Never underestimate the power of first-mover advantage, especially when being one of the first movers gets you bought by Google. Back in August, 1999, Pyra Labs launched Blogger. LiveJournal had launched six months before and Open Diary in October of the previous year. But it was Pyra Labs which was acquired by Google in February, 2003, and the rest was history. Now, nearly ten years later, Blogger is still the dominant hosted blogging platform. In May, 52 million individual people from the U.S. visited a Blogger blog, almost twice as many as the 28 million who visited a blog hosted by WordPress.com (comScore). Six Apart properties, including Typepad.com, attracted 14 million.
Millions of bloggers still use Blogger because it is easy. However, WordPress.com is making steady gains and growing its aggregate audience in the U.S. at more than twice the annual rate of Blogger (40 percent versus 14 percent). These numbers don’t count all the blogs that host WordPress on their own servers, such as Techcrunch.
The vast majority of Blogger traffic comes from outside the United States, where its annual growth rate is 38 percent compared to WordPress.com’s 59 percent. On a worldwide basis, Blogger blogs have a readership of 267 million people a month, compared to 143 million a month for WordPress (comScore, April, 2008). The biggest countries are, in order:
From a business standpoint, Blogger is good for Google because it creates millions of sites which can show AdSesne ads. It creates more inventory for Google. Only recently has Google bothered to start showing ads to the users of Blogger itself every time they publish a post.
Can Blogger keep its lead indefinitely, or will WordPress eventually catch up? Or will something else entirely overtake both of them?
Today, two of the people behind the original Blogger, Evan Williams and Biz Stone, have another little service that is capturing people’s attention. It is called Twitter, you may have heard about it. In May, Twitter.com had 17.6 million unique U.S. visitors to its Website alone, making it bigger already than Six Apart.