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Techdirt 2012: The Numbers.

from the it's-that-time-again dept

For the last couple years, we’ve done a post soon after the new year looking at some of “the numbers” from the past year. Here are the reports from 2010 and 2011. With this being another short week, we figured it might make more sense to use the Saturday slot we normally reserve for a community member’s “favorites of the week” to look more closely at 2012 by the numbers. Once again, it was a fantastic year where the community continued to grow nicely. We jumped up to 24.2 million visits, up from 14.7 million the year before — so a big, big jump. Thank you, everyone! We had a huge bump early in the year due to SOPA and a bunch of you (though, not everyone) stuck around.

We had 3,758 posts during the year, which generated 203,476 comments — or an average of about 54 comments per post. That actually represents over 20% of all the comments on the site ever (we’re still just slightly under one million total comments on the site). Yes, so even though we’ve been at this for 15 years, you guys really kept up your end of the discussion this year!

We had visitors from 225 different countries in 2012, which is actually down from the 230 from the two previous years. In both of the past years, we noted a single visitor from Christmas Island, but this year, whoever that was decided not to come back. Oh well! As far as I can tell, beyond various microstates in the Pacific Islands that are too small to count, the countries this year that sent no visitors were basically all central African nations, North Korea (again!) and… Turkmenistan. Uzbekistan sent 286 visitors, Tajikistan sent 59, Kazakhstan sent 1,280 and Iran sent 5,265… but no one from Turkmenistan. Maybe next year.

As in past years, the top countries for visitors were pretty much the same. The US contributed 66% of our visitors. Canada was in second with the UK right behind them. Australia came in fourth. Then there was Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, India, France and New Zealand. The only change from last year is that India ever so slightly crawled ahead of France (by less than 8,000 visits). Last year, China had leapt ahead of Japan, but this year Japan sent nearly twice as much traffic as China. Perhaps we were blocked by the Great Firewall. Last year, South Korea was in third place in Asia, but this year Singapore leapfrogged into that position, ahead of both South Korea and China. Once again Brazil was the top country from South American and South Africa was tops in Africa — same as both of the past two years.

Once again, as was true last year, visitors from Gibraltar stuck around the longest, by far, which is probably an anomaly due to PaulT skewing the results. We should probably toss that out as an outlier. If we go by continent, the numbers are pretty close, but folks from Oceania stick around on the site slightly longer than those from the US and Europe who are tied for second. Oddly, despite staying on the site longer, people from Oceania visit fewer pages per visit. Perhaps they just like to take it slow down under.

If we drop down to the city level, New York dominates, with London coming in second, then Chicago, San Francisco, Toronto and LA. DC actually comes in 10th, after Seattle and Sydney. Of course, given the population differences in those cities, that’s not all that meaningful. If I had more time, I’d try to normalize it per capita, but that seems like a lot of effort for something that would really only interest me.

Lots of you visited the site many times, which we love! Over 8% of our page views came from people who visited the site more than 200 times (or maybe that’s all just from me!). Thank you to the loyal “daily” crew!

In terms of technology, Chrome continued its march to the top. In 2010 it was third, after Firefox and IE. Last year it jumped into second place. This year Chrome took 37% of our visits. Firefox got knocked down to 28%. Safari jumped over IE to take 11% and IE came in fourth at 10%. As in the past, Windows machines still dominated, with Macs in second and Linux behind them. On the mobile side, Android finally beat out iOS, but it’s really close. In terms of mobile devices, though, the iPhone and iPad clearly top the list, way, way, way ahead of any other devices. The top Android phone is a bit of a surprise to me: the SonyEricsson Xperia Arc. Followed up by the Samsung Galaxy Nexus and the Samsung SII. After that there’s the Motorola DroidX. The top HTC phone is the Incredible.

