Techdirt 2014: The Numbers.

from the counting-it-up dept

2014 is over, and as we’ve done every year for the past few years, we’ll try to round up some of “the numbers” about that year (and yes, this is our only post today — we’ll be back on Monday with regular posting). If you’d like to look back, we’ve got the posts from 2013, 2012, 2011 and 2010.

We had visitors from 240 countries this year, with (as per usual) the US holding steady at almost exactly two-thirds of all traffic (actually 66.95%). This was followed by the UK, Canada and Australia. Germany rounds out the top five with India, the Netherlands, France, Sweden and New Zealand making the top 10. The only major change here was India jumping up a few slots and Sweden dropping a few. After India, our top traffic from Asia comes from… the Philippines — which is a bit of a surprise. Singapore, Turkey (and yes, I know some people debate whether Turkey is part of Asia) and Japan round out the top five Asian countries for traffic. China doesn’t even make the top 10 (it’s 11th), though we frequently hear that the site is blocked there.

The top five countries in Europe all made the top 10 list above, but in case you’re wondering, the next five are Spain, Ireland, Finland, Italy and Norway — all of which sent a healthy amount of traffic. If we combine all of the Americas after the US and Canada, the most traffic comes from Brazil, Mexico and Argentina. In Africa, again the top country is South Africa, but we still get a decent number of visitors from Nigeria, Kenya and Egypt as well.

Last year we noted that the only two countries on the map (leaving out tiny islands and such) that we could see where we got no traffic was Chad and Western Sahara. This year, however, we appear to have had 30 visits from Chad. Western Sahara, however, remains a dark zone. For years, we joked about no visits from North Korea, so last year we were amazed that we got two whole visits from that country. This year… it doubled to four, but I’m assuming at least two of those were the supposed Sony Hackers, right? And, in what’s become an annual tradition, we have a single visit from Christmas Island.

Also, a yearly tradition: visitors from Gibraltar stick around the longest — something that PaulT takes credit for each year (rightfully so). If we limit it to countries where we have a significant number of visitors, folks from Australia, Switzerland and New Zealand seemed to stick around the longest, so thanks for that! In terms of the number of pages per visit, Gibraltar, Bangladesh and… Congo top the list, but based on fairly small numbers of visits. If we look at countries with significant visits, India, the Philippines and Switzerland top that list.

I always enjoy digging down into the city numbers as well. The top spots remain pretty much unchanged: New York City, London, LA and Chicago. Toronto fell out of the fourth slot down to sixth, with San Francisco moving up. Seattle, Sydney, Houston and Melbourne rounded out the top 10 with Washington DC coming in 11th. As always, it’s interesting to see this data, but given the differences in population size, perhaps it’s not always that meaningful.

As always, it’s interesting to see how some of you are visiting the site. Remember when Microsoft was going to dominate the world with Internet Explorer? Almost half of all visits these days come from Chrome. Firefox is second and Safari is third. Internet Explorer is fourth, though still with a fair bit of usage (who are you people?). Approximately 36% of our traffic is mobile these days — jumping up from 29% last year. Most of that is from phones, but plenty of tablet users as well. As per usual, the iPhone and the iPad absolutely dominate the device side, but if we just look at browser OS, Android is almost neck and neck with iOS. Android represented 44% of mobile visits, with iOS at 51%. Windows was a little under 4%, Blackberry about half a percent, and you Nokia loyalists with a combination of Series40, SymbianOS and others make up the remaining tiny percentages. Outside of Apple, mobile visitors came most on Samsung devices and then LG, but coming from a wide variety of devices from those companies.

Given how many of you are from the US, and how the US broadband market works here, it’s no surprise that the biggest ISPs for traffic are Comcast, followed by Time Warner (if they merge the numbers from the two would be massive). Verizon and AT&T make up the next two.

As for how people come here, it seems like we have a pretty balanced split. We’ve never focused on doing things like “gaming” search with search engine optimization, or going for social with clickbait, and so we don’t end up relying too much on anything.

In terms of where people came from — once again Reddit was a major source of traffic. On the “social media” side, this was followed by Facebook and Twitter, with Stumbleupon far behind them. Google+ sent a few (but not very many). From the non-“social” side, we got our most traffic from Instapundit, Boing Boing, Daily Rotation, Popehat and Slashdot. On the search side, the only really noticeable search term that drove significant traffic (outside of people searching for “techdirt” “tech dirt” and variations of that) was… “Walter O’Brien.” And yes, our Walter O’Brien stories continue to get a fair number of visits and comments as people discover that his public story is mostly made up.

