Last week Robert Scoble set off a firestorm in the blogosphere when he questioned a claim allegedly made by the GM of Windows Live that Live is “now the largest blogging service on the planet.” Scoble believes that the metrics Microsoft used to come up with that claim don’t hold up, since many Windows Live Spaces are not used as blogs, many of those that ARE blogs are private (and hence not worthy of counting according to him), and a lot of people sign up for Spaces accounts and then promptly quit using the service. He offered his definition of a true blog which of course pissed off everybody who disagreed.
Taken at face value his comments seem overly harsh and a bit ridiculous. Why would anybody care who claims to be the largest blog provider? True, it’s a bit of FUD from Redmond, but aren’t we used to that by now? Plus, can’t we all just have our own definition of blog?
Not when we’re talking about advertising revenue. Microsoft can say “Look here, Mr. Advertiser, we have more blogs than any other company so you should pay us more money.” Suddenly the word blog means money, and unless everyone is using the same definition advertisers are left comparing apples to oranges. When those advertisers are people who own small companies, people like you or neighbor, and you’re getting screwed due to Microsoft FUD, you’re going to care about the definition of blog.
Think about it. Would you want to advertise on Mom-and-Pop blogs about corn fields and Depends or on major blogs that thousands of people read? Unless you sell Depends I think you’d opt for the major leagues.
It seems that a lot of people, notably Dare Obasanjo (PM for Microsoft Live Messenger), took offense at Scoble’s comments. In the comments on Robert’s first post Dare says:
Since that post, two people who work on the product have pointed out that we don’t think the number of blogs is relevant (it isn’t) and number of engaged users is more interesting. According to ComScore we have ONE HUNDRED MILLION of those per month (not counting China where we are the most popular blogging service).
…but it doesn’t matter if the guys writing code think the number of blogs is relevant. What matters, and what I think Scoble was saying, is that it matters what Microsoft’s leadership is saying, cause that’s what’s used to justify higher prices for advertisers. In this instance Microsoft’s leadership is represented by the GM, and he’s calling Spaces the largest blogging service on the planet.
I do have to give props to Dare though, because the only reference he makes to the nastiness between him and Scoble on his own blog is to call it “the recent round of player hating on Windows Live spaces…” Anybody who can write code and also talk about player hating (although I would have called it playa hating) has to be a pretty decent guy. I would like to hear the GM give a straight-forward statement much to the affect of Dare’s:
We are more interested in the number of people who actually use our service and get value added to their lives by being able to share, discuss and communicate with their friends, families and total strangers.
But alas, we ARE still talking about Microsoft’s leadership and we’re not living in Never Never Land, so that’s not going to happen. Until then, please, feel free to player hate all over my comments.