The top three search terms that brought people here… were the identical top three that brought people here in 2011:

  1. techdirt
  2. sopa
  3. tech dirt

Sooner or later, I imagine SOPA is going to fall off that list. Nice to see that ACTA and CISPA both are in the top 10 lists as well.

Our biggest source of traffic, even beating out Google, was Reddit (thank you Redditors!). Part of the antitrust argument against Google was that everyone had to rely on them for traffic, but I think that’s becoming less and less true these days. Next on the referral list was StumbleUpon, followed by Twitter, Facebook and HackerNews (go HackerNews!). Slashdot continues to send less and less traffic, however, which is too bad. Remember the days of “The Slashdot Effect”?

So what were our most popular stories this year? The full list is below, but one bit that struck me as interesting (and awesome) was that none of the top four most popular stories are by me. Hopefully we’re finally past the point where people insist that Techdirt is all “Mike Masnick” by now, even if some commenters still assume that every post is written by me. My most trafficked post doesn’t show up until the fifth spot. The most popular post will probably surprise some folks. It’s Tim Cushing’s post about the Razer mouse (which he recently posted an update about). That story really went viral in a crazy way. The next two posts are by Leigh, and the fourth post is by Glyn. It’s been really fun to have such great writers on the site these days, and it’s great to see that our community likes them too. Maybe I should take the hint and write less.

Top Ten Stories, by Unique Pageviews, on Techdirt for 2012:

  1. When A Mouse Requires An Internet Connection, You’re Doing ‘Cloud’ Wrong
  2. HBO Decides It Still Isn’t Difficult Enough To Watch HBO Shows
  3. Insanity: CISPA Just Got Way Worse, And Then Passed On Rushed Vote
  4. Psy Makes $8.1 Million By Ignoring Copyright Infringements Of Gangnam Style
  5. MPAA Directly & Publicly Threatens Politicians Who Aren’t Corrupt Enough To Stay Bought
  6. Draconian Downloading Law In Japan Goes Into Effect… Music Sales Drop
  7. Feds Wait Until Late Friday To Admit That, Yeah, They Ignored The 4th Amendment
  8. The DVD Is Dying. Hollywood’s Plan? Do Nothing And Cede Ground To File Sharing
  9. SimCity Developers’ Reddit AMA Swiftly Turns Into WTF With The Online-Only DRM?
  10. FBI & DEA Warn That IPv6 May Be Too Damn Anonymous

Below is the list of the top 10 stories based on comment volume. Last year there were two stories that made both the top lists by pageviews and by comments… and this year, it’s just one. We say it all the time, but it’s a good reminder: the number of comments on a post quite frequently does not correlate well with traffic. Oh yeah, once again, the top two stories aren’t written by me either. Neat. Somewhat surprising to see that one of our “funniest/most insightful” posts made the list (and actually came in second), but I did notice that some of those posts turned into very long comment threads this year.

2012’s Top Ten Stories, by comment volume

  1. Asking Fans For Support Isn’t Begging, It’s Solidifying Our Relationship (514 comments)
  2. Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt (For September 2 – 8) (499 comments)
  3. That Was Fast: Hollywood Already Browbeat The Republicans Into Retracting Report On Copyright Reform (449 comments)
  4. Guess What? Copying Still Isn’t Stealing (417 comments)
  5. The Difference Between Nuanced Discussion And The Evil Underbelly Of The Internet Is Apparently A Fine Line Indeed (404 comments)
  6. Insanity: CISPA Just Got Way Worse, And Then Passed On Rushed Vote (395 comments)
  7. US Government ‘Suspends’ JotForm.com Over User Generated Forms; Censorship Regime Expands (373 comments)
  8. Legit Ebook Lending Site Taken Down By An Angry Twitmob Of Writers [UPDATED] (373 comments)
  9. Congress Begins To Wonder Why ICE & DOJ Censored A Popular Hip Hop Blog For A Year (356 comments)
  10. Some Facts & Insights Into The Whole Discussion Of ‘Ethics’ And Music Business Models (352 comments)

