das Blog: Germans have been

das Blog
: Germans have been brilliant at copying the best (and avoiding the worst) of American technology and media. They created better versions of American Internet companies; some succeeded. They have a better newsmagazine in Focus. They have their own David Letterman who looks, talks, gesticulates, and jokes like the real one, named Harald Schmidt.

And now they are taking on blogs with a vengeance:

: A German blog search engine: Blogoo.

: A German version of Weblogs.com at Blog Checkup

: A German weblog map, not unlike NYCBloggers.com.

: German weblog software called Sunlog.

: Even a German weblog birthday list.

Stand up and be counted
: Ev inspires me to suggest that it’s time for bloggers to band together to be counted by Media Metrix and Nielsen/NetRatings.

First see this story in Wired News blathering about how many weblogs are or are not tended and read (if a blogger blogs in the forest and there’s nobody there to read it, does it make a sound?). It’s a ridiculous and purely speculative argument that won’t land anywhere meaningful. The only way to know how big the blogosphere is is to get it counted.

There are two key counters: Media Metrix and Nielsen/NetRatings. They count by tracking a sample of Internet users (just as Nielsen’s TV service creates ratings by tracking Nielsen families; it’s innaccurate but it is the accepted math of media).

No blog — not even Instaman! — is big enough to register on these services’ meters. But an aggregate of all weblogs surely would. Or wouldn’t. There’s only one way to know.

Both services aggregate the domains and traffic of various companies’ sites — e.g., all of the AOL Time Warner empire adds up to one number; ditto Knight-Ridder newspapers.

It would be impressive if there could be a count for all weblogs.

Granted, there is no central weblog repository; this is an amorphous amalgam. But it would not be hard to come up with a catalog of most webloggers, as Ev begins to suggest: Take all the domains served by Blogger and LiveJournal and at most a half-dozen such outsourced services and add in the domains listed at Weblogs.com and Eatonweb over, say, a month and eliminate the duplications and voila: you have a list of current weblog addresses.

I’ll bet one good-hearted weblog-loving geek out there could compile that directory in his/her spare time.

Now if someone can convince Media Metrix or Nielsen to count — and aggregate statistics — based on that list, we’d have a view of total traffic and audience to weblogs. The service smart enough to do this would get a nice press release: “Revealed: This Weblog Thing You Keep Hearing About — Should You Give A Damn?” And we’d know how big we are.