Techdirt 2010: The Numbers.

from the happy-new-year dept

2010 was a great year for Techdirt. We thought we’d share some stats about 2010 with all of you (and yes, we’re a little late on this but we finally got around to pulling together the numbers).

We posted 3,798 stories, generating 152,683 comments. According to Google Analytics, Techdirt had 11,490,135 visits in 2010. So, if Techdirt were a National Park (and you readers were visiting us in real life), we’d be the #3 most popular park in the country, just behind the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Or if we were a museum, we’d be well ahead of the top ranked Louvre, who only did a paltry 8.5 million visits last year. Yes, I know those are unfair comparisons but it’s still a fun way to view things in perspective. Of course, if any of you really do want to visit us in real life, we’d love to have you.

Separately, the traffic numbers represented continued growth over the course of the year. If we’re just looking at our December numbers, traffic in December of 2010 was 62% higher than in December 2009, and that was after continued growth throughout the year. So, it looks like we ended the year with a lot more folks here in the community than we started with, which is always a nice thing.

While certainly a large part of our traffic is US-based, the community here really is quite global with visitors coming from an astounding 230 different countries or territories (and yes, we did recently have a discussion about how there were fewer countries than that in the world, but Google Analytics counts “territories” too — so a big shout out to you, the one visitor from Christmas Island).

Not surprisingly, the top four countries were all English speaking countries (US, Canada, UK and Australia) but Germany clocked in at number 5, followed by the Netherlands, India, France, Sweden and Spain. After India, Japan was the leading Asian country, which narrowly beat out China. Brazil was the leading South American country, topping Argentina by a decent margin. In Africa, not too surprisingly, South Africa was tops with Egypt coming in second. Of course, it looks like we did not get visits from every country in the world. Among those with no visitors at all were North Korea, Western Sahara & Chad. Pretty much every other country I checked had at least one visitor, though there may be some tiny Pacific Islands that I’m unaware of that didn’t send any visitors and which I can’t easily spot on the map.

Within the US, just looking at states, our top visitors were from California and then New York (with Texas close behind). The state that sent the least number of visitors? Wyoming. Not like anyone lives there anyway (kidding Wyomans, kidding). If we look at the top cities worldwide, New York dominated in terms of visitors, with a surprise second place finish from London, beating out all other US cities (perhaps less surprising taking into account population totals). San Francisco, LA and Chicago round out the top five. DC comes in at number seven. Sydney, Australia is the second non-US city and number 9 on the overall list.

Most of you still use Windows, followed by Mac and Linux pulling up in third place. iPhone visitors topped Android visitors (2:1) but I would bet that’s going to change over the next year. Firefox was the most popular browser. Internet Explorer (?!?) eked out a tiny victory over Chrome, though I can’t imagine that staying true much longer.

In any case, thanks to everyone for making Techdirt the thriving community that it is. Here’s to a great 2011.

Top Ten Stories, by Unique Pageviews, on Techdirt for 2010:

  1. Best Buy Firing Employee Because He Makes A Funny Video That Doesn’t Even Mention Best Buy – July 2nd
  2. The 19 Senators Who Voted To Censor The Internet – November 18th
  3. ‘Hollywood Accounting’ Losing In The Courts – July 8th
  4. Facebook Threatens Greasemonkey Script Writer – March 25th
  5. Why Congress Isn’t So Concerned With TSA Nude Scans & Gropes: They Get To Skip Them – November 18th
  6. Guy Building A Working (Yes, Working) Computer Inside A Video Game – September 29th
  7. RIAA Accounting: Why Even Major Label Musicians Rarely Make Money From Album Sales – July 13th
  8. Why The Wikileaks Document Release Is Key To A Functioning Democracy – December 1st
  9. Sony Deletes Feature On PS3’s; You Don’t Own What You Thought You Bought – March 31st
  10. More Casinos Succeeding With The ‘That Jackpot You Won Was Really A Computer Glitch’ Claim – June 7th

2010’s Top Posts, by Comment Volume:

  1. UK Hairdresser Fined For Playing Music Even Though He Tried To Be Legal – 599 comments
  2. Defining Success: Were The RIAA’s Lawsuits A Success Or Not? – 417 comments
  3. The 19 Senators Who Voted To Censor The Internet – 401 comments
  4. Four Years In, How Successful Has Hollywood’s Attack On The Pirate Bay Been – 376 comments
  5. Can Someone Explain Why Circumvention For Non-Infringing Purposes Is Illegal? – 364 comments
  6. Is Intellectual Property Itself Unethical? – 337 comments
  7. Why Debates Over Copyright Get Bogged Down: Conflating Use With Payment – 315 comments
  8. Give A Man A Fish… And Make It Illegal To Teach Fishing – 302 comments
  9. Why Voting For COICA Is A Vote For Censorship – 300 comments
  10. Composer Jason Robert Brown Still Standing By His Position That Kids Sharing His Music Are Immoral – 292 comments