On the list of top commenters by volume, there are definitely some familiar names, but some new ones as well. The top commenter, John Fenderson has been on the site for a while, but really leapfrogged everyone to get to the top spot. Same with the number two commenter, Ninja. Neither of them were on either of the top 10 lists from the previous two years. Nice work! Both of them jumped over last year’s winner, The eejit who came in third this year. Also, in past years, we deliberately pulled me off the list, but in talking it over, some have argued that’s inaccurate. So we left me (and other Techdirt folks) on the various lists this year. Also, obviously we get a ton of anonymous comments — and I would guess that some of the “regular” anonymous commenters would end up on this list as well, though there’s no way to count them. Think of all the glory you’re missing out on by staying anonymous…

2012’s Top Commenters, by comment volume

  1. John Fenderson: 2448 comments
  2. Ninja: 2312 comments
  3. The eejit: 2238 comments
  4. That Anonymous Coward: 2205 comments
  5. PaulT: 2091 comments
  6. Wally: 1612 comments
  7. Mike Masnick: 1314 comments (apparently, I slacked in 2012)
  8. Richard: 1283 comments
  9. Rikuo: 1252 comments
  10. Leigh Beadon: 1237 comments.

For the funniest and most insightful comments for the year, we’ve decided to use a different methodology this year. Last year, we displayed the top ones by cumulative vote scores, just adding up all the votes people had received during the year. This year, instead, we’re showing the top 10 “most insightful” and “funniest” by showing how many times their comments tripped the threshold to get the little funny or insisghtful icons to show up. This seems like a better measure of consistency, rather than a few commenters who may have received a ton of votes on fewer comments. Also, because it seemed interesting, we’re showing the percentage of that user’s comments that reach the threshold. Regulars here who are familiar with Karl will not find it surprising to see that he (by a wide margin!) tops that list with 22.1% of his comments hitting the insightful threshold (and, amazingly, he always seems to do this while showing up pretty late in threads, which generally makes it more difficult to get the necessary votes).

Top 10 Most Insightful Commenters, based on how many times they got the lightbulb icon:

  1. PaulT: 189 comments (9.0%)
  2. Leigh Beadon: 175 comments (14.1%)
  3. Karl: 171 comments (22.1%)
  4. John Fenderson: 124 comments (5.1%)
  5. That Anonymous Coward: 116 comments (5.2%)
  6. Mike Masnick: 112 comments (8.5%)
  7. E. Zachary Knight: 109 comments (14.6%)
  8. Richard: 103 comments (8.0%)
  9. Josh in CharlotteNC: 94 comments (13.5%)
  10. Rikuo: 91 comments (7.3%)

Top 10 Funniest Commenters, based on how many times they got the LOL icon:

  1. Leigh Beadon: 86 comments (7.0%)
  2. Dark Helmet: 82 comments (15.9%)
  3. :Lobo Santo: 77 comments (6.6%)
  4. Capitalist Lion Tamer: 48 comments (16.9%)
  5. Gwiz: 34 comments (3.3%)
  6. Chosen Reject: 33 comments (6.2%)
  7. DannyB: 31 comments (4.1%)
  8. The Groove Tiger: 29 comments (4.7%)
  9. Torg: 28 comments (4.6%)
  10. Ninja: 27 comments (1.2%)

Leigh is the only person who made both the funny and insightful lists this year (he did that last year too). Shouldn’t be a surprise, then, that we hired him to work here full time in 2012 (which has actually meant he’s probably had less time to comment!).

Either way, thank you once again for an awesome 2012, and we look forward to seeing what happens in 2013!

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Comments on “Techdirt 2012: The Numbers.”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Thank you Techdirt, for being such an awesome website in the fight against government and corporate corruption. There is still a very long ways to go but at least we’ve gone a long ways in stopping SOPA and making people more aware about other corporate bought bills.

