by Mike Masnick
Wed, Oct 3rd 2012 4:15pm
from the MOAR-EAGLES! dept
We want to keep our Insider Shop stocked with an always-expanding selection of fresh Techdirt gear, so we've set up a Step2 thread for you to vote on product ideas and submit your own.
Our Seized Tee and DMCA Tee have both been very popular, so we're definitely looking for your input on new t-shirt ideas—but we're also interested in whatever else you dream up! For now, we want to dedicate this thread to physical Techdirt gear—we'll be launching another thread in the future to discuss the new blog features and subscription packages. There are a few ideas already there, both for new products and for variations on our existing lineup. Head on over and help us decide what we should offer next.
Remember, you need an account to vote and comment on Step2, but your Techdirt account works there too.
from the feeling-old dept
Either way, today marks 15 years of doing this in one form or another. One week after this initial test, the newsletter went out to about 100 people -- mostly fellow students at Cornell's business school. A month later we were up to about 1,000 subscribers, and it built from there. By February of the next year the website finally came into existence (and with it, the Techdirt name, which beat out my second choice "bluedot" because a friend told me that sounded boring, while Techdirt sounded edgy). A year after that, the site itself morphed into a blog -- though the word "blog" still didn't exist -- using Slashcode 0.3 (which was a complete mess). And within a few years it was a part of my full time job.
Anyway, I wanted to share the moment, as I figured some of you might get a kick out of seeing that original offering. We're hoping to put together some sort of gathering in the fall to celebrate this anniversary (too much stuff going on to have it coincide with the actual date) and we'll share more info on that as we finalize those plans. Either way, none of the last 15 years happens without you folks being dedicated readers, commenters, submitters, link spreaders, etc. From starting out with a total audience of 3 people to the millions who now read our content every month, it's been quite a ride so far, and I hope to continue going strong for at least another fifteen years.
by Mike Masnick
Thu, Aug 16th 2012 12:12pm
from the hop-to-it dept
Because this is such a new feature, I wanted to discuss a little of the thinking behind it. Despite blogging for well over a decade, I'm still amazed by how much controversy there is over blog comments. Some people insist that they're completely useless. Others spend many hours of their day engaging in discussion and debate in the comments. There are various attempts to try to "improve the quality" of comments out there, including banning anonymous comments, heavily moderating comments or doing things like having editors highlight the best comments. Others have integrated third-party platforms to manage comments, such as Facebook or Disqus. Gawker keeps pushing the bleeding edge with a series of commenting experiments that try to increase the importance of comments while decreasing the number of comments that actually get viewed.
Over the years, we've taken a very open approach to comments. We don't require a login to comment (though there are benefits to having one). We don't require people to identify themselves at all. And despite the default assumption some have that anonymous comments are bad, we quite regularly find that comments from anonymous users are some of our most insightful and funniest comments. To that end, we've always focused on trying to do more to highlight and encourage good behavior -- such as highlighting the comments voted most insightful and funniest, both with badges on the comments and in our weekly summaries.
With the First Word/Last Word feature, we're trying to take all of that a step further. We've seen how a single trollish commenter can sometimes (not always) derail an interesting conversation by getting in early and saying something completely brain dead, then watching (probably with laughter) as the thread disintegrates. Our expanded Crystal Ball may take care of that in some cases by giving insiders more early access to kick off the comments. But, not everyone's going to be able to rush in and be first. With "First Word/Last Word," Insiders with credits can help highlight one or two of the absolutely key comments on a story and put them in places of prominence to help define the overall conversation.
This is very much an experiment (and like all experiments could flop completely). But what fun is it if you never take chances? We've trusted our community for many, many years, and here's another attempt to trust those who become Insiders to help curate the absolute best comments for everyone to see. We hope you'll take part and help us develop an even more interesting and compelling comments section.
You can get your own First Word/Last Word credits at the Techdirt Insider Shop. Most purchases include at least one credit, and subscriptions like the Watercooler Package and the Behind The Curtain Package include a cache of credits that replenishes on a monthly basis.
by Mike Masnick
Thu, Aug 16th 2012 10:45am
from the rtb dept
We also have some brand new features on the site for Insiders, including the new First Word/Last Word offering, which I'll have another post discussing in more detail a little later today. There's also the brand new Insider Chat which all of you should be able to see to your right. Certain Insider membership packages allow you to join in the chat. Without one of those... you can still view the chat, but you can't participate. Also, for those who sign up for longer term packages, we have a number of offerings, including special Insider Hangouts (using Google+'s Hangouts feature), which should be a lot of fun. Check out the store for a detailed explanation of all the new blog features that are available.
