Conservative Blog Sprawl Is A Serious Threat To Progressive Blogosphere Dominance
by Chris Bowers, Thu Jul 07, 2005 at 02:43:41 PM EDT
More importantly, what I did find was an undeniable conservative advantage in conservative blogosphere sprawl outside the top sixty-six blogs. Looking at all 250 blogs in my study, here is how each group of ten breaks down by ideology:
Lib Con 1-10 6 4 11-20 5 5 21-30 7 3 31-40 6 4 41-50 4 6 51-60 2 8 61-70 2 8 71-80 4 6 81-90 3 7 91-100 5 5 101-110 6 4 111-120 7 3 121-130 3 7 131-140 3 7 141-150 6 4 151-160 3 7 161-170 5 5 171-180 1 9 181-190 1 9 191-200 3 7 201-210 3 7 211-220 4 6 221-230 5 5 231-240 4 6 241-250 5 5(How to read this chart: there were six liberal blogs and four conservative blogs in the top ten of all blogs, five liberal blogs and five conservative blogs in the second ten of all blogs, etc.)
Of the top sixty-six blogs, thirty-three were liberal and thirty-three were conservative. However, from 67-250, only seventy were liberal while one hundred and fourteen were conservative. That is almost exactly a fifty-percent conservative edge in terms of total number. Even without these numbers, the chart makes it obvious that conservatives dominate outside of the top forty or so.
Now, looking individually at each blogosphere, compare the traffic of each grouping of ten blogs relative to the overall traffic total of their respective ideological blogosphere:
Lib Con 1-10 69.0% 54.6% 11-20 14.4% 14.2% 21-30 7.5% 8.4% 31-40 3.0% 6.3% 41-50 2.0% 4.0% 51-60 1.6% 3.2% 61-70 1.1% 2.2% 71-80 0.8% 1.9% 81-90 0.4% 1.4% 91-100 0.3%* 1.2% 101-110 NA 1.0% 111-120 NA 0.8% 121-130 NA 0.6% 130-147 NA 0.7%(* = 91-103)
(How to read this chart: The ten most trafficked liberal blogs received 69.0% of all liberal blog traffic, while the ten most trafficked conservative blogs received 54.6% of all conservative traffic. The second ten most trafficked liberal blogs received 14.4% of all liberal blog traffic, while the second ten most conservative blogs received 14.2% of all conservative traffic, etc.)
The conservative advantage in smaller blog traffic is tremendous. In fact, for blogs ranked 67-250, conservatives hold a whopping 1,469,730 to 861,827 weekly page view lead over progressive blogs (70.5%). Even more stunningly, the conservative blogs ranked 67-250 make up 21.5% of all conservative blogosphere traffic, while the liberal blogs ranked 67-250 make up only 8.3% of all liberal blogosphere traffic--a five to two edge in favor of conservatives. Clearly, smaller blogs are a much, much more important part of the conservative blogosphere than they are a part of the liberal blogosphere.
Now, right now you may be asking why this is important. Who cares if conservatives are leading among smaller blogs--that means that liberal blogs have an even larger lead among large blogs, right? While that is certainly true, it is also true that the smaller a blog tends to be, the more locally focused it tends to be. For a party obsessed with running a a fifty-state strategy, and with a midterm election coming up where all politics are indeed local, an edge among small, local, political blogs also means an edge in small, local, political races. While progressives may be taking a decisive edge in general blogosphere discourse, it could also be argued that conservatives are taking a decisive advantage in targeted blogging that will provide them with real, tangible benefits in the 2005-2006 elections.
Pennsylvania is an excellent example of this problem. Philadelphia is arguably the nation's lefty blogging capital. With at least fifteen of the one-hundred and three lefty blogs in this study, not to mention ten of the top fifty most trafficked left wing blogs, you would think that local Pennsylvania blogs are dominated by liberals, right? Wrongo. The only two sites in the blogads traffic rankings that were dedicated solely to Pennsylvania statewide politics were Grassroots PA and Keystone politics, both of which are conservative blogs. Much the same can be said for Politics PA, which does not use BlogAds. Even in a region steeped in popular left wing blogs, conservatives ruled the local political blogging scene. Don't even get Matt Stoller started on the superior strength of local conservative web log rings.
To a certain extent, this is probably the result of several large progressive blogs offering quick and easy ways to take part in large communities, something that is not found nearly as often on large right-wing blogs. Why start a local blog when you can just have a diary on Dailykos? Whatever the cause, however, this is a serious problem that progressives must both accept and face. Certainly there are some very good local lefty blogs communities, but overall local blogging is dominated by conservatives. The Thune bloggers are just one example of the impact this can have on a campaign. If we do not invest our time, energy and monetary resources into building a superior local blog infrastructure to conservatives, the advantage of our overall traffic lead will be significantly muted. It is almost as though Democratic electoral problems with suburbs and exurbs are being repeated in the blogosphere. We dominate the big cities, but are getting whacked outside of them. If we are truly going to build a better blogosphere, progressives must respond to rapidly expanding conservative blog sprawl.