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Why Blogger isn’t that popular in the Philippines?




During a cocktail party held yesterday for several folks from Google Asia-Pacific, the Product Manager from SEA asked me this — while blogging is huge in the Philippines, why isn’t Blogger enjoying the same popularity? I gave him some figures off my head as he wrote it down. And here are some reasons why.

Yes, Blogger is also widely used as a blogging platform by a lot of Filipinos but it did not generate the same level of popularity as YouTube in the country. This is primarily because of other competing platforms:

  • While Blogger had the first mover advantage, it did not enjoy as much popularity in the early 2000 as LiveJournal (DiaryLand, Pitas, Blogger and LiveJournal were all launched in 1999). The Philippines is on the Top 10 LiveJournal users worldwide, at #8 with 60,961 users. In terms of search volume, Philippines is at #5 for LiveJournal.com
  • According to Google Trends, Multiply has 200,000 daily unique visitors from the Philippines, twice as many from a year ago. In Alexa, the Philippines ranked #5 for Multiply’s traffic origins contributing to an estimated 13.4% of its total users. With Google Insights, Philippines is #1 for Multiply searches. (Read my related story on ABS-CBN and Multiply deal.)
  • According to Google Insights, the Philippines is in the Top 5 for Xanga.
  • Friendster also enjoys the #1 spot for the Philippines worldwide. Google trends estimate 1 Million daily unique visitors to the site. There’s an estimated 10 Million Filipinos having a Friendster account. If just 1% of them opens a Friendster blog, that’s already 100,000 users.

On the other hand, Blogger.com isn’t even on the Top 25 of countries by usage according to Alexa. I can’t get any more traffic details since Google Trends don’t show data from Blogger.com. However, Google Insights rank the Philippines #5 for blogger.com searches.

And almost everybody knows that BlogSpot is the #1 host for spammers. Last year, a study found out that 75% of all blogspot.com accounts are spam blogs. Even antivirus and security company Sophos noted that the number one host for malware on the web is Blogger, with blogspot.com accounts contributing to at least 2% of total malware webpages globally.

There’s also the growth of an alternative (and ad free) platform in i.PH, WordPress.com as well as the self-hosted WordPress.org application. Even offline support is present, credited to the two upcoming WordCamp Philippines. We’re not even counting the local Drupal and Joomla community as well as alternative platforms such as TextPattern, Expression Engine, and MovableType.

Unlike YouTube, Blogger has so many other popular competing platforms being used in the Philippines that it failed to dominate the market despite the surge of blogging in the country.



Abe is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of YugaTech. You Can follow him on Twitter @abeolandres.

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34 Responses

  1. Jan Alvin says:

    The reason behind it is its service features. Blogger made a wrong impression of its target market here in the Philippines. Ang gusto kasi ng mga Pilipino ay may full-control sa product na meron sila. And I think, yung distribution process o yung online promotions nila ay hindi nag-work out dito.

  2. scatterhaiku says:

    interesting post. :) i’ve only ever tried blogger. makes me wonder if the alternatives offer features i’m currently missing out on.

  3. hindi kasi maganda ang interface ng blogger.

  4. blozoom! says:

    i still use blogger. and yes blogger interface is bad and hard to customize. wordpress is flexible. for personal blog, blogger is ok.

  5. Lyle, RN says:

    I agree that a great number of blogs in blogger are spam. Casts a bad light to the blogger and blogspot brand if you ask me.

    But all of my blogs are hosted by Blogger. Their hosting reliability is unbeatable but all other features specially the COMMENT system is mediocre compared to WordPress.

  6. jamie says:

    I think Blogger.com is not that popular because it doesn’t have a social networking feature. If you have friends over at LiveJournal or if you blog on Friendster and/or Multiply, whenever you blog, your friends are notified without much effort. It’s kind of lonely to blog on Blogger unless you are popular.

  7. I started with blogger before earning millions (just kidding). Yes the interface is not appealing nor the public page. We are already approaching web 3.0 in terms of design but it seems they are stuck with web 1.0.

  8. wriuz says:

    i agree with jamie. A lot of Filipinos want their blog posts being read and commented by their friends. i’m one of those actually. Multiply is a great platform for such. its not that i’m endorsing Multiply but i’ve enjoyed it very much. plus, a large number of users in Multiply actually earns some money as it integrates some kind of an online store. Even though Multiply is a community site, users have total control as to who views their every post in a way making it private, i.e. for personal, for selected people, for contacts only, or for public viewing.

