Archive for October, 2008

Is TechCrunch Toast?

Is blogging really dying?  Is TechCrunch headed to the dead pool? That seems to be a vibe that has been circulating lately.
According to my feed reader, NewsGator’s awesome FeedDemon, I am certainly seeing what appears to be less activity and a bunch of repetition in my subscriptions.  So, does that mean blogging is going into the can or is something else going on here?

I decided to do some investigation on my own to get to the bottom of this… I think one of the strongest indicators of blogging’s health is the amount of comments that are posted. So, I went Geraldo style and wrote a script (see script at bottom) to scrape the number of comments from the popular tech blog, TechCrunch, over the last three years.

As you can see from the chart below (piped the script output -> Excel), the number of comments on TC is steadily increasing. TechCrunch is definitely not headed underground; it is doing very well!  Blogging is not dying… yippee, but it is most definitely changing.

TechCrunch Comments

So, what is going on? Well, I think blogging is just turning into another channel for the same type of media it was supposed to replace. Blogs are rolling up, trusted authorities are rising to the top, and the rest is just noise or repetition or gone bye bye. We already have too much going on in our lives, so it is only natural that this organic filtering would occur.

Here is the Ruby script if you want to see for yourself:

require ‘rubygems’
require ‘open-uri’
require ‘hpricot’

@url_base = “http://www.techcrunch.com/”
@response = ‘’

begin
File.open(”comments.txt”, “w”) do |file|
2008.downto(2005) do |year|
12.downto(1) do |month|
url = “#{@url_base}#{year}/#{month}”
begin
open(url) { |f|
@response = f.read
doc = Hpricot(@response)
(doc/”div/div/div[3]/ul/li/div”).each do |comment|
post = comment.innerHTML.split(’,')
file.write “#{post[0].strip},#{post[1].strip}\t#{post[2].split(” “)[0].strip.sub(”No”, “0″)}\r\n”
end
}
rescue Exception => e
print e, “\n”
end
end
end
end
rescue Exception => e
print e, “\n”
end

October 25th, 2008


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