Off the keyboard of RE
Published on the Doomstead Diner on April 30, 2015
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As Everybody Knows, I am a major Stats Freak, particularly when it comes to keeping track of how the Diner is doing as far as readership (Diner Blog & Forum), listenership (Diner Soundcloud Audio) and viewers (Diner You Tube Videos). Of course I track other stats too, like Gas Consumption, Retail Sales, the Unemployment Stats, etc. etc. etc. Stats tell you something about how Good you are doing, or how Bad. Problem is, you can't ever be sure of precisely WTF they are telling you or how accurate the picture is.
My first Stat Service I became enthused with was Alexa. There's no fee at least for their basic service, and you can drop in any URL to see how that site is currently ranked against other ones, by whatever algorithm it is they use to figure this ranking on any given day.
When I first began checking in on Alexa right after we Opened the Diner for Bizness, like most other blogs out there it got a ranking in the MILLIONS. The higher the number, the worse you are doing on Alexa, the number is supposed to tell you how many websites are ahead of you in the Horserace. Not too many readers at this point. Over time it creeped past 1M, but then when I started putting up regular Audio with the RANTS, we took off like a ROCKET! For a while there, it looked like we were bypassing about everybody in the Collapse Blogosphere, like Secretariat on Steroids. At the High Point of this period, we ranked at about 170,000 Globally, and 35,000 in the FSoA on Alexa.
But then SOMETHING HAPPENED!
The Diner Ranking started dropping, and dropping fast! This while at the VERY SAME TIME on Google Analytics (which we added to the Diner Admin Page) was showing an ever increasing number of Page Views and Visitors. WTF?
At least part of the problem comes from the way Alexa generates its stats, which is by the "Nielsen Survey" method. In order to get counted, you have to have an Alexa Toolbar installed on your computer, just like in the old days the only folks who got counted in the Nielsen Ratings had a special Box on top of the TV which recorded what they were watching at any given time.
The other problem is that Alexa can at any time "refigure" the algorithm that computes the popularity of your site, and if it is being over-rated in their opinion, adjust you downward. In fact, we were being seriously over-rated, as I figured it out after conversations with other bloggers on their daily page view numbers. So I stopped considering Alexa as any kind of reasonable metric by which to judge how successful or unsuccessful the Diner was. I decided I would just focus on the page hits recorded by Google analytics, which seemed accurate at the time matched up against other stats I can collect off the Diner Server Host.
Again we seemed to be doing GREAT, constantly on the increase in Page Views and Visits. At the time we had the highest Alexa Ranking, we were at what Google Analytics said was 60,000 page Views/Month. Over the next few months, we worked up to 90,000 at the high point on Google Analytics. All while the Alexa Stats continued to drop. So now I am convinced Google Analytics is the better stats to follow,
But then again, SOMETHING HAPPENED!…
Just as it appeared we were poised to break through the Magic 6 Figure Barrier for Page Views on Google Analytics, over the course of a couple of days our Page Hits dropped nearly in HALF! WTF?
Chats inside the Diner informed me that now Google had done some kind of reconfiguration of their stat collection methodology, which probably has nothing to do with the Diner but which makes it absolutely impossible to know how you are doing this year as opposed to last year, since this year's stats are being collected differently than last years stats were. Based on Google Analytics, I have NO FUCKING CLUE whether the Diner has more readers today than it did in April of 2014, because they are not publishing the data in the same way. I suspect for many reasons we do have more readers/listeners/viewers now than back then, but you sure could not elucidate that by looking at Google Analytics over the time period!
On the Grand Scale much larger than the Diner, what this should tell you is that EVERY stat you ever get published by Da Goobermint through the MSM is thoroughly manipulated and just about impossible to make a real analysis with. They change the way the CPI (Consumer Price Index) is computed all the time. They change the way they count the total number of people Employed all the time. In the case of Da Fed, sometimes they completely DROP counting things like the M3 Money Supply!
Discontinuance of M3
On March 23, 2006, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System will cease publication of the M3 monetary aggregate. The Board will also cease publishing the following components: large-denomination time deposits, repurchase agreements (RPs), and Eurodollars. The Board will continue to publish institutional money market mutual funds as a memorandum item in this release.
