A Slice of the Blogosphere

The Oregon weblogs site I run (ORblogs) is watching a tiny slice of the blogosphere. The site is currently tracking 1,051 active weblogs, and that number is made up of weblogs by people who choose to participate at the site. (And there are currently 48.3 million weblogs, according to Technorati.) ORblogs tracks a bunch of metadata from these 1,000+ participating blogs, with most of the data exposed in various ways across the site. However there are a few bits of data that you don't see on the site, and I think it's interesting to run some numbers and share them once in a while.

One bit of data collected from RSS feeds is the generator. If you look at the source XML of most RSS or Atom feeds, you'll often see a generator or admin:generatorAgent tag. And because weblog authors usually don't touch their feed templates—if they have access to their feed design at all—this tag is a fairly good way to see which weblog tool was used to generate any given weblog.

Without further explanation, here's weblog tool usage across Oregon weblogs flowing through ORblogs:
  1. Blogger: 431
  2. WordPress: 167
  3. Movable Type: 87
  4. TypePad: 72
  5. LiveJournal: 11
And to show off my Excel charting skills, here's a pie graph of this data:

generator pie chart

But wait! That doesn't add up to 1,051. True, of the total active weblogs, 70 don't have a feed associated with their listing. (Typically because their weblog HTML is missing an auto-discovery tag, or the tag contains a bad URL.) And of the rest that do have a feed associated with their listing, 173 feeds didn't have a generator listed. The rest were generators that numbered four or fewer such as Microsoft Spaces, and PMachine.

"What about FeedBurner?", you cry. ORblogs is tracking that usage too, and luckily FeedBurner passes the original generator information through in its feeds. Of these blogs, 55 were using FeedBurner.

Another interesting bit of data typically stored in these generator tags is a version number for the software. Here's how some of the version numbers break down (when a version number was available):

Blogger (who knew they had versions?):
  1. Blogger 6.72: 344
  2. Blogger 5.15: 76
WordPress:
  1. WordPress 2.0.3: 33
  2. WordPress 2.0.2: 28
  3. WordPress 1.5.2: 22
  4. WordPress 2.0.1: 18
  5. WordPress 1.5.1.3: 11
  6. WordPress 2: 9
  7. WordPress 1.5: 8
  8. WordPress MU: 7
Movable Type:
  1. Movable Type 3.2: 52
  2. Movable Type 3.121: 5
  3. Movable Type 3.17: 5
  4. Movable Type 2.63: 4
  5. Movable Type 2.64: 4
  6. Movable Type 2.661: 4
  7. Movable Type 3.15: 4
TypePad had a few different version numbers (1.0 and 1.5.1), but most often simply listed 'TypePad' or 'http://www.typepad.com/' as the generator. LiveJournal was LiveJournal, no version.

And that's what's happening with a slice of the Oregon blogosphere as of July 14th, 2006.

Update: And for fun, here's a similar survey I ran using the HTML generator tag in 2004 back when ORblogs was tracking just 309 weblogs: ORblogs Forum: Weblog Tool Survey. Blogger and Movable Type were tied back then.

Comments

curious! I am in the ORBlogs listings and I'm fairly sure my RSS gives its generator (Drupal).
Hey Lynn, just looked up your feed:

http://www.oregonmediainsiders.com/node/feed

Your feed doesn't show a generator. That's the drawback with this method: the results only tell you about tools that report themselves in the feeds they generate. In fact, Drupal didn't show up in the results at all, and I know there are at least a handful of Drupal-powered blogs in the ORblogs directory. I don't think there are enough to catch up with LiveJournal, but it would be interesting to know the precise number.
When people ask me about blogging, I always refer them to Blogger - it's simply the easiest tool to use. Sure it doesn't have all the features that some of the other services have, but beginner bloggers don't need all of that stuff.
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