The truth about traffic on the Internet

Ahh, the Guardian got into a little dirty truth about traffic on TechMeme: there isn’t many people there.

Every time I get on TechMeme I get 500 to 3,000 visits. That matches what the Guardian and what Nick Carr are seeing.

But, truth is not many sites out there do any better. Yeah, when I get on Digg I get 20,000. When I got on the front page of the BBC a couple times in the past month I got 5,000 each time. But Valleywag? I get 100 to 1,000 visits (I’ve been on there something like 20 times including with some VERY sensational posts that would make anyone click and ask themselves “what the heck did that guy do?”)

Even when I quit Microsoft and was in 150 newspapers and TONS of blogs and such I got 200,000 visits in a two-day period.

Dave Winer? A few thousand per link, but sometimes only a few hundred. Wired? A few thousand. Stumbleupon? I got tens of thousands once, but not lately. Twitter? A few hundred, even when dozens of people put my link up.

I was on the Register one time and only got a few hundred visits even though a friend of mine claimed they had millions of visitors.

My own blog? Most links lately will drive a few hundred visits. My link blog seems to be a little bit better, but not much according to people who’ve been on it.

So, if you’ve gotten a good shot of traffic where do you find you get the most traffic?

Oh, and why does TechMeme get the hype? Because Eric Norlin said in his interview with me today that he reads it. If he reads it that’s good enough for me.

I don’t want a big audience. I want a smart audience. So far I’ve gotten exactly that from TechMeme.

If I wanted a big audience I’d go write a Paris Hilton blog or something like that.

193 thoughts on “The truth about traffic on the Internet

  1. Pingback: DarrenBarefoot.com
  2. Never been Digged, but the biggest single influx I ever had was from StumbleUpon, amounting to about 45,000 hits over a period of several weeks. In comparison the couple of times I’ve been on BoingBoing, I’ve seen 10-15,000, kottke.org 2-3,000, del.icio.us/popular 2,000, and other sites like Fleshbot and Metafilter <500.

  3. Never been Digged, but the biggest single influx I ever had was from StumbleUpon, amounting to about 45,000 hits over a period of several weeks. In comparison the couple of times I’ve been on BoingBoing, I’ve seen 10-15,000, kottke.org 2-3,000, del.icio.us/popular 2,000, and other sites like Fleshbot and Metafilter <500.

  4. “there isn’t many people”? Sigh.

    Look, what makes you think you aren’t writing a paris hilton blog, for the tech world, anyway? Equally fluffy and lacking substance, but lacking the audience, too.

    It seems to me to be a mistake to equate tech fanboy fluff with substance.

  5. “there isn’t many people”? Sigh.

    Look, what makes you think you aren’t writing a paris hilton blog, for the tech world, anyway? Equally fluffy and lacking substance, but lacking the audience, too.

    It seems to me to be a mistake to equate tech fanboy fluff with substance.

  6. Smart audience interested in similar stuff, yup.
    Re. TechMem – from what I’ve heard of the selection algorithms they sound exactly designed to keep echo chamber blogs at the top of the list.

    Hmm, not sure if I am subscribed to your link blog – got a link?

  7. Smart audience interested in similar stuff, yup.
    Re. TechMem – from what I’ve heard of the selection algorithms they sound exactly designed to keep echo chamber blogs at the top of the list.

    Hmm, not sure if I am subscribed to your link blog – got a link?

  8. I was mentioned in an article in the New York Times Cooking Section once and got about 7000 visitors from that.

    I have had Stumbled articles get 8000 to 10,000 page views in a couple of days. Most of the time SU results in about 300 page views in a few minutes, then, if people like it, it gets more, and then more.

    If people hate it, it vanishes, never to be seen again.

    I also used to get a lot of visits from the front page of wordpress.com back before Matt decided my blog is not very interesting and banned it from the top blogs ranking.

  9. I was mentioned in an article in the New York Times Cooking Section once and got about 7000 visitors from that.

    I have had Stumbled articles get 8000 to 10,000 page views in a couple of days. Most of the time SU results in about 300 page views in a few minutes, then, if people like it, it gets more, and then more.

    If people hate it, it vanishes, never to be seen again.

    I also used to get a lot of visits from the front page of wordpress.com back before Matt decided my blog is not very interesting and banned it from the top blogs ranking.

  10. This is not the only truth about Techmeme.

    Try to explain why Techmeme has NEVER linked to a non-English website. Good luck.

    Techmeme is to me an absolute abomination. It’s exactly the kind of sites that corporations want you to stick with, because it’s such a 0.000000000000000001% of the internet, therefore a good way to keep you UNINFORMED about what’s going on.

  11. This is not the only truth about Techmeme.

    Try to explain why Techmeme has NEVER linked to a non-English website. Good luck.

    Techmeme is to me an absolute abomination. It’s exactly the kind of sites that corporations want you to stick with, because it’s such a 0.000000000000000001% of the internet, therefore a good way to keep you UNINFORMED about what’s going on.

