Saturday, September 24, 2011

85% of preferred Blogspot domains untouched since 2007

Preferred domain names on Blogspot are already taken, as any newly registered user can tell you, but what percentage of these blogs are actually in use?  Sampling suggests that the vast majority of blogs are abandoned.  I examined the Blogspot domains of about 22,000 of the most common words in the English language, and I discovered that only 16% of these blogs had been updated since 2007 (4 years as of this writing).

(Interestingly, less than 10% of the domains were unregistered -- often less desirable words, such as adverbs.  I did find "rundown" there, though.)

Here is the cumulative histogram, defined as the percentage of blogs updated (at least) since the given year:

Cumulative Histogram of Last Update

It would seem that Blogspot has a trash problem.  The official position can be found in the User FAQ, which says:

Q: This blog has been abandoned and I want its address:

A: Blogger accounts and Blogspot addresses do not expire. Therefore, we can't take away somebody's blog address to give to you. Occasionally people come back to their blogs after long absences, and we want them to be able to find their blog as they left it. If you find some contact information on the blog, you are welcome to deal with the owner directly, to see if they are willing to transfer ownership so you can use that URL. However, we do not give out contact information for the owner of a blog.

I doubt that, after 4 years, more than a small portion of these people are ever going to return to their blogs.

We could have a very valid debate over the importance of simple, meaningful, Blogspot domain names.  I'm not sure where I stand on it.  But let's assume for now that short, word-based Blogspot domains have significant value.

In that case, there is a lot of wasted value in the Blogspot domain name system due mostly to the lack of contact information on each blog.  Perhaps Blogger should provide some sort of Craigslist-like anonymous way to contact blog owners?