Saturday, October 30, 2004
Hit refresh: I mean it. Right now. Hit the "refresh" button on your browser. You did it? Good. You are now two separate people. I'm not talking schizophrenia or multiple personality disorder here. I mean, you're really two separate people. Like the feeling? Hit refresh again. Now you're three separate people -- at least the way The New York Times decides to count people. N.Z. Bear wrote to the Times to try to get a correction and was rebuffed.
I publish the website The Truth Laid Bear, which was cited as a source in Jim Rutenberg's piece on bloggers, "Web Offers Hefty Voice to Critics of Mainstream Journalists" dated 10/28 as follows:
"A recent posting on DailyKos, a liberal Web site visited by more than 500,000 people daily, according to blog rankings posted on a site called The Truth Laid Bear..."
The statement that Daily Kos is visited by more than 500,000 people daily based on my site's rankings is inaccurate. The rankings on my site represent Average Daily Visits as tracked by SiteMeter (www.sitemeter.com). They represent the number of visits each blog receives during a day, with a visit being defined by SiteMeter as "a series of page views by one person with no more than 30 minutes in between page views" (http://www.sitemeter.com/default.asp?action=help#2).
What the data does NOT show is that it is 500,000 individual people visiting Kos' site each day, as is stated in the Times article. It is far more likely (approaching certainty) that the number of individuals checking Kos' site during a day is much smaller, and that each of them check back a few times during the day. If, for example, we assume each reader checks an average of twice a day, then it would be 250,000 people visiting daily. Given that Kos' site is a major portal for political bloggers, it is quite possible that the number of visits-per-day-per-person is even higher, as loyal readers check back many times during the day to get the latest news; however, it is impossible to know this exactly based on the summary SiteMeter data provided on my site.
You can go to Bear's site and see the back-and-forth responses, but suffice it to say that Bear is right an the Times is wrong. Saying that each "visit" a site receives is a different person is like saying that each time you set the paper down on the breakfast table and then pick it up again is another "subscriber" to the newspaper.