has more "authority" on current trends in music or even the US youth market? Technorati's blogosphere or MySpace?

Today another important announcement on the MySpace blogosphere came from the new mobile network operator, Helio, a joint venture between SK Telecom and Earthlink, which will offer MySpace Mobile.

The mobile service will offer a look, feel and overall customer experience that are true to the online MySpace environment while optimizing it for mobile including:

  • Mailbox: Ability to read and write MySpace email on Helio devices.
  • Bulletin: Send messages to all your friends anytime, anywhere from your Helio device.
  • Blogs: Read and write blogs on-the-go without a PC.
  • Photos: View photos from your friend's profiles optimized for the Helio screen.
  • Profiles: View profiles and add new friends as you meet them directly from your Helio device.

"MySpace Mobile on Helio will allow our members to share their lives as they happen and evolve the MySpace experience from being about what you did last night to about what you are doing right now...."

Recall that News Corp. purchased MySpace last year for $580 mil in cash. Recently, MySpace is beginning to show signs of acting more like a corporate powerhouse than a web 2.0 community. Between issuing C&Ds to the members of the ecosystem of sites that helped MySpace members personalized their pages, and blocking other media sharing sites like YouTube. While MySpace restored the links added from YouTube to it's member profiles, many cried censorship and pointed to MySpace readying it's own video service as the motive.

Some members remain concerned about corporate imperatives overriding the desires and needs of the community.

While many consider MySpace to be a teen site, Business Week's recent article on the rise of MySpace, "MySpace rises as new online star," states that the site has a quarter of it's members (14 million) registered as minors. Of course, the distinction of "registered as minors" is due to the lack of age verification and it is likely that some teen members add years to engage with older members of the opposite sex. If one were to grant doubling the number of minors on MySpace, that would result in a number nearly equal to size of Technorati's blogosphere (28 million). Of course, it would also mean that 28 million are not teens.

The age demographic of MySpace will be an important factor in the success of their mobile initiative. Mobile research firm M:metrics has reported that most minors with cell phone service are on family plans with their bills paid by parents.

M:Metrics data shows that overall, about 41.4 percent of subscribers who used network services to download content or send messages participate in family plans. In terms of age, 51.9 percent of survey respondents aged 13-24 - the most attractive segment being targeted by games publishers, ringtone companies and other content providers - belong to family plans.

This makes the switch to a new service provider like Helio to gain access to MySpace Mobile less likely.

MySpace continues to expand adding media sharing capabilities building upon their success bringing together the youth audience and the music industry by adding video, independent filmmakers and now making blogging and social media a mobile activity for their members. These are all accomplishments thusfar outside the reach of technology focused web 2.0 companies. While Technorati's blogosphere focuses on politics, corporate news bloggers, and web 2.0 as the ultimate media destination, the promises of community, mobility and the long tail are being realized at a site twice the size of the so called source of authority. If you're watching the blogosphere for what's next in social media, you're probably going to miss it or be late to the party.

x-posted on mobilejones

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