    Friendster Blogs is also a great blogging platform but going around the blog section is not that easy. Blogger is way better than Friendster Blogs in terms of interface, functionality, customization, loading speed (i’ve observed that Friendster Blogs loads very slow maybe because it uses Typepad and has lots of advertisements). But the thing is, whenever someone posts a blog entry in Friendster Blogs, their online friends in the Friendster community are notified without much effort.

    But there’s still hope for Blogger. If it wants to be in the center of attention, i suggest it redesign everything including the interface, comment system, and remove the Blogger bar. also, it should have a touch of a community system because bloggers need not be alone.

  9. lito says:

    I thought blogger.com is popular here in the philippines.

  10. blogger already has an updated comment system. check out my blog. its just released yet although you can get it activate it from draft.blogger.com

    pero still, the interface is not that good and there’s no built in stats page like that of wordpress.com.

    lamang lang ng blogger siguro is that most companies have the social networking sites blocked. hehehe.

  11. Kuya Kevin says:

    I’ve been using blogger for about two years now. I’ve considered switching to wordpress, but I’m not sure it’s worth it. The biggest problem is I’d eventually have to re-post all of my pictures. I’m hoping blogger will keep updating its features.

    I have noticed the popularity of blogging in multiply. I was cross-posting there, but I’ve since stopped. Got more comments over in multiply, but it was a hassle to monitor both blog. I’d rather have the traffic come to my own blog.

  12. MiGs says:

    Baka mas mag click pa dito sa pinas ang Google Sites than blogger/blogspot…

    here’s mine: http://sites.google.com/site/buddymigs/

  13. sequoia says:

    I’m not a blogger but I here’s what I think:

    1) Blogger isn’t marketed as a networking site unlike friendster and multiply. It’s a straight-up blog hosting site. Market it as such and you’ll pro’lly increase pinoy traffic.

    2) Friendster and Multiply have weak blogging capabilities. Blogger can look into this big opportunity. NETWORKING + POWERFUL BLOG + OFFLINE CAPABILITIES (ex. syncing, FREE SMS alerts ala Twitter) = WIN.

    3) In theory, the first mover (one who gains first mover advantage. haha), can only hold on to it for a period of time. It can increase its period of dominance by increasing its product life cycle. Through what means? Innovation. Clearly something that blogger lacks (as compared to WordPress which is open-source and has an active community of developers working on plugins and themes).

  14. I use b2evolution not WordPress (the first fork of b2 cafe blog), and I still use Blogger. I also recommend blogger for those who are still starting up (then recommend them to move to b2evolution later).

    For Comments, I highly recommend DISQUS (http://disqus.com), secondary is Intense Debate (http://intensedebate.com), especially for Blogger/BlogSpot hosted blogs.

    Finally, one factor is Blogger/BlogSpot started out as two services, free and paid. With most features under the BlogSpot brand. Then Google only recently updated Blogger/BlogSpot, they’ve long been left behind by the times, and so it contributed in its decline in popularity in the Philippines.

  15. heh, lol. i really don’t like akismet.

    false-positives is so high.

  16. dan says:

    I am have been blogging for 2 months now and I started out with blogger myself. For newbie bloggers I guess blogger will be the best alternative. Blogger has a strait forward approach in designing and maintaining your blog. Plus you get some refferal traffic of four or more blogger users everyday. It may not sound much but it is a lot of help for newbies like me when starting out.

  17. drew says:

    If we start comparing Blogger to Friendster, Multiply, even Livejournal, the playing field is already uneven because in the first place Blogger is not a social network. The stats presented are lacking. When we speak of Friendster, like you say has 10 million Filipino users, even if 1% of its users somehow “blog”, I bet the volume of users who view these blogs is very small. I have only looked at a Frienster blog about 5 times my whole life. Friendster’s traffic relies mainly on its social networking aspect, not blogging. Multiply is the same, while LJ has a little of both. But despite that Blogger.com ranks high at #8 in the Alexa Top 100 for the Philippines. So why isn’t Blogger.com that popular here? I think when Dipchand said that “blogging is huge” here, he meant it as a growing trend more than real numbers. The Philippines’ Internet population pales in comparison to its SEA neighbors. Yes, blogging is huge sure, but not that huge. And that is his answer.