  12. When a niche, thinks it’s the world, and yet someone points out the obvious small numbers, the argument always goes, that the small audience, is quite a bit “smarter”, worth 10 or more of the riff-raff, and that the “common people” are vastly inferior have such lowbrow tastes, as if they had any sense whatsoever they’d already be here.

    When traffic low, claim “superior” audiences or “community”, when traffic high, claim the trend has finally taken hold, you of course, being the first to know. It’s a great shell con-game — you never lose.

    Low = Better people. “Smarter” more “engaged” audiences, more “purchasing power”, greater mind-share, the “influentials”, The Übermensch. The best wisdom of the masses.

    High = They finally get it, but what stupid morons they be, for taking so long. We were here first, and we invented everything, you must pay your fair share and worship us.

  13. When a niche, thinks it’s the world, and yet someone points out the obvious small numbers, the argument always goes, that the small audience, is quite a bit “smarter”, worth 10 or more of the riff-raff, and that the “common people” are vastly inferior have such lowbrow tastes, as if they had any sense whatsoever they’d already be here.

    When traffic low, claim “superior” audiences or “community”, when traffic high, claim the trend has finally taken hold, you of course, being the first to know. It’s a great shell con-game — you never lose.

    Low = Better people. “Smarter” more “engaged” audiences, more “purchasing power”, greater mind-share, the “influentials”, The Übermensch. The best wisdom of the masses.

    High = They finally get it, but what stupid morons they be, for taking so long. We were here first, and we invented everything, you must pay your fair share and worship us.

  14. I feel that techmeme gives a great snapshot of the tech industry. If you want more depth and less echo you have to start trawling the feeds.

    As for traffic, in my niche, stumbleupon rules. I haven’t found anywhere else that supplies such a steady stream of knowledgable traffic. Stumbleupon may not give you the big Digg numbers but when you are surviving (and thriving) in the long tail you wont get on the front page of Digg anyway!

  15. I feel that techmeme gives a great snapshot of the tech industry. If you want more depth and less echo you have to start trawling the feeds.

    As for traffic, in my niche, stumbleupon rules. I haven’t found anywhere else that supplies such a steady stream of knowledgable traffic. Stumbleupon may not give you the big Digg numbers but when you are surviving (and thriving) in the long tail you wont get on the front page of Digg anyway!

  16. Maybe net traffic is all just one group of like 100 people going from site to site over and over, like the one fruit cake that circulates at Christmas.

    Just sayin.

  17. Maybe net traffic is all just one group of like 100 people going from site to site over and over, like the one fruit cake that circulates at Christmas.

    Just sayin.

  18. M Freitas: in that case you should subscribe to my link blog. It’s broader than TechMeme and I watch a ton of blogs for you. Saves you time and makes sure you see the best stuff.

  19. M Freitas: in that case you should subscribe to my link blog. It’s broader than TechMeme and I watch a ton of blogs for you. Saves you time and makes sure you see the best stuff.

  20. “I don’t want a big audience. I want a smart audience.” Quality over quantity.

    I like this statement, it demonstrates that everyone isn’t all about numbers, but about building a good, solid community.

  21. “I don’t want a big audience. I want a smart audience.” Quality over quantity.

    I like this statement, it demonstrates that everyone isn’t all about numbers, but about building a good, solid community.

  22. In the top tier blogs (for the sake of argument, call that the Technorati Top 35) and maybe some of the big media properties like CNET, it really all depends on the piece.

    If it’s something entirely new like a product release, it might drive a lot of traffic. If it is some small piece of niche news (like V-wag tends to publish), you will only get those few people who actually care clicking through.

    Publishing cycles have expanded to include dozens of posts a day on some of these blogs. Only a few posts a day will catch fire. It’s the way it has to work, I fear. Thus the belief that these sites are driving less traffic per link.

    Once you get past that top tier, then the traffic that any individual site can drive is nominal unless they happen to write for a very close-knit niche. Example, a post of mine appeared on the front page of a blog in New Zealand for 2 days. The traffic for the site is about 1/20th of Digg but I probably got 10k visitors in that period.

  23. In the top tier blogs (for the sake of argument, call that the Technorati Top 35) and maybe some of the big media properties like CNET, it really all depends on the piece.

    If it’s something entirely new like a product release, it might drive a lot of traffic. If it is some small piece of niche news (like V-wag tends to publish), you will only get those few people who actually care clicking through.

    Publishing cycles have expanded to include dozens of posts a day on some of these blogs. Only a few posts a day will catch fire. It’s the way it has to work, I fear. Thus the belief that these sites are driving less traffic per link.

    Once you get past that top tier, then the traffic that any individual site can drive is nominal unless they happen to write for a very close-knit niche. Example, a post of mine appeared on the front page of a blog in New Zealand for 2 days. The traffic for the site is about 1/20th of Digg but I probably got 10k visitors in that period.

  24. I had to laugh at your last sentence as that’s the running joke on the Sun Microsystems “bloggers” alias. If you want hits, blog about PH.

  25. I had to laugh at your last sentence as that’s the running joke on the Sun Microsystems “bloggers” alias. If you want hits, blog about PH.

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