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Online numbers are below the Mendoza line

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Dave Kindred, Jun 7, 2010.

  1. Dave Kindred

    Dave Kindred Member

    Jason Fry, my colleague at the National Sports Journalism Center website, has written a column that stuns me. Through painful personal experience, he learned that the metrics of blogs tell a truth but not the whole truth. In essence, when someone tells you they're getting 10,000 page views a month, they're likely getting 1,500. It's part of the answer to a question I asked for three years during my reporting for a book on The Washington Post. "If there are 8 million readers online," I asked, "how come the average time online is 27 seconds?" Nobody could (or would, maybe) tell me. Jason now has told me. The answer is robots and spiders. Humans stay to read, the machines move on in nanosecnds. For three years, I read everything I could find about the "revolution" from print to online. Not once anywhere did I read what Jason has now told me in this column: http://www.sportsjournalists.com/forum/forums/7/
  2. this-a link, she-a no good
  3. Moderator1

    Moderator1 Moderator Staff Member

    Yeah. That's a link back to here.
  4. JayFarrar

    JayFarrar Well-Known Member

    sportsjournalism.org is down, so I'll have to read that later, I guess.

    assuming the robot spiders don't eat it first.
  5. HejiraHenry

    HejiraHenry Well-Known Member

    There's a larger, somewhat ironic, point to be gleaned here, I'm sure of it.
  6. Dave Kindred

    Dave Kindred Member

    Sorry. The correct link:

  7. cyclingwriter

    cyclingwriter Active Member

    Newspaper exec one: We need more stories to cater to these spiders.
    Newspaper exec two: Maybe something on Web design?
    Newspaper exec three: More reviews of Charlotte's Web?
    Newspaper exec four: Tasty flies?
    Newspaper exec one: Good. Someone call editorial and get this shit on page one. We can't wait for them to fix the problems on their own. Not it.
    Newspaper exec two: Not it
    Newspaper exec three: Not it.
    Newspaper exec four: Ah, shit. I hate talking to those whiny bastards. It's always 'I need more reporters. Carpal tunnel is killing me. My third wife just left." Blah, blah, blah. I'm suffering too. Don't they know I couldn't get my Benz detailed last week while I was in Bermuda.
  8. Piotr Rasputin

    Piotr Rasputin New Member

    Newspaper editor: Hey, I gotta get out of here. maybe the local high school or college is hiring . . .
  9. lantaur

    lantaur Well-Known Member

    Dave, here's the big difference: Jason Fry is talking about blog traffic; a system which, as he notes, did not track views correctly, as it couldn't differentiate between a spider/robot and a person clicking in. Newspaper sites use companies like Omniture, which are quite good at disseminating page views and where viewers are coming from.
  10. Dave Kindred

    Dave Kindred Member

    I'm going to do some work on this subject, not for any purpose other than my own education. Apparenlty, there is a school of thought that insists such companies tell their clients what they want to hear -- numbers in the millions when the real numbers are more like Jason's, a fraction of the claimed numbers.
  11. ColbertNation

    ColbertNation Member

    Sort of off-topic, but still Web-related. GateHouse has recently implemented a new policy called "First in Print," in which each section picks out a story that isn't posted online until 5 p.m. the next day. There is an online refer telling the readers what the FIP stories are and what page they're on.

    Something about this strikes me as counter-productive. There's no way a paper would do this with its strongest stories, since those likely would generate the most Web traffic. What's happening (here, at least) is that the weaker (crappy, if you will) stories that no one really wants to read are the ones labeled as "First in Print".

    This just strikes me as another instance of some execs somewhere in an office who've never seen the inside of a newsroom tossing around random ideas and saying, "yeah, sure, let's try that."
  12. lantaur

    lantaur Well-Known Member

    Just to follow up - Omniture doesn't "tell" anything. You have to put coding into every page which goes up on the web and that's how the stats are figured out. I can go right now and see the most viewed, where people clicked in and exited, how they got to a story, etc. I don't have to do anything other than access Omniture's site and log in. Not sure if that helps clear things up a little bit or just confuses the matter.
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