July 31, 2006


One of the funnier sides of the recent blog ban is that it has given a bit of a glimpse into possible numbers related to bloggers in India. From the numbers on BloggersCollective, which I guess is the largest number of Indian bloggers/blog readers from India assembled in once place, we have more hype than actual numbers to back it up when it comes to participation.

At the last count there were 432 members in the group and if we were to invoke the 1% rule and extrapolate the audience possible, the number would be 39600 (99*400) who contribute to the process strictly within the Indian context. I'm not taking the other 32 into account because a lot of the bloggers become part of the 39K number due to their participation on other blogs and also there is no way to account for Indians who read blogs from India while being abroad.

Attribute an average of 3 page views per user to that number and you'd still get figure of only 120,000 per day, which across 432 blogs is a very low number. Low enough maybe to start a whispering society, but not large enough constitute a readily marketable or easily targeted demographic. Please don't tell me that such a number has been quite effective, as shown by the banned blogs episode; effectiveness and scale are two different things. Besides, a lot of the bloggers are media people, which certainly did help in getting good enough traction on the mainstream media.

Another contentious point is that blogging by itself does not do much. It does well only when it is sold as part of something more easily recognised, like how Indiatimes does it with 'News Blogs' on timesofindia.indiatimes.com. Does that mean blogging in India is no great shakes? Right now, I think the answer is 'yes' and I don't think it will take off at a major level till the vernacular crowd moves in and that is a different story in itself.

Meanwhile, NDTV.com launches its blogging service, replete with avenues for cross domain scripting attacks and numerous other holes. A ten minute inspection of it already has shown ways to steal posts from other people, requiring almost no technical knowledge, making our gaffes look pre-pubescent in an instant. C'est la vie, I guess.