February 6, 2006 3:42 PM PST

Blog world growing by leaps and bounds

The blogosphere is in the middle of a big bang.

According to the blog trackers at Technorati, a company that indexes and searches blog postings, the number of blogs online is doubling about every five and a half months .

As of Monday, the company is tracking more than 27 million separate blogs around the world, or about 60 times what was online three years ago. About 2.7 million of those blogs are updated at least weekly, with about 1.2 million total posts appearing per day, Technorati founder David Sifry said in his "State of the Blogosphere" post on Monday.

"At that rate, it is literally impossible to read everything that is relevant to an issue or subject," Sifry wrote. "A new challenge has presented itself--how to make sense out of this monstrous conversation, and how to find the most interesting and authoritative information out there."

Indeed, the vast majority of those pages remain the kind of personal diaries that attract few readers. But bloggers as a whole have begun to play a critical role in accelerating news cycles, fact-checking media and political figures, and undermining public relations campaigns.

At a conference last week in Los Angeles, Technorati Executive Vice President Peter Hirshberg spotlighted as an example of this power bloggers' reaction to the recent "Du Bist Deutschland" campaign, launched last year by the German government as a public morale booster. Major companies donated millions of dollars of advertising time for spots featuring famous Germans, and the tag line translating "You are Germany."

Trouble was, bloggers quickly began passing around an old photograph that showed a campaign with similar wording issued by the Nazi party, with Hitler's image front and center.

The campaign's organizer was angry enough to send an irate internal memo comparing blogs to the prose quality of toilet walls. The memo promptly leaked to the Net, and "Du Bist Deutschland" became Technorati's most-searched-for term, having had a very different response than its creators hoped.

According to Technorati's survey, about 13.7 million bloggers have continued to post to their sites after three months of operation.

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