It seems worth pointing out that there was almost no overlap between the stories that were most visited and those that had the most comments (only one story makes both lists). This is actually pretty common. Many people assume that more comments automatically means the most popular stories in terms of traffic, but that’s almost never the case. Traffic and comments do not correlate nearly as much as you would expect. Some of the stories with the most comments often involve a very small number of people continuing to have a (often quite interesting!) discussion long after everyone else has moved on…

2010’s Top Users, By Comment Volume*:

  1. Dark Helmet -2,278 comments
  2. Hephaestus – 2,277 comments
  3. nasch – 1,597 comments
  4. Richard – 1,539 comments
  5. Technopolitical – 1,265 comments
  6. Karl – 1,249 comments
  7. average_joe – 1,156 comments
  8. Rose M. Welch – 993 comments
  9. PaulT – 982 comments
  10. ChurchHatesTucker – 918 comments

*Mike had 2,964 comments so he’s technically the top commenter, but I’m not counting him here.

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Comments on “Techdirt 2010: The Numbers.”

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84 Comments
Dark Helmet (profile) says:

Re: Re: Winner!

“Sheesh! Both of you – get a real job, would ya?!”

I have two jobs, actually, and a hobby that requires a great deal of time and energy as I’m trying to turn it into a profession. Fortunately, all three involve me sitting in front of a computer for long periods of time and I have a very cool boss that realizes that working his employees like a slave makes for a bad workforce….

Anonymous Coward says:

However, if you get away from a couple of pointed topics (wikileaks, which lead a huge short term run up), things wouldn’t be quite as rosy.

You may also want to show your bounce rate. I suspect a lot of people are sucked into a single page and then back away. According to Alexa:

“The percentage of visits to techdirt.com that consist of a single pageview:”

80%

Average page views of 1.4

Site ain’t exactly engaging people, just catching drive by people searching for other stuff.

It seems impressive until you realize how many people you didn’t engage (about 9 million of your 11 million or so visitor).

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Sorry, I will correct this. The biggest traffic period was the old “TSA groping your junk” freak out. TD traffic was up about 5 times normal for a very short period of time. Outside of a few major freakout times, TD actually appears to be somewhat on the decline. The site also loses much of it’s traffic over the weekends because TD can’t seem to figure out how to make posts appear on the weekends.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

ACtually, increases early in the year, and sort of fades down as the year continues. Outside of the TSA bump, things are actually on a slow decline now. The peak day (tuesday or wednesday) is not offset by how low the weekends are. TD would likely have much more traffic and many more daily visitors if they didn’t didn’t ignore 28% of the week.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

ACtually, increases early in the year, and sort of fades down as the year continues. Outside of the TSA bump, things are actually on a slow decline now.

None of this is true. We increased almost every month. There was a spike in July, so the following two months were a little lower, but other than that each month was higher than the last.

Contrary to your theory, there was no “TSA bump.” This should be kind of obvious from the fact that out of the top 10 traffic stories, only one was about the TSA.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Re:

Perhaps you want to look at:

http://www.techdirt.com/search.php?q=tsa&tid=&aid=&start=30&searchin=stories

It isn’t a question of a single story. It is a question of a group of stories over a very short period of time.

Then look at:

http://www.quantcast.com/techdirt.com

Pretty clear that right in mid November, there is a sudden peak. As that story has died away (even as you try to re-pump it every couple of days), traffic has died back down. Basically, you start out 2011 with about the same traffic you started 2010 with (open it out to a year to see, the “week” setting gives a pretty clear indication.

One of the great things about Quantcast is that it is using code you put on your pages, which means it is pretty accurate. You might want to consider putting that stuff private before you make your next big stats claim ๐Ÿ™‚

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:7 Re:

A friendly suggestion. When arguing with someone about data, perhaps do not claim to know more than the person who has the actual data when you do not. You will only look foolish.

It isn’t a question of a single story. It is a question of a group of stories over a very short period of time.

And yet, if you were correct that that drove traffic then (1) you would see more such stories in those top stories, but you don’t and (2) after the TSA stories died down in December, you would see a decrease in traffic — but we did not. Contrary to your claims, December had more traffic than November.