Measures of large-denomination time deposits will continue to be published by the Board in the Flow of Funds Accounts (Z.1 release) on a quarterly basis and in the H.8 release on a weekly basis (for commercial banks).
M3 does not appear to convey any additional information about economic activity that is not already embodied in M2 and has not played a role in the monetary policy process for many years. Consequently, the Board judged that the costs of collecting the underlying data and publishing M3 outweigh the benefits.
Now, the only reason I discovered this nonsense WRT to the Diner was because a month ago I signed the Diner up for yet ANOTHER Stat Collection Service, Revolver. Unlike Google, Alexa and even the stats generated by You Tube and Soundcloud for your own site, Revolver Stats come at you in REAL TIME, and this is easily verifiable by any user. Long as you do not try to disguise your IP Addy with a Proxy Server, as you read this article you will see YOUR Blinking Light here in the Widget below, which is collecting the stats for this article in particular, not the general Diner Stats.
Gotta love Java Scripts. LOL.
Of course, this sort of shit freaks a lot of people out who don't understand how the internet really works, and just how EZ it is to track anyone who uses it. This sort of shit is nothing compared to what the NSA can do, fuhggetaboud just pinging users to a 39 sq km radius, they can peg what room in your McMansion you are keyboarding from. You simply CANNOT maintain Anonymity on the Internet unless you are absolutely a First Class Hacker who knows all the tricks, and even then not sure you could pull this off. You would have to encrypt all the data being transferred to and from your laptop to do this. and do it 100% of the time without making any errors or ever getting sloppy. Just one time mistake, everything can be pulled together by a Bot. I personally had ZERO problem fingering our local Troll here on his Identity, and neither did Doomer Support, my friend who handles back end problems for me when I get in the Deep Doo-Doo of Internet Crises. lol. We used entirely different means of working this out, but we both came up with the SAME result, entirely independently. If we can do this, what do you think the NSA can do? If you have your Cell Phone on, they know each and every time you head for the bathroom to take a shit!
OK, off the sub-topics of the real lack of Internet Anonymity and nonsense Statistics coming out of the BLS and Da Fed, and back to the Diner issues, what TRUTH with a Capital T can we ferret out here from ANY of these stats?
Well, because Revolver stats are in Real Time and Soundcloud is pretty close to Real Time, I can match them up to see if they correlate, and they generally do. I also can verify when I myself sign in and view a page on the Diner Blog. On Revolver, my Palmer, AK Diner Dot starts Blinking. I also can see when other Diners check in for a Collapse Meal at the Diner, which further gives me confidence the stat recorder is doing what it's supposed to do. So what has the Diner Blog recorded over the last month in terms of visit data?
45K Visits and 137 Countries in the first 30 days! Not too bad!
Where Have All the Visits Gone?
Now, do I think there is some kind of CONSPIRACY here to keep the Diner Stats surpressed on Google? Well, anything is possible these days so I don't discount it, but I don't think this is the case. What I think is that Google decided to re-figure their algorithm and how they are counting visits, and are now filtering out Bots, Spiders and other Web Creepy Crawly Things that tend to jack up the total number of hits you get.
The Diner Forum for instance (which has its OWN Stats Recorder included in SMF) has recorded around 17 MILLION Page Views since we opened for bizness in 2012. Also EXPONENTIAL doubling for the first 3 years!
Forum History (using forum time offset)
|Yearly Summary||New Topics||New Posts||New Members||Most Online||Page views|
In the first month or two of running the Diner, I was ENTHUSED by these numbers! After more than 3 years now though, do I think those really represent Human Eyeballs? Hell NO!
