What effect does being mentionned on MeFi have, trafficwise? July 21, 2002 7:00 PM   Subscribe

Inexactly how much, numerically and psychologically, does a link on MetaFilter affect the traffic to the blog or web site referred? Is its effect transient or does it, so to speak, carry on? Also, just how many hits does MetaFilter get nowadays? [After reading stavrosthewonderchicken's interesting remarks on hits, pageviews and other popularity statistics and his comment on owillis's web site about how being linked on "The Mothership" makes traffic soar.]
posted by MiguelCardoso to MetaFilter-Related at 7:00 PM (28 comments total)

A side-question: how is the trackback device affecting traffic? I've clicked on the few so far, more out of curiosity, so I expect others will have done so too. I admit feeling gypped on two occasions - so would these count as "negative" hits, insofar as I certainly shan't be visiting those anymore?
posted by MiguelCardoso at 7:09 PM on July 21, 2002

The day when one of my sites was featured as a link on metafilter, back in late November of 2001, traffic spiked to roughly 200x what the site got (and continues to get) on any given day. The effect was shortlived. Within 2 days, the usage was back to relative normal, though the added exposure, and the textads, has caused the traffic to rise since then.
posted by crunchland at 7:11 PM on July 21, 2002

i was linked to at the start of June. i usually get a few thousand hits a month (1500-3000 depending on my own output). i got 57000 that month, 6000 of those being the first day.

all the bloggers who come here and then thief links for their own sites (the "metafilter light" bloggers) sent over a bunch of that traffic as well. (i'm referring to the people who just link and have little comment of their own in their blog).

then there are the people who see the link here, link from their own site and comment on the site. over time, i've found that those links remain much more relevant--ie, more people go thru the archives of the "average" blogger than go thru the archives of mefi. at least, that's my experience based on referral stats.

not sure if the number of hits is average or not. the thread was relatively quiet.
posted by dobbs at 7:25 PM on July 21, 2002

Well, I have TrackedBack two different threads, and here is what I have found out:

23 hits from this thread
17 hits from this thread

In the grand scheme of things, that is not much, but for the amount of people who visit my blog, it starts to make a difference. The first day and a half, both of my posts received about 60% of the hits, with the rest divided about equally between the next four days.

Miguel - I admit feeling gypped on two occasions

How so? The lack of additional information? The lack of originality. Honestly, when I TrackedBack those two threads, only the first one I felt I added any new content - and that was just some ramblings. I think this whole TrackBack thing needs some time before people [including me] can perfect the method.

the "metafilter light" bloggers - Sometimes I feel this way, but damn...there are so many good links that appear here that I [and others] want to discuss...I don't see anything wrong or negative about it.
posted by plemeljr at 7:28 PM on July 21, 2002

Having been Farked (and the like) a couple of times before, I've found the lasting effects of One Great Influx to be almost nil. The grand majority of folks come, consume, comment if they're so inclined, and close the browser window, never to return. Which makes sense, really - only if something is truly knock-my-socks-off wonderful do I typically start rooting around through other material by that author/artist, 'specially when there are so many links and so little time.

Far more important (from an "I want people to read my site!" standpoint, anyway) seems to be sheer pervasiveness. Much the same way that saturating the airwaves with even lackluster commercials can make any random product memorable, when I see so-and-so mentioned on two dozen different blogrolls, linked in passing from a half-dozen disparate sources, posting frequently on a slew of community sites, etc., it's hard not to check them out once in a while, if for no other reason but to see what all the commotion is about.
posted by youhas at 7:49 PM on July 21, 2002

Plemeljr: the two trackbacks I was complaining about (off-tangent, I dearly hope the word gypped doesn't refer to gypsies or egyptians and, if so, I apologize) seem to have been deleted. One or both of them were on this thread. So they weren't yours. ;)
posted by MiguelCardoso at 8:08 PM on July 21, 2002