You want more gear? We've got more gear, including new t-shirts, hoodies, mugs, bottles and other assorted paraphernalia. We've got a brand new Seized t-shirt in honor of various domain seizures (more on that later!) and an updated DMCA takedown t-shirt. The original was our most popular seller, so don't miss out on the new, revamped version. We've also got a very special, limited edition Techdirt staff bundle -- of which only five are available to buy. These are special staff-only hoodies and an assortment of other goodies. If you don't want to splurge to that level (or if they all sell out before you get a chance) we've got some other hoodies to choose from.
Downloads? We've got downloads. You can "pay what you want" for the ebook version of my book Approaching Infinity (built off a collection of Techdirt posts) or our famed Sky is Rising report. Name your price and help support more such works in the future! Hell, if you don't want anything specific in return, you can also just donate some money.
There's plenty more as well, including getting lunch with me -- which we offered only as a one week special last time, but it was quite popular (and a lot of fun) -- as well as the indisputably Awesome Day with Techdirt (which a few folks did last time around, and it really was quite awesome). There are also various business services that tie back into how we normally make a living.
And, last and most certainly least, we still have options for those of you who hate Techdirt. Last time around, we offered to take a year off for merely $100-million, and surprisingly none of you took us up on it. We did have some requests for pro-rated offerings, so we'll now shut down for 24 hours for just $1 million (pocket change!). As for the big one? Well, we always hear the haters insist that price is equal to value, and no one appeared to value that $100-million offering enough... so the price is going up. You can shut us up for an entire year for the new, more luxurious price of $100,000,001. Hurry up. We may raise the prices again before you know it.
Either way, the store platform we've put together is a lot more robust, and we're hopeful that we can do a bunch of other things with it over the next few months and years, so shop away...
Please note that while we've been testing the new store & features extensively, when things go live, problems always pop up. If you spot any errors or bugs, please let us know and we'll get to them as quickly as possible...
from the questions,-questions dept
by Mike Masnick
Wed, Feb 22nd 2012 9:47am
from the ah,-censorship dept
Hanno reached out to a spokesperson for the JusProg filter, and got the usual runaround. "We do not want to censor political opinions." The spokesperson claims that the system is automated and looks at links. When asked why Techdirt was blocked, it was explained that since we use certain words "perhaps twenty times" in discussions about pornography and censorship, the system deemed us clearly a danger. Apparently, we can appeal to JusProg, but it appears that might require some familiarity with German... So, in the meantime, let's just hope that we haven't already damaged the youth of Germany too much.
by Dennis Yang
Thu, Jan 5th 2012 2:22pm
from the not-the-end-of-the-world-yet dept
We handled around 14.7 million visits last year (up from 2009's 11M). Those visitors checked out the 3,923 stories that we posted and submitted 205,129 comments. Oddly, the #1 story for 2011 was one that was actually written in 2010, about the ubiquitous "Free Public WiFi" mystery. It turns out that a lot of people remain curious about all those "free public WiFi" ad hoc networks you see. Two stories about SOPA/PIPA graced the top ten, as well as the harrowing censorship tale of dajaz1.com. It appears that you folks are concerned about government censorship.
2011 was also a great year for the comment voting system. Congrats to Marcus Carab and Dark Helmet, who garnered the highest cumulative scores for insightful and funniest comments, respectively -- and, amazingly, each came in second place to the other in the category they didn't come in first. I sense a growing rivalry...
The top browser used by Techdirt readers was still Firefox (35%). Chrome, which lost by a narrow margin to IE last year, blew past IE's 15% to 30%. And there are still nearly 100,000 that are, despite all of the best efforts of Microsoft to convince you otherwise, still inexplicably using IE6.
Mobile usage jumped up to 1.6M visits this year, which is nearly a 200% increase from 2010. 615k of those visits came from iPhones, versus 566k for Android and 322k from iPad. In aggregate, Apple devices did beat Android. iPhone beat out Android last year by nearly 2:1, so clearly that gap is quickly closing.
Where did this year's traffic come from? Reddit jumped in the charts this year, referring 2.1M visits, up 277% from last year's 557k. I'm a little saddened to see that Slashdot is definitely not what it used to be -- referrals from them dropped by nearly a third last year. I suppose getting Slashdotted is no longer what it used to be. Continuing to perform quite well, however, are both StumbleUpon and HackerNews. Facebook also sent a decent amount of traffic.