Pretty clear that right in mid November, there is a sudden peak. As that story has died away (even as you try to re-pump it every couple of days), traffic has died back down. Basically, you start out 2011 with about the same traffic you started 2010 with (open it out to a year to see, the “week” setting gives a pretty clear indication.

You are relying on data that is presented in a way that is not clearly readable, such that you are making a number of false assumptions. There was one day in November which had a large spike in traffic (not, mind you, for a TSA story), and that distorts the graph due to the scale of the graph.

As stated above, your assumption that traffic died down after that peak is incorrect. December was significantly larger than November and that’s EVEN THOUGH the last two weeks of December are traditionally down times, due to the holidays, as they were again this year.

Finally, again, you amusingly cannot see the details on Quantcast due to the scale, but I can look directly at our actual log file data, and tell you that January of this year is up significantly from January of last year, despite your claims to the contrary.

One of the great things about Quantcast is that it is using code you put on your pages, which means it is pretty accurate. You might want to consider putting that stuff private before you make your next big stats claim ๐Ÿ™‚

One of the better things about having the actual log files is that it’s even more accurate, and does not rely on oddly scaled drawings that might confuse those who do not understand the data.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Let me add this: With 80% of the users being drive-by visitors, the remaining 20% average 3 pages each. For a site with 20 or so posts on the front page, it is sort of shocking that so few people actually appear to go any deeper. Even with all the self-links and inside links on the site, even people who do do more than drive by don’t appear to be very engaged. Based on what I see here in comments, the “hardcore fans” (and hardcore dissenters) represent maybe a few hundred people. Everything else is just in passing, mostly people who appear to have been mislead by search terms, or linked from other sites for reference only. They don’t stay, and those that do stay don’t do much.

Dark Helmet (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Nicely done. You just built rounded statistics based on presumptive terms formed from definitions of phrases that have not been agreed upon (drive by visitors) to pull a rather inconsequential number from nowhere that seems to do nothing but attempt to squash the plain fact: Techdirt, an already rather prominent site relatively speaking, experienced significant traffic growth.

I don’t know who you are, but you should consider a career in politics….

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

Actually, “drive by visitors” is a widely used term when describing internet traffic. You look at things like the bounce rate (people who view a single page only before leaving) and you look at the time on site (average of 2.3 minutes or so for TD, remarkably low).

For comparison, CNN.COM, a news site, has a bounce rate of only 40%, and a time on site nearing 6 minutes (from the same source). Even the Drudgereport, which is all but 100% links off the site, has a lower bounce rate.

With an 80% bounce rate, people have one look at the page and leave. That is never a good thing, it would indicate that they were brought there by accident, by blind link, or perhaps by misleading search engine results. Considering that TD places high for things like “the pirate bay” and other related topics, it shouldn’t be a shock that the bounce rate is so high.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

Unless tracking is done on the RSS page, it is unlikely that RSS pulls with change the count much.

If it does, then the numbers are even worse, because that coiuld just be automated bots reading stuff that is never seen. So that 11 million could be 100 of us actually using the site, and the rest bots pulling pages and being ignored.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

Techdirt has a huge number of RSS readers (still their number one source of traffic) and RSS pulls multiple articles in a single “pageview”. RSS-heavy sites always have higher natural bounce rates.

Yeah, we had discussed whether or not it was worth including that. A large percentage of our readership never visits the actual site, and just reads it in RSS. Those numbers don’t count in the total number of visitors at all, but significantly increase the number of people who actually read what we write.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

I think you haven’t realized: much of the “audience” is here for people like me, not just for the original posts. TD knows that. When Darryl is more active, the site is busier. When there are no nay-sayers in the crowd, activity drops. TD knows this as well.

Think about it. Without people like me, this would have been a “wow, TD is great thread” with maybe a couple of dozen comments. Instead, I create a CWF moment, which keeps all you guys coming back.

TD knows.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

I think you haven’t realized: much of the “audience” is here for people like me, not just for the original posts. TD knows that. When Darryl is more active, the site is busier. When there are no nay-sayers in the crowd, activity drops. TD knows this as well.

Also not true. As noted in this very post, comments is rarely a good indicator of actual traffic.

Nice theory, but factually incorrect.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

There is no pissing in anyones cheerios, just making the numbers make sense. TD presented numbers in a manner that makes the site look way more popular than it really is. The reality is a core of a few thousand people a day, not much more. That is still very good, but not stunningly amazing.

If you want to play the visit game, drudge gets more visits in a day than TD gets in almost the last two years. Scale is really important.

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