The first step to solving a problem is admitting that there is a problem, being aware of that problem, and Techdirt has done a great job in this arena which has contributed towards reducing the scope of the problem.

GeorgeQGreg (profile) says:

Threading gone too far

Out of curiosity, I had a look and found the most threaded comment (of all time?) on number 2. Here it is. http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20120908/13441520319/funniestmost-insightful-comments-week-techdirt.shtml?threaded=true#c6289

It’s so deep that it really messes up the formatting. That reply war might not have been such a good idea!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Threading gone too far

That particular thread was started by none other than troll prone AJ. He doesn’t always drop into troll mode, but that particular week, he polluted the comments of many of the articles with his incessant desire to turn every discussion into a moral debate about piracy.

Speaking of formatting, it was worse that week. This was before Mike (or someone, whomever, thanks!) put in revisions to the site to improve the deeply commented threads and make them easier to read. But yeah, that thread is so deeply commented that the formatting improvements still don’t have much impact after a certain point.

Capitalist Lion Tamer (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

No. That would be me. Someone who clearly has too much time on his hands, so much so that he has launched without introduction into a long-winded but pointless anecdote involving one of his ancestors and a long-forgotten war. Not only is none of the following true, but it adds nothing to the value of the comment thread, much like the comment preceding it. (Also, if you pay attention to the dates involved, there’s no way I could have heard this anecdote firsthand, but hooray for artistic license and all that…)

My great-great-grandfather, Artemis Valiant Tanager, was a veteran of the Spanish-American War. Keeping with the family tradition (which he had just started that afternoon), he would often sit down on quiet nights and regale us with horrendous tales of his proud service of his country (mostly the United States).

He?d dim the lights, often inadvertently, before beginning his story. As an ?attention-grabber,? he would sometimes accompany the dimmed lights with a lusty yell and a few muzzle-loaded shots, usually aimed high and wide, thanks to his delirium tremors and failing eyesight.

We?d gather around his feet, our little hearts racing and our little hands surreptitiously checking ourselves for bullet wounds, and sit in rapt, near-catatonic attention as he began:

?We were encamped for a few weeks, nestled deep within the lovely rolling hills on the outskirts of southern Manila. Unfortunately, many of us were too dead, too wounded or too scared to enjoy what was left of the scenery and most of these autumnal memories have only returned via gunfire-triggered flashbacks or years of regression therapy.

The Filipinos were somewhat ill at ease as well, what with their country being used as a war-ridden playground for a battle between Spain and America. We indicated through a series of inept hand gestures that their invitations to play ‘host’ for this war must have been lost in the mail, a common occurrence with drunken Pony Express riders and their none-too-sober mounts.

In fact, their invitations had been lost, having been bundled with several thousand care packages on a steamer traveling out of Cleveland, OH. It had followed a circuitous route through the Great Lakes before emerging in the Atlantic and heading for the Philippines. Unfortunately, a calculated attempt to ‘stir things up’ saw the ship run full-bore onto the nearest Filipino beach, launching itself over a scrub-covered mound and unceremoniously drop its entire load directly between the two peaks that book-ended Manila. Obviously it was a huge mess and those at the receiving end were none too pleased.

Anyway, the men and I had received our orders earlier that day via the Filipino version of the Passenger Pigeon: the Palm Civet Cat. The small packet of top-secret information and lifetime supply of cyanide pills was carefully inserted by highly trained couriers into the lower intestine of the cat.

Though known for their ill-tempered clawing and unrestrained bowel movements, they actually could become quite tame given the proper training, although the constant stench was somewhat of an annoyance.

Someone had discovered, most likely due to boredom or being hopped up on the local fortified mango wine, that the beans found in their heaping piles of feces could be used to brew a rather strong cup of joe. Of course, ‘joe’ had not yet become widely used slang for coffee, but instead referred to the eye-wateringly powerful beverage made from a mixture of civet cat feces and the 90-proof mango wine.