To hear some of Google's enemies (including politicians in Congress) tell the story, the only way sites get traffic is via search engines -- and Google specifically. They act as though, if Google isn't sending you tons of traffic, you don't exist. Google definitely does send us a fair bit of traffic, but only about 20% of our actual traffic came from searches. We certainly value that 20%, but it definitely shows that you don't have to rely on search traffic to get traffic. Even more telling, here are the top three search terms that brought people to Techdirt in 2011:
- tech dirt
All in all, people from 230 countries or territories visited Techdirt. Just like last year, there was a single visit from Christmas Island -- though, last year, we had someone in our comments suggest that the single Christmas Island visit may have been him, and not really from Christmas Island.
Last year, we noted that the only countries that we appeared to get absolutely no visits from were... North Korea, Western Sahara & Chad. Western Sahara and Chad, once again, failed to send any visitors... but, in a stunning development, we got two visitors from North Korea. And, in case you were wondering, Belarus, whose new laws will make it difficult for people there to access many websites, actually sent over 1,000 visitors last year. Also, I have no idea why, but the nearly 1,000 visitors from Gibraltar spent the highest average time on the site of visitors from any other country/territory -- averaging nearly 20 minutes per visit. People from Macedonia actually visited the most pages (on average) per visit -- at just under 6 on average from over 3,500 visitors.
And, of course, this isn't just about the odd facts, but about the overall community -- with many of you being quite loyal, which we appreciate to no end. 1.5 million of the visits -- or just over 10% came from people who visited Techdirt more than 100 times last year -- and the vast majority of those (just under 1 million) actually visited the site more than 200 times. You people rock.
Anyway, thanks again to everyone for making yet another year of Techdirt awesome. Here's to a fantastic 2012.
Top Ten Stories, by Unique Pageviews, on Techdirt for 2011:
- The History Of The (Fake) 'Free Public WiFi' You Always See At Airports
- SOPA Markup Runs Out Of Time; Likely Delayed Until 2012 [Update: Or Not...]
- Apple Continues To Insist Only It Can Use An Apple In A Logo; Threatens Small German Cafe
- Guy Who Created The TSA Says It's Failed, And It's Time To Dismantle It
- Craigslist Trying To Destroy The Life Of Someone Who Made Posting To Craigslist Easier
- Breaking News: Feds Falsely Censor Popular Blog For Over A Year, Deny All Due Process, Hide All Details...
- Company Thanks Guy Who Alerted Them To Big Security Flaw By Sending The Cops... And The Bill
- NY Times & LA Times Both Come Out Against SOPA & PIPA
- EU Officially Seizes The Public Domain, Retroactively Extends Copyright
- PROTECT IP Renamed E-PARASITES Act; Would Create The Great Firewall Of America
- If You're Arguing That Someone 'Deserves' Copyright, Your Argument Is Wrong (823 comments)
- Do A Little Dance, Make A Little Love...Get Bodyslammed Tonight (At The Jefferson Memorial) (457 comments)
- Judge Bans Handing (Factual) Pamphlets To Jurors; Raising First Amendment Issues (429 comments)
- TSA Agent Threatens Woman With Defamation, Demands $500k For Calling Intrusive Search 'Rape' (403 comments)
- Revisiting The Question Of Who Deserves Copyright (376 comments)
- PROTECT IP Renamed E-PARASITES Act; Would Create The Great Firewall Of America (376 comments)
- Senators Want To Put People In Jail For Embedding YouTube Videos (374 comments)
- Monkeys Don't Do Fair Use; News Agency Tells Techdirt To Remove Photos (372 comments)
- Why Is The Justice Department Pretending US Copyright Laws Apply In The UK? (351 comments)
- Breaking News: Feds Falsely Censor Popular Blog For Over A Year, Deny All Due Process, Hide All Details... (341 comments)
2011's Top Users, by comment volume
- The eejit - 3,963 comments
- Jay - 3,433 comments
- Marcus Carab - 2,255 comments
- Richard - 2,209 comments
- PaulT - 1,841 comments
- Hephaestus - 1,662 comments
- nasch - 1,456 comments
- Dark Helmet - 1,426 comments
- abc gum - 1,357 comments
- HothMonster - 1,313 comments
- Marcus Carab
- Dark Helmet
- Chris Rhodes
- The eejit
- That Anonymous Coward
- E. Zachary Knight