January 14, 2003
How Fragmented Is The Blogosphere?

The BlogStreet Top 100 rates blogs by the number of incoming links. It is not surprising that InstaPundit is in first place, with 794 links from other blogs. What is surprising is that that is barely 1.5% of the 50,442 blogs in BlogStreet's database. The other 98.43% (to put it precisely) do not link to him. In fact, only six blogs are linked by more than 1% of the others. As of today, the other five are Scripting News (2), Slashdot (3), Boing Boing (4), Andrew Sullivan (5), and Metafilter (6). It appears that the Blogosphere is far more fragmented than some of us might have thought.

Update: (1/16, 10:17 PM)

Of course, I'm aware that the different subgroups of blogs -- 'warbloggers', gay bloggers, Christian bloggers, tech bloggers, and personal journal bloggers -- don't interact much, and that blogs of all types don't interact much at all with those in different languages. (There are a bunch of Brazilian blogs in the BlogStreet Top 100: presumably they got there mostly by linking to each other rather than to English or Iranian or Norwegian blogs.) But I still would have thought that the top blogs in each subset would have had more than 1.57% of the total. I mean, if 'warblogs' or tech blogs or any single subgroup constitutes (e.g.) 20% of the total 55,000+ blogs, and if any one member of the group is linked by 20% of the others within the group, that's already 4% of the total. I suspect that what's going on is that personal journal blogs are more than 90% of the total, and these generally link only to their personal friends. That would mean that they would vastly increase the number of total blogs while putting none of their own into the Top 100 or even the Top 1000. I suppose a careful look at the BlogStreet database would tell.

Posted by Dr. Weevil at January 14, 2003 07:09 PM

I'd run a DEFRAG, but the Blogosphere keeps hanging on the CHKDSK with bad sectors.

Posted by: Laurence Simon on January 14, 2003 08:06 PM

I've thought the same thing... I was also excited when I hit 200 hits today but then I remembered there were 1 million blogs, how come I can't get more?

Posted by: sarge on January 15, 2003 10:21 PM

Doc, the fragmentation has always been there. Think of the blogosphere as reflective of offline living. You have cities, towns, villages, shopping centers, strip malls, suburbs, porn shops, Wal-mart, 7-11--there is a wealth of variety online that few in this end of the blogosphere even know about.

When I say "Dave Winer" on my weblog, most of my readers have no idea who he is. When Phil Ringnalda (who?) says "Dave Winer" on his blog, everyone knows who he is. Ditto if I were to substitute, say, Stephen Green on my blog, whom many of my readers know, and on Phil's blog, whose readers would go "who?"

Then there's the entire LiveJournal crowd, of which most of the MT and Blogger types know nothing.

The best way to find new sources? Go to the various weblog tracking sites and click randomly on a recently updated link.

And try not to be so parochial. (Not you personally, that's a general comment.) There is so much more to the blogosphere than the political blogs.

Posted by: Meryl Yourish on January 16, 2003 12:19 AM

Does anyone remember URoulette? It was a site that sent you to a random URL with every click. It was tremendous fun in the early days of the Web, because the URLs available to it were so wackily random (the Icelandic Fisheries Database was one find — I hadn't seen the eth and the thorn used in actual text before — cool!). But as more and more commercial sites came up it became less and less fun.

It sounds like it's time for something similar for blogs, yes? Spin the wheel, land on a random blog. Surely there's a way to arrange this, at least for Blogspot clients.

Posted by: Michelle Dulak on January 16, 2003 06:45 AM

But the real question is how many of the blogs are among the few cool, hip, important and influential blogs ... what? You say mine isn't on the list? Never mind.

Posted by: Robin Roberts on January 16, 2003 11:55 AM


Blogger has such a tool. Bookmark this URL:


As for a random blog in general, go to http://www.website4all.nl/ and just blindly click on the page somewhere. (Select All if you want to see the invisible text.)

Posted by: The Comedian on January 16, 2003 06:42 PM

It is indeed fragmented. I've been running my blog for almost two years now. In that time, I have had the pleasure of running with different blogging fragments and I think I probably have the most diverse set of readers.

The war/news bloggers may not know who Davezilla is and the gay/lesbian bloggers may not know who Doc Weevil is, just as the design bloggers wouldn't know east/west.nu. Yet each of them is considered "famous" (for lack of a better word) within their own little fragment.

It's a large blogging world out there and I think there has to be a way to link all the fragments together and get people to see how the other bloggers live.

Posted by: michele on January 16, 2003 09:05 PM

I did notice one discrepancy. LGF is listed twice, apparently reflecting that his page titles are randomly generated. I don't know if I should take the maximum of the two or the addition to determine his true count.

Posted by: B. K. Oxley (binkley) on January 16, 2003 10:40 PM

It is right only to add the two counts.
LGF, or any other blog for that matter, is listed twice cause the bloggers link to LGF with two different URLs.

For LGF:
199 bloggers link to
188 bloggers link to

Therefore, LGF's true count is 199+188 i.e. 387

Posted by: VeerChand Bothra on January 17, 2003 01:12 AM

Weblogs.com is a great source for random clicking. I've been spending the last few weeks looking for great writing to link to on my blog, and I've taken to going there at random and clicking.

So far, I've added Standing Room Only (Salon blog), Mint 400, Peeve Farm, Gweilo Diaries, Cronaca, and Capital Influx to my links, plus several left-wing blogs that were part of one site's writing awards (Atrios and Demosthenes).

There are a couple neighborhoods. There's the Instapundit/LGF/Den Beste warblogging commentary sites, plus the Tony Pierce/Moxie/Jim Treacher/A Small Victory/Da Goddess (I just spent time over there trying to figure out why Treacher pulled his site down; it appears everyone knows each other pretty well there).

So there's fragmentation, but if you hang around for awhile and talk to a few people, they all kind of coalesce. As Dr. Spock would say, "fascinating."

Posted by: Bill Peschel on January 19, 2003 06:00 PM