Okay, onto some lists:

Top Ten Stories, by unique pageviews, on Techdirt for 2014:

  1. No, A ‘Supercomputer’ Did NOT Pass The Turing Test For The First Time And Everyone Should Know Better
  2. Keurig Will Use DRM In New Coffee Maker To Lock Out Refill Market
  3. US Patent Office Grants ‘Photography Against A White Background’ Patent To Amazon
  4. UK Porn Filter Architect Arrested On Child Porn Charges
  5. The Rebranding Of SOPA: Now Called ‘Notice And Staydown’
  6. New Snowden Doc Reveals How GCHQ/NSA Use The Internet To ‘Manipulate, Deceive And Destroy Reputations’
  7. Student Who Found GPS Device On His Car Due To Reddit Comment Sues The FBI < --- Will explain this below
  8. Guy Finds FBI Tracking Device On Car, Posts Pics Online… FBI Shows Up Demanding It Back < --- Will explain this below
  9. How The Copyright Industry Made Your Computer Less Safe
  10. T-Mobile Writes The Best Press Release You’ll Ever See From A Phone Company

So you’ll notice there are two old stories in there. One from 2010 and another from 2011 — though both about the same thing (a guy discovering an FBI tracking device on his car and then posting it on Reddit). For whatever reason, Reddit suddenly picked up on that story again and drove a tremendous amount of traffic to it (well, mainly to the one about him suing the FBI, and that resulted in people clicking through to the other one as well). In case you think those shouldn’t count, the next two biggest stories were… the first Walter O’Brien story and one about Verizon basically admitting that it was its own fault that its network got clogged (while it attempted to blame Netflix).

2014’s Top Ten Stories, by comment volume

  1. Thanks Anti-Vax Loons: The Return Of The Measles And The Backlash Against Jenny McCarthy 304 Comments
  2. Keurig Will Use DRM In New Coffee Maker To Lock Out Refill Market 262 Comments
  3. Appeals Court Doesn’t Understand The Difference Between Software And An API; Declares APIs Copyrightable 262 Comments
  4. Chilling Effects: Climate Change Deniers Have Scientific Paper Disappeared 250 Comments
  5. Megaupload Say US Gov’t Is Trying To Steal Assets Based On Crimes That Are ‘Figments Of The Gov’t’s Boundless Imagination’ 230 Comments
  6. The James Foley Beheading Video And How Americans Conceptualize Their Enemies 227 Comments
  7. Copyright Maximalists And Lobbyists Insist ‘Criminal Elements’ Are A Part Of The Copyright Reform Effort 219 Comments
  8. The Homicide No One Committed: Eric Garner’s Death At The Hands Of An NYPD Officer No-Billed By Grand Jury 202 Comments
  9. Another Story Of A ‘Fake’ Brilliant Inventor? Is ‘Scorpion Walter O’Brien’ A Real Computer Security Genius? 199 Comments
  10. Proud Voters Tweeting In The UK Could Receive Jail Time And A Fine 196 Comments

Once again — as we point out every year — we see very little overlap between these two lists. Only one story (the Keurig DRM one) made both lists (in the second spot on both too). Also something that stood out to me — while not a single one of the top 10 traffic getting posts were written by Tim Geigner, 4 of the top 10 commented posts were by him. That Dark Helmet sure knows how to get you to speak up (though, to be fair, none of the next ten posts in comments were written by him).

Okay, onto the community, and who did well on the commenting front. For the third year in a row, John Fenderson was our top commenter, though he seriously upped his game. In 2014, he posted an astounding 6105 comments — nearly double of last year’s 3604. Here’s the top 10 list:

2014 Top Commenters, by comment volume

  1. John Fenderson: 6105 comments
  2. That One Guy: 3431 comments
  3. Ninja: 1864 comments
  4. nasch: 1695 comments
  5. PaulT: 1031 comments
  6. Mason Wheeler 840 comments
  7. Whatever 777 comments
  8. That Anonymous Coward: 707 comments
  9. Mike Masnick 685 comments
  10. art guerrilla 675 comments

Here’s a little oddity: I seem to appear on the above list in even years (2010, 2012 and 2014), and don’t make it on odd years (2011 and 2013). Guess I’ll be commenting less in the new year… Also interesting to see how the list has changed over the years. Only nasch and PaulT were also on the list in 2010, with only PaulT making the list every single year (nasch missed just one year).

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

  1. John Fenderson: 456 comments
  2. That One Guy: 316 comments
  3. Mason Wheeler 128 comments
  4. Karl: 101 comments
  5. Ninja: 98 comments
  6. PaulT: 89 comments
  7. Gwiz: 88 comments
  8. jupiterkansas 82 comments
  9. That Anonymous Coward: 71 comments
  10. Mike Masnick: 63 comments

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

  1. That One Guy: 32 comments
  2. Ninja: 30 comments
  3. John Fenderson: 26 comments
  4. DannyB: 23 comments
  5. ChurchHatesTucker: 22 comments
  6. silverscarcat: 19 comments
  7. Mason Wheeler 16 comments
  8. That Anonymous Coward: 15 comments
  9. Roger Strong: 15 comments
  10. sorrykb: 15 comments

Kudos to John Fenderson and That One Guy for dominating the commenting lists this year! Also interesting to see the “funny” numbers are much lower than the insightfuls (and much lower than in the past). Either you guys just aren’t as funny as you used to be, or people are getting pickier about the funny voting… Perhaps that’s a challenge for someone in the new year…

That’s it for last year. If you want to appear on this list next year, time to get cracking…

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Comments on “Techdirt 2014: The Numbers.”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
TheResidentSkeptic says:

Missing Statistics

Where’s the list of “most prolific trolls” ??
or “top trollbait” posts? (which writer provokes the most trolls – is it Mike or DH?)
Troll with most comments? (Anti-Dirt?)
Troll most frequently flagged? (ootb?)
Troll with highest count of flagged posts? (bob?)

