Skip to main content

The Battle for Bloggers

As big-footed competitors like Yahoo!, Google and Microsoft enter the blogosphere, Juan Carlos ponders whether the changes they are bringing will be benefitial or detrimental to the [blogging] market.

MSN Spaces was topped only by blogging stalwarts. Google's Blogger and its accompanying Blogspot hosting site together drew 12.63 million unique visitors in April, followed by Six Apart's Typepad and LiveJournal services, which together rang up 11.47 million, and by with 8.26 million.

Introduced in beta form just last December, MSN Spaces now hosts over 10 million blogs, an eye-popping adoption rate that has blown past internal Microsoft expectations. In April, when MSN Spaces exited its beta period, it was already among the most popular blogging sites in the U.S. based on stats indicating 2.87 million unique visitors that month, according to market researcher comScore Networks. Microsoft is tapping mostly people who haven't blogged before, and specifically among the ranks of MSN Messenger users

In March, Yahoo introduced in limited beta a service called Yahoo 360 whose concept and design are similar to MSN Spaces. This service comes as no surprise, because Yahoo, like Microsoft's MSN, has a wide variety of online services with which to surround its blogging service. As two leading Web portals, MSN and Yahoo have an amount and variety of online services under one roof that few others can rival, and blogging is something they're weaving into their overall fabric.

This clashes with the philosophy of most original blogging services, including Blogger, which Google acquired in 2003 after Blogger had become popular. Services such as Blogger offer basic blogging functionality but also tend to be open, flexible platforms that tech-savvy users can extend, build upon, and integrate with third-party services. Howerver, Blogger to date has no native way for users to control access to their blogs, nor does it feature native image uploading, two capabilities core to MSN Spaces and Yahoo 360.