November 30, 2003

Recent Report Readership - Statistical Analysis

I ran some statistical analysis regarding the readership for my recent Google report (Google Bayesian Spam Filtering Problem? - I wanted to know how much audience it had, and where it came from.

So far, 2088 hits total. Not bad for day's work.

A nice person advertised my report in a Slashdot comment. That was 1251 referers, or 60%.

Then no referer source, at 473 (I think this was also mostly Slashdot, not every hit has a referer).

Then my own site ( at 138. This is from the blog, and also I put it on the front page.

Then a few dozen each from a handful of search engine sites, and miscellaneous noise.

I hate to sound like a broken record, but, oh, tell me again about THE MIGHTY POWER OF THE BLOG! Of the great and glorious democracy of cyberspace, where everyone has, err, an equal chance to win the lottery. Let us blow a bouncy bubble of breathless buzz, where all is bright and beautiful, as long as we never actually come down to earth. Blather, bibble, babble ...

Update: Despite being trackback'ed from three blogs, this message has been read by a grand total of around 112 people. Sure, I suppose one of them could be the President, and another could be the Pope. But it's not likely :-(

By Seth Finkelstein | posted in statistics | on November 30, 2003 11:59 PM (Infothought permalink) | Followups
Seth Finkelstein's Infothought blog (Wikipedia, Google, censorware, and an inside view of net-politics) - Syndicate site (subscribe, RSS)

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well I wouldnt see slashdot and your blog as opposed to each other, neither would I say the fact of your blog and slashdot being "unequal" means that one or the other has more power when it comes to terms of democratic influence - that's kinda hard to measure in qualitative terms.
think of both as being of different media types which are supplementary for each other: you had an idea, you blogged about it, and somebody on slashdot read it and referred to it. isn't that exactly how it should be?
i mean, if you had not blogged this, nobody at slashdot would have been able to read it. and as you say, 2088 hits total is not bad for day's work!
so what's the point? you have a blog and you get heard - even if it's just a mere comment at slashdot! isn't that wonderful?! =)
i don't think there is anything "degrading" to it! it would be much worse if you had to make it to the slashdot frontpage in order to get read.

and i am sure many more readers will come through google as time passes by, btw ;-)

Posted by: Moe at December 1, 2003 11:22 AM

"that's kinda hard to measure in qualitative terms"

Let's try. Even if it's not perfect, even if it's flawed, let's attempt to get some sort of handle on this idea, so we can speak about it meaningfully and comparatively.

The first cut is number of readers. And that's what I was discussing above. Over and over, in many context, the disparities are overwhelming, between the big and the small. CyberBlogSpace isn't any different.

Hoping to be noticed by one of the Big Guys, and having that happen sometimes, is begging the question - it's saying you can get power by being favored by those with power. Sure. But that's the same old game.

Posted by: Seth Finkelstein at December 1, 2003 11:32 AM

i wouldnt go that far. correct me if i'm wrong, but commenting on slashdot is open to anyone, right?
furthermore, many comments on slashdot dont offer any content in the positng itself, but post pointers to other sources, like to your weblog for example.
so, if you think slashdot in the absence of weblogs, there would not be that much comments and info around on slashdot.
and if you think weblogs without slashdot, 1251 people less would have read your blog. that's what I mean with "supplementary".

It is correct that you were discussing readership in numbers, and that's why I referred to qualitative measurement instead of quantitative measurement. the latter is pretty straightforward and I agree with you on this. qualitative measurement, however is more in terms of maybe how long somebody reads and actually thinks about your post, or if it will have any effect on her. so if you have *one* weblog reader who intensively discusses your ideas and maybe even incorporates them in her doings, opposed to let's say 1000 readers from slashdot who just fly by and barely pay attention because there is so much other news to be read, then you can't measure in quantitative terms here.

Posted by: Moe at December 1, 2003 12:07 PM

Slashdot commenting is open to anyone, like writing a letter to the editor is open to anyone. There's no legal right to do it. While the editor(s) may be nice and let the reader have a say, they can withdraw (or more often, severely marginalize) that ability at any time or to any person.

Indeed, quantity does not strictly equal quality. But if almost nobody is reading in the first place, quantity, then it's difficult to have quality readers. A large quantity of readers is often valued exactly because it then yields a number of higher-quality readers. It's somewhat "backwards" to speak of high-quality readers having an effect, because those readers are almost never obtained without first having either a position of power in the first place, or as a result of a high quantity of readers.

Posted by: Seth Finkelstein at December 1, 2003 01:01 PM

Seth is right in one point: if he gets noticed with his posting by Doc Searls for example, there is a much better chance, that more qualified users get to his site, just because of the huge traffic Doc produces in the blogosphere.

But even Moe is right when he points out to the one, intensive reader that spreads the message out to the world.

The first way is much faster, but this is necessarily not a default for more quality.

But during this discussion there came another question up (for me):
Is Doc (or Dan, Glenn Raynolds - there are many cadidates, imho) the comin' superpower of blogosphere? How could it get into a real media democracy when there are private superpowers?

Posted by: Weltentummler at December 1, 2003 01:40 PM

There's "democracy" in the sense of

1) Everyone has a theoretically-equal chance at UNEQUAL power
"In America, anyone can grow up to be president"
"Anyone can run for California Governor - and many do"

2) Everyone has a theoretically-equal POWER
"One man, one vote"

People think of meaning #2 - but the reality is often meaning #1, which is very weak, and not new at all. There really are very few places these days which have formal monarchies in power, or outright government dictatorships in the Western industrial world.

Posted by: Seth Finkelstein at December 1, 2003 01:48 PM

ok, it was the way you said: I thought of #2, but the reality is that #1 comes more often real.

But I would never compare blogs with the power of a gouvernment or a big TV station. That would be inadequate, I think.

So, from my point of view, weŽll never get to #2 ... ;-)

Posted by: Weltentummler at December 2, 2003 12:19 PM

I believe much of your following has came from search engine marketing forums and articles.

I intend to include a link to you in todays article :)

Posted by: aaron wall at December 4, 2003 10:47 AM

Oh! Seth. You just need a good marketing plan! ;o)

Posted by: PhilTR at December 6, 2003 01:03 PM

I've often said I need a press agent.
The problem is the money to hire one.

Posted by: Seth Finkelstein at December 6, 2003 07:32 PM