Miguel - I wasn't worried about if those posts were mine [god knows my MeFi cred can't be damaged because of that - he he] but rather how and why you felt gypped. I have to admit I have been also clicking on the TrackBacks out of sheer curiosity because there are so few of them so far. I guess I would TrackBack more often, especially to the older material - but I don't want to be a TrackBack whore. he he.
posted by plemeljr at 8:14 PM on July 21, 2002

Re: feeling gypped (why, yes indeed, it most certainly does refer to that nasty stereotype that gypsies always cheat). I prefer to comment about what I see on mefi on mefi, but there are times when I want to ramble on about a topic in a much more subjective manner, or even after it's "officially" dead.

Those times, I usually comment on my blog, and link back to the mefi thread to give credit, like I do with any other blog.

Only difference is that now, when I link to mefi, a box appears at the bottom of the page noting that hey, she linked. It in no way indicates that I, or anyone else, is offering anything else to the discussion but further opinions.
posted by precocious at 8:20 PM on July 21, 2002

Not to answer the question per se, but I got via'd on this post, and it garnered about 45 hits that day, i believe. Not a tremendous amount, but good for my little blog, which is mostly for friends and such.
posted by Ufez Jones at 8:24 PM on July 21, 2002

When my Enron site was linked on Mefi my traffic went up 10x what it usually is, many came and left - but compared to my recent appearance on Fark, a lot more people stayed around from the Mefi link.
posted by owillis at 8:25 PM on July 21, 2002

I have book-marked only a few sites from the metafilter front page, but I have book-marked quite a few more to user (metafilterian's) homepages, especially if i really like/dislike someone's point of view. My decision to book-mark doesn't come from one post, but the collection of comments by user. I, too, felt gyped by the TB button, only bc the page it went to didnt have anything to do with the topic discussed in the tread, or I didnt see it.
posted by sadie01221975 at 8:39 PM on July 21, 2002

Two pigeon feathers and a bottle cap for me.
posted by y2karl at 10:28 PM on July 21, 2002

A front page mention for Bloggus Caesari got me about 100 referrals. That's not that much - I think I got 150 from RCB, 130 or so from plasticbag and over 2000 from ilovebacon.com (which I had never even heard of). But I think a lot of MeFiers would already have known about my site, so they might have passed on clicking it. Also, the MeFi link led to a bunch of mainstream media coverage, which is a nice side effect.
posted by D at 10:35 PM on July 21, 2002

I got a few hundred hits for insulting the way people here write. Then they went away. Bastards. Come back. I was just kidding. You don't write like shit. Worthless bastards.

When can I, too, use this fabulous way to get hits for nothing? I use Blogger.
posted by pracowity at 2:31 AM on July 22, 2002

I bought myself a textad the same week I made my first self link (in a thread about advertising) here.
The selflink was the bigger honeypot for a day or two, showing up as a little spike in my log. The text ad people however stick around longer on my site once they have been tempted over.
(pretty logical since the self link leads to an article on the topic of the thread, and thread people like to return to their thread...)

Moral of the story?.. ;-) buy more textads!

my friends ads are doing better than mine though. hmmm. maybe i'll buy ten more and write poetry on them. *kiddin*
posted by dabitch at 5:01 AM on July 22, 2002

I've never gotten a single hit on my weblog. Just the way I like it.
posted by sadie01221975 at 5:06 AM on July 22, 2002

Fools. All you need to get traffic is to put "dog humping pikachu" in your weblog's meta tags.
posted by machaus at 5:15 AM on July 22, 2002

In September, when I was still running World New York, I got a lot of links from weblogs. Kottke, for example, resulted in probably a hundred visitors a day. But the one day David Pogue mentioned the site on the Marth Stewart Living television show, the site received about 5000 visitors in a half hour. Who knew that many people surfed and surfed at the same time?
posted by Mo Nickels at 6:22 AM on July 22, 2002

It's been ages since a self-link sent MeFiTraffic over to my site, but you know who really sends the statsmonitors reeling? mr rcade and his cruel.com.
posted by Marquis at 7:30 AM on July 22, 2002

Fools. All you need to get traffic is to put "dog humping pikachu" in your weblog's meta tags.

