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Nov 19 2004

The Math of Blog Explosion

108blogexplosion.gifI did a search for "math of blog explosion" and "blog explosion math" on both Google and Yahoo and all four resulted in nothing…not a single entry. I tried some other searches but couldn't find a good analysis of the numbers behind the workings of Blog Explosion. However, there are plenty of bloggers who have posted…shall we say, less than accurate comments about how BE works.

First, Blog Explosion requires the use of free credits to balance things out. For example, imagine if there were just three BE surfers. In one day they all surf each other's sites. They each surf two sites, times three people, equaling six visits. But they only earned the right to receive one visitor each. The equation is short three visitors. It is balanced out by letting each surfer win one credit. The equation is also balanced out by people who buy credits instead of earning or winning them. BE cannot stop giving away and selling credits. If it did, the whole system would collapse.

107numbers.gifNo doubt, winning credits also serves the purpose of getting some people to surf longer than they would normally as they are enticed by the chance of the big win and encouraged along with the occasional little tidbit. But, how much and how often credit wins are given out is determined not by the mood of BE but, rather, by the number of credits that are purchased. It is only indirectly controlled by BE by setting the price of credits. BE only has a finite number of credits to sell and give away, the amount of which is equal to the sum of what everyone earns. If too many people purchase credits, not only do they risk running out of credits to sell but they lose the ability to give away credits to encourage surfing. The solution is to simply raise the price of credits which, if my memory is correct, has not happened.

Some people have commented lately that there has been a decrease in the number and frequency in which credits are won and that the number of banners you can purchase with one credit has dropped from the originally 1 credit = 50 banners to the current 1 = 30. [Edit, now 1 = 25.] What prompted this entry was some of those people attributing this to some evil or underhanded motive by BE. Not coincidentally, the blogs of those who attributed such manipulation to BE tended towards the liberal side: corporations are bad, I'm not responsible for my life, I need the government to get through the day, etc.

I believe nothing could be farther from the truth. I believe, other than the setting of the price for purchased credits, that BE is on autopilot. The decrease in winnable credits is easily explained by the fact that people are likely buying more credits with actual cash having tired of surfing for 50 credits an hour (60 theoretically, but closer to 50 in practice) but still addicted to the traffic that BE brings to their sites. The increased number of purchased credits has simply decreased the number of credits that can be won.

As to the credit/banner exchange rate, that's almost certainly just the result of supply and demand. BE probably had a big cue of banner placement requests. It doesn't matter if the ratio goes down to 1 credit for 5 banners...by definition, the amount of banners is always set at the right amount if there are no pages coming up without banners and no huge cue of people waiting to have their banner placed.

This has admittedly been incredibly superficial. If anyone knows of a more in depth analysis, please let me know.

Posted by Don |


  1. As for the decreases discussed: No in depth analysis here, but a thereoy. No not conspiracy just the fact their membership has grown sooo much as of late that they are having to adjust things accordingly.

  2. #2
    hols said on November 20, 2004 | Reply

    surfed here, via BE. ok i understand the math part, but what the hell are banners?? LOL, i may be the most moronic person in BE universe but that part i dont get. and now its 1 credit=25 banners!

  3. #3
    Don said on November 20, 2004 | Reply

    You make a banner that will attract people to your site and you upload it to BE and they place it in the upper right for people to see and hopefully click on when they surf. It "costs" you one credt for, now, 25 placements.

  4. I think you have it nailed.

  5. #5
    John said on November 20, 2004 | Reply

    Uh, some people do need the government to get through the day. Not everyone is born with a silver spoon in his/her mouth like George W. Bush.

  6. I've recently joined Blod Explosion and still can't figure out what to do with credits and how it helps me. I keep getting them, but so what?

  7. Correction to your math: today I noticed that the credit per banner number has dropped to 25.

    And by the way, I live with a member of the Lancaster PA Danz family, Richard Danz.


  8. Curious. I did a search on Math Blog Explosion on Google and got over 19,000 hits. Math BlogExplosion yielded around 3700 hits.

    I discussed this in my blog http://www.orient-lodge.com/index.php?q=node/view/106 a month ago and received some good comments.

    Key points that were brought up was not only the Free Mystery credits balancing the equation, but also referals, banners purchased with credits, and hits purchased by hard cash.

    While it is possible that they have all of this in an algorithm, I suspect that they monitor the 'blog credit economics' fairly closely, perhaps even the way the Fed monitors money supply.

    Recently, I've been looking at a different issue with how they are working. Checking the number of hits received at any given time and comparing the change with the number of hits show in the graph, I'm finding a descrepency.

    I've written to the folks at Blog Explosion, and I'm still waiting for a good response. I suspect there may still be bugs in how a fair amount of this works.

  9. I guess I was so bewildered by the way BlogExplosion has increased traffic to my blog that I never actually thought about the way it worked.

    Being an economist, Hynes is having a very interesting view of how it might work.

  10. It's a small world, this blogosphere! I was referred to Blog Explosion a few weeks ago by Aldon, who commented above. But I didn't actually find your site through BE: I found it through the MT support forums! And here it turns out that you're familiar with BE, too. Like I said...a small world!

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