Most of those hits come from Web Bots and Spiders that crawl through websites and record the pages. Most of them are run by security agencies housed in different countries. Based on observation of the Revolver Stats, the Netherlands is Bot Fucking Central. When a Dutch Hit comes in, 20-30 pages at a time are accessed in under a minute. NOBODY reads that fast, not even me. LOL. English isn't even a native laguage for the Little Dutch Boys, but they read DOOM more often than Kiwis or Aussies? I don't think so. Besides that, the fucking population of the Netherlands is around 17M. The population of Oz is around 23M. There are more Doomers per Capita in Dykeville than in Oz, who ALSO speak English and read it well enough to haunt the Diner for a Collapse Fix? Again, I don't think so.
So, obviously you have to take all these Stats with a few
grains truckoads of Salt when you look at them. At best, you only can see how well things ae going relatively, but even there you get fucked whenever they change the algorithms and filters for the data collection. Last year's stats and this year's stats often were not tabulated the same way. So you can't even really compare against YOURSELF historically, much les anyone else pitching Doom on the Internet.
So is all this Stat nonsense BAD NEWZ for the Diner?
NOT AT ALL!
In fact it's mostly GOOD NEWZ on the Stats Level around here!
First off, while we saw downward revisions due to changes in Stat Collection methods by Google and Alexa, after the revisions we once again show steadily increasing circulation. Second, ALL the Stats from all the sources show that the Diner has a very well distributed circulation around the Globe. There are Diner Dots TM just about EVERYWHERE there is a decent Internet connection! 🙂
Third, the most basic Raw Statistic of all comes from the Diner Server, which collects traffic and bandwidth usage amongst other data. We just saw a real nice BOOST UP there by around 50% over the last few days.
Where did the BOOST come from? Two places in all likelihood.
First off, I have started participating as a Redditor on r/Collapse on the Reddit website. I pitch a selection of storiez on Collapse that Diners link to at Reddit, mostly off our site from other ones but occassionally one of the Original Articles or Podcasts we produce here as well. My Kollapsnik.com Flair goes on every link I make. It's not a HOT LINK, but it keeps Kollapsnik in the mind of the Doomers who read r/Collapse, and a few other boards over there I contribue articles to each day. Kollapsnik.com links to the Diner Forum of course. 🙂
The second reason is because this is the day that Gail Tverberg of Our Finite World and myself did a SIMULCAST of the Podcast we recorded right after she got off the plane from her month long trip to China. This plastered Diner Links on OFW, which gets about 4X the page hits the Diner gets, at least on the days Gail publishes a new article. She's been at this game a good deal longer than me and has an extensive following, so a few of those eyeballs follow the links to the Diner.
It's not EZ to get a Blog out there in front of Readers, there are thousands of them (millions?), and unless you find some means of getting the links up and getting it known, it never will be anything more than a Vanity Press. So I spend just about as much time figuring out ways to promote the Diner as I do to creating original material for it. It has worked pretty well overall, we're not the biggest Collapse Blog out there, but we do play with the Big Boys in the NFL of Collapse now, no longer Pee Wee Fooball here. I get chastized all the time for the non-stop PLUGGING of the Diner I do (of which this post is also guilty of. lol. 😀 ), but I live with this criticism as a part of the game here. It's all well and good to write a personal blog to fill in friends and relatives with your thoughts (although for most people 140 characters on Twitter is more than enough for this), but from my POV if you don't have decent readership, you are just Pissing in the Wind.
Finally, another real good sign of how far the reach of the Diner extends comes from the Stats on Soundcloud, where we store all the Audio we produce. The numbers there continue to climb, and we now are approaching the MAGIC SIX FIGURE BARRIER over there, with currently 98,000 Listens, plus a lot of downloads too!
Hopefully enough of you will head over there and listen to a few tracks and put us over the top this week on the 100K Listen Barrier on Soundcloud. 🙂
I keep my fingers crossed waiting for that one great Post or Rant that GOES VIRAL. Ya never know when this can happen, or what the content needs to be to get it to do so. If anyone did know that, they would be rolling in dough of course. Of course, the way things are going for me these days, I'll probably hit one of those Jackpots and then promptly croak or go quadraplegic and be unable to respond, but that's no reason to quit trying! It ain't OVAH till the Fat Lady Sings!
In any event, for the near future, I will keep watching the Stats and figuring new ways to…wait for it…
RE SUPERSTAR OF DOOM TM