Chicken or the egg?

Billy Jones has been doing a little research on local online readership.  Here’s something he says he found out about the Rhino Times’ online efforts, or lack of…

“….A surprising number of Blogsboro bloggers including myself have a larger online audience than do the Hammer brothers.”

Not long ago, Willie Hammer and I had a long conversation about their online presence both past and future.  His take is very… well, conservative.  Until they can figure out how to make money online, they are going to keep doing what they have been doing – namely – posting Thursday’s news the following Monday.

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8 Comments

  1. Posted December 18, 2006 at 11:14 am | Permalink

    Billy doesn’t provide a source for his data. Since it claims to offer demographic information, which is not something gleaned from a log file, my suspicion is that he’s getting data from Alexa or something else that requires a user installation. Data from these sources can be notoriously innacurate as they just record the surfing habits of a small segment of the population. Also, some of these “services” hammer web sites trying to gather information, as is the case of Alexa, and such site visitation habits cause some hosts to block Alexa and others from gathering information, further distorting the data they report.

  2. Posted December 18, 2006 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

    Willie told me they get nearly a million hits a month.

    If that’s true, I can’t imagine all of the blogs in Greensboro combined would get anywhere near that number.

    Billy?

  3. Posted December 18, 2006 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

    I thought they posted Thursday’s rumors the following Monday.

  4. Posted December 19, 2006 at 8:56 pm | Permalink

    Roch,
    I’m not using Alexa but am using a tool that buys info from many different sources including Alexa, advertising agencies, the US Census, survey companies, search engine logs, ISP user logs, and many more. How accurate are they? Time will tell but since I’m having so much fun with my new toy I’ll keep it to myself until I tire of it.

    David,
    As Roch will no doubt verify, hits are a far different thing than are unique readers and page views. A hit is generated any time a reader scrolls far enough down the page to view the next post, link, .jpg, .gif etc. Every link and every file on a webpage reflects a hit so a million hits a month is quite common. A million unique readers– rare. A million page views– Well I topped 1,300,000 page views in the last 12 months but I’m a very long way below a million readers by any way you want to measure it. I just happen to have an audience who loves to read. My online novels generate an unbelieveable amount of traffic especially when compared to the rest of my site.

    Honestly, as Jr said to me earlier, hits, page views, uniques, and all the rest are a lot of smoke and mirrors. Jr didn’t even question my statements about the N&R’s traffic but the demographics puzzled us both and is very different from the research the N&R no doubt pays for.

    As for who’s right– I donno, I’m just playing with my new toy.

    By the way, I tried to look up hoggsblog.com but my source had never heard of you. Yes, it’s far from perfect as a your domain is over 4 years old and should be in every directory that exists.

  5. Posted December 20, 2006 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

    Billy,

    Thanks for the additional information. It might be interesting to compare the results of your toy with the actual information from the log files of a known source.

    You are 100% correct about the meaning of the term “hits.” A single user, loading a single page can account for dozens of “hits.” Page views, visits and unique visitors are more telling measures of a site’s popularity.

    The publisher of any site that is getting 1 million visitors, visits or even page views a month would not have a problem figuring out how to make money on it — no matter how “conservative” he may be.

  6. Posted December 20, 2006 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

    “A hit is generated any time a reader scrolls far enough down the page to view the next post, link, .jpg, .gif etc.”

    This isn’t quite right. A hit is every item loaded on the page – for instance on a page with three graphics, you’ll get four hits. One for the html page and three for the graphics. The number of individual posts on the page shouldn’t matter, unless they all exist only as separate files on the server, and physically scrolling the page shouldn’t affect the number of hits (in most cases).

  7. Posted December 21, 2006 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

    Er, Stew is 100% right. Billy, I’ve lowered your scrore to 89%.

  8. Posted December 22, 2006 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

    Yes, It appears Stew did a better job ‘splaining it that I did.