Nearly 50 million Americans, about a third all US internet users, visited blogs during the first quarter of 2005, research has revealed today.
According to a report from ComScore Networks, the surge in blog traffic represents an increase of 45 per cent compared to the same period during 2004.
The Behaviours of the Blogosphere report, sponsored in part by Gawker Media and Six Apart, found that five hosting services for blogs each had more than five million unique visitors in the first quarter of 2005, and four individual blogs had more than one million visitors each.
Of 400 of the largest blogs observed, segmented by eight (non-exclusive) categories, political blogs were the most popular, followed by "hipster" lifestyle blogs, tech blogs and blogs authored by women.
Blog readers visited nearly twice as many web pages as the internet average, and are much more likely to shop online.
Compared to the average internet user, blog readers are significantly more likely to live in wealthier households, be younger and access the web via high-speed connections.
"The fact that we found 30 per cent of the online population to have visited blogs clearly underscores the commercial importance of consumer generated and driven media," said Dan Hess, senior vice president of ComScore Networks.
"It is noteworthy that, while the blog audience is already quite large and growing, its demographic composition relative to the total population will appeal to many marketers." A PDF of the full analysis can be downloaded here.
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