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Monday, January 02, 2006

The Long Tail Tracks Fortune 500 Blogs

The Long Tail's Chris Anderson wondered if there was an explanation for why some Fortune 500 firms like General Motors and Microsoft have official blogs but others in the same industry - Toyota and Apple - don't.

So he and some colleagues at Wired set out to find the answer. In the process, they discovered that it's no easy task to determine which Fortune 500 firms are actually blogging and that it appears very few are doing so, only about four percent.

All of which led to the creation of The Long Tail's Fortune 500 Business Blog Index, a wikipedia that is intended to enlist the wisdom of the blog crowd in the quest to monitor how the Fortune 500 is making use of the Blogosphere.

I think there is still a flaw in the classification standard used by this new wiki. The definition used is: "Active public blogs by company employees about the company and/or its products." Company employees can operate a widely read blog without official company endorsement or support. Here is an excellent example of just such a blog.

So perhaps the definition should be revised thusly: "Active public blogs by company employees with official company support about the company and/or its products."

Even so, I think it's important to track the Fortune 500 response to the growth of the Blogosphere because doing so will help explicate why our largest and most successful companies have been so slow in making effective use of blogs, either as external marketing tools or as internal communication and management tools.

By the way, I've had The Long Tail on my blog roll for a long time and you should as well. Understanding what it is about is essential to understanding why and how the internet has redefined marketing, among so much else.

Also, if you aren't sure what defines The Long Tail, here is a concise definition.