Chris Bowers has done some extraordinary research into the traffic patterns and differences between progressive and conservative blogs.
His findings? Among highly-trafficked blogs (those that accept BlogAds), there are more blogs on the right - but there's more traffic on the blogs on the left. And the trend is speeding up fast.
I found 87 blogs that general fit into the "liberal" category and 113 blogs that fit into the conservative category.
However, despite the greater number of conservative blogs, the liberal blogs totaled nearly ten million page views per week, while the conservative blogs managed just over six million.
I have been tracking the comparative audiences of the two blogosphere off and on for the past nine months, and this is the largest lead for the liberal blogosphere that I have ever found. In September, the margin in favor of Democrats was 25%. In winter, it was 33%. In the spring, it was 50%. Now, it has risen to 65%.
This is particularly amazing, since less than two years ago the conservative blogosphere was at least twice the size of the liberal blogosphere.
Why is this happening?
Bowers has one theory: The rightie blogs simply don't encourage audience interaction. As one commenter put it:
I have been frustrated looking for the "Comment" button on many conservative blogs; it's nice to see that it's not just me, the button isn't there.
No surprise - Democratic blogs tend to be more democratic.
Does this matter?
Beyond the comment button, a number of top lefty blogs - like DailyKos, MyDD, TPM Cafe - allow any member of the audience to start their own "diary". The diaries are basically mini-blogs that add content, boost traffic, encourage unique voices, and - when they're promoted to the home page - expose the huge audiences for those blogs to new writers with fresh ideas.
As Bowers points out, these diary sites are a launching pad for individuals who then start their own blogs - with a pre-existing audience.
Every two weeks or so brings a new liberal blog from someone who has already become famous as a diarist. Community moderated blogging platforms such as Scoop have provided us with an excellent means of finding new voices, and these are the voices that are generating the accelerated growth in the liberal and progressive blogosphere when compared to the right-wing blogosphere.
There's lots of research and analysis on this over at MyDD.com. Check it out.
Wizbang: "Bowers forgets to mention that with traffic on the left converging on a few mega-sites (that by and large do not support smaller liberal blogs by linking to them) they are actually harming independent liberal voices."
Jay Currie: "Indeed, part of the left's approach to politics is about creating community; part of the right's approach is a wariness of community lest the values of that community overwhelm the individuals within it."
Brainster's Blog: "I suspect there are three factors. First, it is well-known that the intensity level goes up more among party activists after a loss than a win. The winners say, well, okay now I can go back to making money, while the losers have new battles to face to limit the damage their causes take."
Cadillac Tight: "While Scoop is certainly geared more towards creating an online community, it's not the software itself that fosters these communities on the left. There is a sense of activism in the lefty blogosphere that is missing from the right - understandable in light of the fact that the left is out of power right now, and the right is more powerful than it has been for some time."
Outside the Beltway: "The "new talent" issue is more persuasive. ... The number of Lefty bloggers who have had successful spinoffs from those sites is impressive. Aside from Red State, the Right has nothing like that in terms of a farm system."
Polipundit: "Liberal bloggers have more traffic because liberals have succeeded in heckling conservative blog readers into silence."
Patrick Ruffini: "Ironically, it is the liberal blogosphere that has adopted the more corporate, top-down approach to blogging: to be heard, you must go to Kos, Atrios, and Josh Marshall. This has the effect of aggrandizing a few superstar bloggers at the top, but leaving smaller liberal blogs scrounging for the all-too-rare link from the top dogs."
Nerve Endings: "However, now the liberal side has a 65% lead although the conservative side has larger number of blogs. The reason – new blogs have no avenue to be discovered by others. ... The truth remains, many new bloggers build social networks and attract readers by commenting extensively on other more popular blogs."