Much ado about nothing, indeed

Much ado about nothing, indeed

: CBS Marketwatch’s Frank Barnako — until now blogsmart — posts a blogdumb column item with a pathetically inept analysis from Hitwise of blogs’ size and influence:

Excuse me for asking. But why has MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann started a blog about politics? Almost no one reads them.

These opinion-laden, e-journals draw only fleeting notice from Web surfers. But they have captured the interest of thousands of reporters who have written about bloggers and their supposed impact on the Bush-Kerry campaign. Google News, today, returned almost 4,000 citations for a search using “blog” as the keyword.

“The audience reach of even the largest of the political blogs is tiny compared to other major political news sources,” said Max Kalehoff, a spokesman for HitWise, a Web traffic measurement and analysis company. In a recent week, traffic to was almost 650 percent greater than that of the most popular such blog.

HitWise’s rankings of half a dozen blogs tell a very quiet story. The most popular site,, accounts for.0051 percent of Internet visits each day. (HitWise only reports the percentage of visits to sites/categories versus all Internet visits, or market share, Kalehoff said.) was second with .0027 percent. Even the profane and popular, profiled in The New York Times, Time and the Washington Post, limps in with .0011 percent.

Did this jerk Kalehoff ever attend a stats class? Hell, did he make it out of sixth grade math?

Comparing a blog to the total traffic of the Washington Post is absurdly stupid and misleading; it’s number fraud. The Washington Post is among the top news sites online (ranked two above my own company here). Choosing that site as the basis of comparison for single blog sites is loading the deck with dynamite. I’ll bet if you compared the blogs this twit names with individual columnists on The Post — which would be a far more logical comparison, would it? — these blogs would win over most of the old guys. And I can (but won’t) name many national magazine and local newspaper sites that don’t get the traffic and audience of these bloggers.

To measure a blog’s traffic against all the traffic for the entire Internet is absurdly idiotic. You know what? If you measured the Washington Post’s readership against all reading in a day, it wouldn’t blip either.

Furthermore, it’s a mistaken, mass-media, old-media analysis to look only at the top of the power-law curve for what’s successful in new media. In old media, only the top guys could afford to own the printing presses and broadcast towers. In citizens’ media, anybody can (and will) publish. The mass medium is death. The mass of niches has taken over media. So this alleged analyis shows a shocking ignorance of the new dynamics of media from a company that is allegedly measuring it (and charging customers for that service and analysis).

In addition, this is a medium of influencers. And so, it doesn’t necessarily matter if some blogs have a large number of readers if they have the right readers. Yes, there are blogs that are read in the White House and in Congress and in major media organizations; their influence is disproporational to their circulation. I can name many print publications that are just like that; they, too, would look small next to the Washington Post but that doesn’t prove squat.

: See, too, this story saying that 20 percent of newspaper readers read blogs. That’s a huge number for such a new medium.