  18. yuga says:

    @Drew, I was actually surprised that the Product Manager from Google Singapore asked this question. It implied that he *knows* Blogger isn’t that popular in the Philippines; otherwise he wouldn’t pose the question to me. He did confirm though that YouTube is on top of Philippine traffic so that strengthens my assumptions that he has access to actual figures.

    Going back to his question, my attempt was to compare not the aggregate traffic but the total user count. This means even private blogs are counted, not just the public blogs. The closest I got was LiveJournal publicly displaying their registration stats. I used Google Trends to check the unique visits to Blogger.com but it did not show it (Google Trends do not show traffic stats of Google properties). Haven’t talked to Dipchand though.

    Going back to the social networking aspect, I agree with your observation. The reason why LiveJournal and Multiply innovated and grew was because they added social networking features. Blogger realized this very late and only introduced social features into their site since last year.

    The debate on numbers could have been settled if the guys from Google would just share how many registered Blogger.com users are there coming from the Philippines.

  19. jhay says:

    Perhaps Aileen Apollo could answer that question or help get those stats? :)

    Though I actually started blogging on Blogger.com, I never really stayed with it as within months, I already registered my very first domain, messed around with WordPress and the rest is history.

  20. yuga says:

    @jhay, I’ve talked to a lot of publicly listed companies — Yahoo, eBay, Intel, etc. and they all say that they cannot give out market-specific numbers.

    I guess making the actual figures public will have an effect on their stock prices.

  21. karla says:

    @yuga,
    Your statement on re: stocks could be a reason why Google is not showing stats of blogger or blogspot

  22. spiderye says:

    i’m using blogger. im pretty sure that blogger will improve in the coming years.

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  24. qarla says:

    Blogger is so powerful, if you know how to unleash it. Most of my readers thought I’m using WordPress.

    Hindi sila makapaniwala na custom domain blogger ginagamit ko. Matipid na, favored pa ng Google sa search engine nila hehe..

  25. djSOUNDs says:

    One of the reasons why Filipinos are not in tune with blogspots its because, no other filipino dares to go somewhere they don’t know about. Unless the majority of the barangay is already a member there. Friendster is popular in the Philippines because 99% of the population in the Philippines is already in friendster, either LIES or TRUTH the information of an individual always has something in common, to get “known” around the world. As well as Multiply, and the rest of the “single-looking for someone rich blah blah blah” forums. Blogspot however is more of a “stable” personal place where good friends can share the truth about the truth. Some blogspot are on Invite Only because they dont want others to be involved in their personal lives and still be online and exchange stories or what have you just like friendster has. In friendster you can not download music, no movies, blogspot have ’em. BIG F…..n difference.

  26. b. rahi koh says:

    @sequoia

    well said. that’s exactly how i see things also.

  27. I am using blogspot, wordpress at livejournal. siyam nga blogs ko eh

  28. It doesn’t matter how many blogs you got, the important thing is, it must be updated and blogging must be your passion in life. :)

  29. There are certainly a lot of details like that to take into consideration. That?s a great point to bring up. I offer the thoughts above as general inspiration but clearly there are questions like the one you bring up where the most important thing will be

  30. dell says:

    Maganda Ang blogger pag marunong kang mag html..

  31. GameBlogger says:

    I’m hosted in blogger. So far, nagagawa ko naman lahat ng gusto ko gawin sa kanya. Nga lang, there’s a possibility of my blog getting deleted if I do something wrong. :(

  32. skysenshi says:

    You can do a lot of things with Multiply and WordPress. Filipinos are fond of posting different sorts of things: photos, videos, blogs, links etc. Both Multiply and WordPress can incorporate all of these in one platform.

    You can probably do this with blogger but you have to go to Picasa for your photos, Sites for your icons, YouTube for your videos and then cut and paste these into Blogger plugins. The process is kind of tedious…

  33. Ghanima says:

    Well I used to write in blogspot. But I wanted to have more control so I used a hosting service with my own domain name and wordpress. It gives me more control on what I really want my blog to have.

  34. Do you have a spam issue on this blog; I also am a blogger,
    and I was curious about your situation; we have developed some nice methods and we are
    looking to exchange solutions with other folks, why not shoot me an e-mail if interested.

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