Demonstrating the amazing rate at which bloggers are expanding the content of the Internet, Ask Jeeves' Bloglines has announced that they have doubled the size of their index since the beginning of the year.

Bloglines is a free online service that was designed to let users search, subscribe, publish and share news feeds, blogs and rich web content. The recent announcement means that Bloglines is now indexing over 500 million feeds. The expansion has been driven by the growing popularity of blogs and by the ease of use of the latest round of RSS news readers. The growth of the index continues at a rate of about 2-3 million new feeds a day.

"The daily growth of blog and news feed articles is the most accurate measure of the blogosphere's size and vitality," said Mark Fletcher, founder and now general manager of Bloglines at Ask Jeeves. "Bloglines has the largest database of blog and feed articles, the fastest growing index of dynamic web content, and the broadest set of integrated features -- making us the strongest blog resource on the Internet."

What is it about blogs and feeds that make them so appealing?

They open publishing to the masses. Ten years ago, the trendy went online to build their own Web sites. The sites usually weren't complex, but they required some knowledge of HTML if you wanted to share pictures of your cat or talk about your day. These days, free blogging tools like Blogger, Live Journal and Bloglines make publishing a snap. Posting a blog is as simple as writing an email.

Blogs are easy to fill with content. The very nature of a blog is that blogs are commentary, not articles. Writing an article can be daunting. It takes time, research, and there's a certain need for a tone of professionalism. Blogging is like sending an email to your best friend. You can share the same data that you would in an article, but in a much more easy-going manner. This makes blogs less intimidating.

Blogs are great for search and viral marketing. The blogosphere is growing, but it's still very connected. Blog posts get picked up in engines, in news readers and linked to by other bloggers. Spreading the word in a viral marketing campaign becomes pretty simple if you manage to score some good blog lines. Blogs also help boost search engine marketing campaigns by providing great fodder for incoming links and by keeping content fresh.

Blogs help us keep in touch We all remember the families that sent out Christmas cards with the big generic letter telling you what went on in their lives. Those of us who went to college in the 90's also remember receiving mass emails from friends that simply didn't have the time or energy to write to everyone individually. Blogs have become the new form of mass communication. My brother-in-law and sister-in-law both have blogs. It's a great way to keep up with them...basically an open letter about their lives to the world. Saves them having to tell everyone the same story, and while you might think that was less personal, it's actually prompted some great conversations that we never would have had otherwise. (i.e. "So I read in your blog the other day...")

500 million feeds is nothing to scoff at. Bloglines' latest announcement demonstrates that blogging is here to stay. Companies that have already found ways to use blogs to their advantage will continue to discover more ways to put them to use. Companies that haven't yet embraced blogging may want to think about why they've put it off, and how they might want to implement blogging to help them compete online.

Discuss this article in the Small Business Ideas forum.
June 14, 2005

Jennifer Laycock is the Editor of Search Engine Guide, the Social Media Faculty Chair for MarketMotive and offers small business social media strategy & consulting. Jennifer enjoys the challenge of finding unique and creative ways to connect with consumers without spending a fortune in marketing dollars. Though she now prefers to work with small businesses, Jennifer’s clients have included companies like Verizon, American Greetings and Highlights for Children.

Search Engine Guide > Jennifer Laycock > Bloglines Doubles Index in Six Months