Is The Slashdot Effect Going Away?

from the or-does-anyone-care? dept

In an article that was clearly designed to test its own theories out by getting linked from Slashdot, BusinessWeek Online is asking if the Slashdot Effect is fading? The evidence certainly suggests so. Many sites claim that the impact of getting linked from Slashdot is no longer what it used to be. There are fewer visitors and they seem to come only for an hour or two after the post. Our own experience here at Techdirt shows a similar result. Getting linked from Slashdot these days doesn’t seem to have the same kind of kick it used to. However, the reasoning in the Business Week article doesn’t make that much sense. Basically, the reporter suggests that because Slashdot links to a wider variety of sites, fewer people are clicking through to them. This doesn’t seem to follow logically. Why should the number of sites that Slashdot links to impact how many people click through? You could argue that if Slashdot was posting more stories, people would pick and choose more carefully which to click through — but that has nothing to do with the diversity in sources. There can be many more reasons for the dampening of the Slashdot effect. For many sites, including Techdirt, our own traffic has grown tremendously as well — so if Slashdot hasn’t grown at the same rate (even if they outpace us greatly in absolute numbers), then the impact in percentage terms is obviously going to be less. Also, it may just show how people use Slashdot differently these days then they used to (more for discussion, rather than link discovery).

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Comments on “Is The Slashdot Effect Going Away?”

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Tim (user link) says:


What about the number/proportion of active users on slashdot, has that changed over time? Ie not just looking within slashdot itself, consider how many people prefer to get their news from elsewhere: the idea of a techie news portal is no longer new, slash code and variations on themes thereof are taking off to dilute the user-base at source as well.

Daranthalis says:

Tongue firmly in cheek...

Duplicated articles on slashdot are the key to the decline of the slashdot effect. With each duplication, you divide the number of people linking to an article and therefore reduce the overall effect. Eventually, slashdot will produce so many duplications that it only links to about ten sites over and over again and no one will visit them at all.

Mattb says:

Not clicking on links

I know for me, sometimes I hesitate to click on links via Slashdot because of the Slashdot effect. I get so used to clicking on a link and being taking there instantly, that if the site is slow to load, I’ll just quit trying and do something else. Sometimes if I am really interested in the info at the link, I’ll read through the Slashdot comments and find either the Google cache link or some type of mirror site, like Mirrordot.

Also, so many postings are from the same sites, that I have now added those sites to my bookmarks/favorites and read those instead of Slashdot.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: No Subject Given

Exactly my impression as well. I’ve noticed that over the last year or so there are fewer and fewer stories mentioned on slashdot that I haven’t already seen on other blogs. Also, these other blogs tend to be more specialized or perhaps more “labors of love”, so the quality and depth of coverage is better.

jeep (user link) says:

great site that is hard on the eyes.

your stories are better written.. there are more sites in the space from slashdot.. Slashdot was the original, but there are many many sites now vying for attention that are in the same vein.

Of course.. your site is STILL butt ass ugly , which you simply refuse to do anything about.
You’d have so much more traffic if you just fixed a few things. I have been posting about how ugly your site is for years.

Use some of that money from The Feature and take care of that bucko!

a fan.

Mark Rasmussen says:

Business week Online

I quit clicking from slashdot to business week online due to it crashing earlier beta versions of firefox (and firebird, and phoenix) with all their trash javascript myself. That and their pages are so slow due to all the bloat – view the source, they have more javascript in there and for what? It is ridiculous. Apparently they are not worried about server bandwidth.

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