Topix starts indexing blogs; asks “But are they news?”

“Blogs and news are now on equal footing on Topix.net,” says Topix CEO Rich Skrenta, who reports that Topix has added 15,000 blogs to its index, and offers an inside look at a question that intrigues the Topix guys: “Are blog posts news?”
To figure that out, Rich and co. took a look at the coverage of key categories–news, sports, entertainment, etc.–but mainstream media and blogs, decided blogs added a lot to the mix, and then crawled (he says) about 1 MM blogs to build a list of the 15,000 now incorporated into the Topix index. He’s got some interesting charts and some fascinating data, including the fact that 85-90% of the daily posts hitting ping services such as weblogs.com are spam–and now visitors to pages like US News and Wierd News can see the blog posts highlighted alongside the other feeds.