How are we going to vote for our favorite troll without knowing their standings??? I think out-of-his-ass is winning, but it could be Anti-Dirt …

mattshow (profile) says:

Internet Explorer is fourth, though still with a fair bit of usage (who are you people?).

To suggest a serious answer to what was not a serious question: we are people whose corporate IT departments still love Internet Explorer because all the internal web-based corporate applications were designed 10 years ago to work on IE and nobody wants to devote the resources needed to confirm whether they work on any other platform, or to update them if they don’t.

Dark Helmet (profile) says:

Re: Re:

“we are people whose corporate IT departments still love Internet Explorer because all the internal web-based corporate applications were designed 10 years ago to work on IE and nobody wants to devote the resources needed to confirm whether they work on any other platform, or to update them if they don’t.”

Ugh, I can certainly sympathize w/this. I use Chrome 90% of the time, but then I have to do some module task in Autotask or Quotewerks or some other LoB app and find that it’s only stable in IE because the world doesn’t make any sense and is a horrible place….

Anonymous Coward says:


So presumably you’re planning on suing reddit for using your good name to generate page hits right? Or just lobby the government to force them to pay you? I mean, without it’s ability to link to other sites they’d be nothing more than askreddit sex questions or people asking for where the best porn is. /s

timlash (profile) says:

Re: Re: Android haha... crash.. .haha...

I’ll second Mr. Oizo’s observation. I have a Toshiba android tablet running version 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) with five browser apps installed because none of them surf the entire web well. They all crash after visiting a handful of sites. Dolphin seems “best”, but recent updates to Chrome have improved that experience greatly.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Android haha... crash.. .haha...

How much memory does it have?

Not only can cheapo tablets be unstable, but they also can have not enough memory. Modern web pages can use a lot of memory (and you don’t have defenses like NoScript or ad blocking), so the browser runs out of memory and is killed (or the whole operating system runs out of memory and kills the largest app around).

You might be able to find the real cause with logcat (either enable debugging mode and watch it tethered to a computer, or install alogcat and use it to take a look at the logs soon after the browser crashed).

Mr. Oizo says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Android haha... crash.. .haha...

The default for most apps is 16-32Mb. Which is too little. That chrome crashes fewer times has more to do with the fact that it can get more permissions from the OS than other browsers. A bit like internet explorer could also do things other browsers couldn’t in the past. has some background on the memory issues on android. On more ‘modern’ devices, even if your device has 1G of memory, an app has at most 96M. Furthermore, if an app crashes it is mostly because android choose to crash it, not because the app actually had an error.

Matthew A. Sawtell (profile) says:

Why so many IE visits? Check the daily numbers...

Quote: “Internet Explorer is fourth, though still with a fair bit of usage (who are you people?).”

Why so many IE Visits? Check the daily numbers and/or I.P. Addresses – probably a good deal of folks look at this site at ‘lunch time’ who still work a job in ‘good old Corporate America’. Either that or they are still plugging away with their ‘obsolete Win XP’ technology.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Keurig Will Use DRM In New Coffee Maker To Lock Out Refill Market

Before the articles came up I’ve never heard of them either. After the DRM articles, I began to notice them. Never will buy one though.

I buy coffee by the pound, not by the smaller packets. I use a perk pot because the coffee doesn’t get stale, and it doesn’t burn.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Does clicking to “expand” the article count towards pageviews, or is it only when I click through to the article? Just curious. I love the fact that I don’t have to click on each article.

No, these stats only look at those who clicked through on the full story. We could look at adding in those who just clicked “expand” but that would be a pretty big process…

Anonymous Coward says:

What happened to some of the numbers?

In the past, the yearly roundup has talked about the total number of visitors, and how the number has gone up from the previous year. Indeed, the yearly roundup previously talked a fair amount about the actual numbers (number of discrete visitors, total visits, etc.). Where’s the beef!!!

ltlw0lf (profile) says:

Re: Wow

I had no idea I’d doubled the number of comments I made.

You do comment a lot, but I always love the discussions. I wonder where I placed, but sadly, we only see the best of the best on the list. No grade-sheet for the rest of us.

I am ashamed, though that only 7% of my comments got a light bulb. I’ll have to work on that.

It isn’t easy. I thought I’d made really insightful comments a lot more than I really did. We aren’t all Dark Helmet when it comes to funny though… (Not even Dark Helmet is Dark Helmet any more…he’s not even on the list.)

Anonymous Coward says:


Do Tor nodes count as their own “country”, or do you just get the node’s location? It would be interesting to see those numbers, and whether they’ve changed after the Snowden disclosures.

How reliable is the city data? Geolocation always shows me as coming from my ISP’s main office but I’m nowhere near it.

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