We lost a few men to what we now know as ‘e coli’ and a few more to the heart-stopping power of the wine?s most active ingredient: polypropylene glycol. While its many uses around the world render it safe to consume in small quantities, a weeklong-bender?s worth would usually turn a healthy man?s blood into something between high-pressure plastic and memory foam. Shortly thereafter, it would turn their minds into a mush we referred to as ‘Mango Madness.’ Those under the spell of ‘MM’ often rushed headlong into the nearest body of water before emerging briefly to futilely attempt to set themselves on fire.

Anyway, the messages would be retrieved from the civet cat droppings along with the precious coffee beans and assorted roughage. After a quick cup of joe and a scan of the illegible map, we were ready to storm whatever the hell it was that to the very blurred north of us.

Long story short, within 24 hours we had reclaimed the capital from the peaceable but proud Manilans and were celebrating with a spiked cup of deadly mango-joe. We sold our coffee secret to Juan Valdez Sr. who promised to take it to his grave as soon as he made a quick fortune.

The rest of us adopted a fair amount of the tamer civet cats as pets, taking them home with us to become coffee makers, guardcats and handy shipping containers for various illegal products and substances.”

Karl (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Unfortunately, a calculated attempt to ‘stir things up’ saw the ship run full-bore onto the nearest Filipino beach, launching itself over a scrub-covered mound and unceremoniously drop its entire load directly between the two peaks that book-ended Manila. Obviously it was a huge mess and those at the receiving end were none too pleased.

This sounds exactly like my last date.

Wally (profile) says:

I must say that I have a lot to say. In the 6 months’ activity that I have enjoyed in this community, I’m proud to have finally made some sort of “Most” listing on this site. Now to toot my horn a bit, I compiled my +1,600 comments in a span of just 6 months, while the people ahead of me took a year to do it πŸ™‚ But I digress πŸ™‚

Folks it has been a wonderful 6 or months or so and I thank the entire community, staff, and writers for a wonderful experience. I look forward to more activity in this community.

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

They like me they really really like me...

or just have given up and been forced to accept I’m a fixture now.

2205 comments… at least 5 had NOTHING to do with copyright or copyright trolls.

It is nice to be in such good company on these lists, but it shows my humor is sometimes lost on people…

I’ll try to do better this year, but I think I’ve been doing a very good job of redeeming “That Anonymous Coward” from an epithet to something much more.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re:

“how about hiring someone who disagrees with you to write COUNTER articles? i’d enjoy that even better.”

Me too. Sadly, most people who are pro-copyright tend to either have a vested interest in lying about both facts and the people they’re addressing, or reject opposing viewpoints with crap about “kool aid” and the like. It’s rare that I read such comments here without name calling and misrepresentations of the truth at their core, let alone one where the author is willing to put their name to it.

You find someone who’s willing to write alternative articles in an adult manner, without needing to lie or attack in order to get their point across, and I’m sure he’d be welcome to write for TD. Do you know of such a person?

Ninja (profile) says:

I enjoy reading techdirt and contributing to this community. All of you, including TD writers, are amazing. Yes we do have trolls but they are part of the community and some of the most insightful replies I’ve seen come from replies to their clueless comments so I’d guess they are amazing too, indirectly hahahaha

I figured I’d be somewhere near the top commenters but making it into the top 10 funny commenters was a surprise. I hope I can contribute in a more insightful way next year ;D

In any case, may 2013 be even better than 2012! Cheers and a great year to everybody!

PaulT (profile) says:

“visitors from Gibraltar stuck around the longest, by far, which is probably an anomaly due to PaulT skewing the results”

Guilty as charged, I fear, as I tend to keep a tab open all day while I’m at work and there’s probably not a lot of other readers to bring down the average.

Oh, and thanks everyone for the insightful votes. I’ll try to keep my commenting as interesting in 2013!

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