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2006 MemeStreams Usage Statistics


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2006 MemeStreams Usage Statistics
Topic: MemeStreams 5:07 pm EST, Jan  1, 2007

Happy New Year everyone.

At the start of each year I've traditionally posted the previous year's awstat web server statistics. This year I'm doing something different. There are three reasons.

The first is that posting awstat information contributes to a lot of referral spam. In fact, I'll bet this post will end up getting picked up by spammers in web searches and sent a lot of bogus traffic simply because the text awstats appears within it. I have no idea what these people think they are accomplishing, but they seem quite persistent. Sanitizing the stats information so that it doesn't attract them has become a fair amount of work.

The second reason is that the statistics that are individually important to you probably haven't changed much from last year. Kimbo Slice is still the top search term that brings people in from Google...

What has changed is our Google rank. We've gone from about 40,000 monthly unique visitors in the earlier part of the year down to about 20,000, with a slight bump at the very end of December from people looking for information on the execution of Saddam Hussein. This is about where we were in 2005 prior to a national press incident involving one of our users. Nearly all of this traffic change can be attributed to Google. I'm not terribly bothered about it, as there are still an awful lot of people randomly falling in here from Google, and a reduction in our rank shelters us from link spam to a certain extent.

The third reason is that awstats information hasn't traditionally told us what we really want to know: How many people REALLY read MemeStreams. 20,000 or 40,000 is a heck of a lot of people. Mixed up in those statistics are the Google tourists, web crawlers, spammers, etc... How much of it can be discounted?

Rattle made two changes that help tremendously in understanding this question. The first was improvements to the sessions layer, which provides the information boxes you now see around the site that tell you who is currently online in 15 minute intervals. The second is the addition of Google Analytics, which includes a visitor loyalty statistic that I think provides the most accurate view of the size of the real MemeStreams reader community that we've yet seen. Unfortunately, these statistics exclude RSS readers. Its difficult to make accurate estimates about RSS readership, but we do know that the main page and the blogs of most of the regular posters on MemeStreams are pulled by RSS readers thousands of times a month. Given the frequency of RSS, however, that may represent less than 100 readers. Here are our visitor loyalty statistics for the month of December:

Visit Number Visits
1 14353
2 623
3 169
4 124
5 95
6 76
7 72
8 61
9-14 304
15-25 404
26-50 452
51-100 473
101-200 231
201+ 17

This chart shows how many people have visited the site a particular number of times. The people at the top of the chart are the Google tourists. The people at the bottom of the chart are the core community. Perhaps about 2,000 people. That number is not terribly surprising to us. We'd like to grow that figure, but certainly, there is a large group of people who are reading what is being written here on a regular basis.

Another interesting data point is where these people live. Here are the top 26 cities that read MemeStreams in the month of December:

Atlanta, GA - USA
Los Angeles, CA - USA
Nashville, TN - USA
Murfreesboro, TN - USA
New York, NY - USA
Houston, TX - USA
Methuen, MA - USA
Leicester - UK
Bangalore - India
San Diego, CA - USA
Sacramento, CA - USA
Chicago, IL - USA
Austin, TX - USA
Bombay - India
Toronto, ON - Canada
London - UK
Manahawkin, NJ - USA
Dallas, TX - USA
Pittsburgh, PA - USA
Herndon, VA - USA
Decatur, GA - USA
Allenwood, NJ - USA
Brooklyn, NY - USA
Bedford, MA - USA
Jacksonville, FL - USA
Paris - France

Of course, each time you hit MemeStreams you are basically casting a vote for your location in these statistics. People who regularly post to the site generate a lot more votes than people who come and go, and this accounts for the presence of places like Murfreesboro, Tennessee on this list. However, I think its interesting that we have so many readers from India. We get a few new users from there on a regular basis, but they don't seem to post much. I hope some of them decide to do so.

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