Blogging stats gone wrong

Grumpy Old Bookman has an interesting post about the significance of blogs. He summarizes some stats from a Financial Times article:

Most blogs have very few readers. Only two blogs get over 1 million readers a day, the 100th most popular blog has only 9,700 readers a day, and the 1,000th has under 600.

GOB uses that stat to imply that he’s in the top 1000 blogs, since he gets about 600 visits a day. I think he must be using a different stats package from me, because there’s no doubt in my mind that he’s more popular than Word Munger is, and Word Munger gets almost 600 visits a day. Furthermore, the FT article has got to be way off base, because there’s no way in hell Word Munger is among the top 1,000 blogs. Top 100,000 might be more like it.

Cognitive Daily once cracked the Technorati top 5,000 — but it was getting over 3,000 visits a day at the time (those numbers have gone down with the transition to ScienceBlogs). Based on those numbers alone I suspect the FT article is off by an order of magnitude at the low end. While I can’t speak for the top two, I’d bet number 100 gets more like 100,000 visits a day, and number 1,000 gets more like 20,000.

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10 Responses to Blogging stats gone wrong

  1. Sand Storm Nov 5th, 2005 – Feb 23, 2006
    Visits 3,891
    Posts 175 .

    man I got a long way to go!

  2. dave says:

    Where are those stats from, Steve — SiteMeter?

    I think GOB is getting his stats from SiteMeter, which will consistently underestimate stats. Anyone who’s got a javascript adblocker won’t be counted, and neither will RSS users. I’d say you should probably multiply SiteMeter results by at least 3 to get a true sense of your number of visitors.

  3. Pete says:

    The 1000th has “only” 600 daily readers? Even recognizing the undercounting, that’s still a huge number. The “death of blogs” writers are completely missing the point, thinking blogs are only relevant if they make money. By that same argument, I guess literary fiction is virtually dead, too, since so few writers make a full-time living from their writing. Blogs are about self-expression and being part of a community, and based on those measures, blogging is incredibly vital.

  4. dave says:

    Pete,

    Exactly. And if Word Munger is a representative blog that gets “only” 600 visits a day, it looks like there are over 50,000 blogs with this many readers. That’s a whole lot of community-building.

  5. Yes SiteMeter. I wasn’t even sure I had that many but I like your x3 formula.

  6. ed says:

    The FT is full of shit. I’ve yet to crack the Technorati Top 5,000 (although I’m close) and I receive far more hits than what they claim I should be getting (although I haven’t checked my stats in ages).

  7. Jen says:

    You’re numbers have gone down from the transition to ScienceBlogs? That’s surprising to me… I would have thought it would have generated a lot more publicity.

  8. dave says:

    Yep. I actually suspected they would, at least in the short term. A lot of our traffic comes from big-time blogs noticing a high-profile article in the archives. For example, a few weeks ago, Reddit.com picked up on our post from last December on IQ versus self-discipline. That generated about 15,000 visits over three or four days — all on the old site. Then there was a trickle-down effect as other blogs noticed the original link. The old CogDaily still has about three times more sites linking to it than the new CogDaily.

    Also, the generic ScienceBlogs publicity doesn’t help us much — if you visit the ScienceBlogs main page, you see that Pharyngula posts about 7 or 8 times a day, and most of the other blogs post at least 2 or 3 times a day. The one measly CogDaily post tends to get lost in the shuffle.

    But over the long term (and especially after I move the archives over to the new site — probably sometime in the next few weeks), I think ScienceBlogs will lead to more traffic on CogDaily.

  9. Doug Hoffman says:

    I’d say you should probably multiply SiteMeter results by at least 3 to get a true sense of your number of visitors.

    Yippee! That means I’m getting around 600 hits a day, and that means I’m in the top 1000!

    — Doug, who only pays attention to statistics he likes.

  10. Michele says:

    Don’t most of us only pay attention to the stats we like? If we paid attention to everything, it’d be really hard to get defensive. That takes all the fun out of arguments, I think.

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