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May 19, 2008

NEWS: Blogs Blossom into a Big Business

Blogs Blossom into a Big Business

Who doesn’t read a blog now and then?
The expansion of the blogosphere into mass-market proportions is reflected in eMarketer's forecasts of the numbers of US bloggers and blog readers.

The number of people creating blogs in the US will reach over 35 million by 2012—roughly 16% of the Internet population.

More importantly, by 2012, more than 145 million people—67% of the US Internet population—will be reading blogs at least once a month. That is up from a readership of 94 million in 2007, or 50% of Internet users.

"Once a haven for techies to communicate with each other in their own lingo, blogs have long since shed this mantle and tapped into the zeitgeist of American culture," says Paul Verna, eMarketer senior analyst and author of the new report, The Blogosphere: A Mass Movement from Grass Roots. "There are blogs for virtually everything under the sun, from celebrity gossip to political commentary to the most mundane personal minutiae."

All this attention is turning blogs into a business.

"Buoyed by these massive levels of consumer engagement," says Mr. Verna, "US blog advertising will reach $746 million in 2012, up from $283 million in 2007."

"A big factor driving the increases is the niche orientation of the blogosphere," says Mr. Verna...

Blogs: Raking In Ad Dollars. Sort Of, Maybe, We Think 

dooce.jpgMuch has been made of the business of blogging, a topic of some interest to team SAI. But how much business is there, so far?

Not a whole lot, according to eMarketer. The research firm projects advertisers will spend $411 million on blogs in 2008. That's less than a third of projected spending on Web video in 2008 ($1.4 bil). On the plus side, it's whole lot more than podcasts ($240 million).

The actual good news is that eMarketer thinks that spending on blogs is growing pretty fast: They figure it will increase by 30% next year, to $531 millon, and hit $746 million in 2012. An eMarketer assertion that doesn't surprise us: They estimate 104 million people are checking in on a blog at least once a month.

But that's also why we don't put too much stock in any of the numbers: At this point the definition of "blog" is awfully nebulous, encompassing both one-person operations like Dooce and growing media companies like Gawker Media. And, presumably, offerings like the NY Times' "Bits". What's the difference between a Brad Stone technology story in the NYT and a Brad Stone technology story in Bits? You got us, and we think that most readers pay less and less attention to these distinctions, too.

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