"Apple stoner chick" works well too.
posted by adampsyche at 8:00 AM on July 22, 2002

Who knew that many people surfed and surfed at the same time?

Whoa, dude. That's deep.

posted by dagny at 8:13 AM on July 22, 2002

I wrote a (laughably simple) perl script for "automating" googlewhacking once, which resulted in approximately everyone on planet Earth visiting my site. This was, like, two weeks after I started my blog, so I though I had gone from 0-Kottke in 60 seconds flat. Then (a) my ISP said that if I didn't remove the script they would send mooks to my house, and (b) everyone on the Net simultaneously realized that Googlewhacking was kinda dumb, and with three days my referrer logs went from looking like New York, New York to looking like Gerbil Junction, Iowa. I maybe picked up a new reader or three out of the thousands who came by, but the overall effect was almost negligible.

There was a headline in The Onion once that read "Woman With Breast Implants Tired of Men Staring At Her Breasts". Getting a godzillion visitors to your blog because it appeared on MeFi / Fark or because you have some toy like the Googlewhacker is kinda like that: it feels great until you realize that 99% of the people who stopped are only interested in looking at your metaphorical breasts, and will wander off when the thrill is gone.

The best links to get are from another blog's "Recommended Reads" section: they are permanent, they point visitors to the whole blog instead of just one funny paragraph, and you have the satisfaction of knowing that someone read enough of your writing to deem you worthy of such an honor.
posted by Shadowkeeper at 9:14 AM on July 22, 2002

My experience of traffic drivers is that Wired, NY Times, and Slashdot are the biggest movers, but that very, very few of those visitors will stick around. Fark is at the next tier, followed by cruel.com, and then Kuro5hin, lagging behind those two. Perhaps a few of those visitors would linger, but not many. Also in that realm are a lot of smaller, more specific print magazines, or online efforts like Salon or, back in the day, Suck.

After another sizable gap in readership you get to the traffic from a MeFi link, one's MeFi user page, or the collective traffic of a number of blogs linking to you. Those are the ones that have long duration but no great wave of visitors. That's also where your regular visitors will come from.

People in the blog realm have a *very* skewed impression of what constitutes big traffic numbers. Metafilter itself is tiny compared to the readership of (the website of) almost any decent-sized print publication. And, as Grant pointed out, a mention on TV will dwarf almost any link you can get on the web. Keep in mind, TV shows regularly get cancelled for only drawing a million visitors per week.
posted by anildash at 10:24 AM on July 22, 2002

well, true about cancelled shows, but aside from the vast WebTV user base, the inertia of translating a displayed or spoken url on TV into a hit on a website is huge.

Several months ago, I was interviewed on WTOP, the local news radio station here in DC, where I was allowed to plug one of my websites. The topic was about the anniversary of the beginning of the worldwide web, and the segment was played twice an hour over the whole morning drive that day - basically the number one rated radio station in the area for that timeslot.

Surprisingly, it translated into very few hits for the site. I figure that the number of people with access to a web browser on their morning commute to work as the culprit, though perhaps it was due to the fact that they conducted the interview at 4 in the AM, and I probably sounded like an idiot.

posted by crunchland at 10:54 AM on July 22, 2002

machaus: i adore the pikachu-humping boston terrier, and i watch it just about every chance i get. both versions. i have no idea why it's so funny; but it is.
posted by mlang at 2:59 PM on July 22, 2002

I don't know what crunchland's idea of very few hits is, but I run a coin collecting web site that was mentioned on CNN. I got about 15,000 hits the first day, the next day around 7,000 and then it trickled down to the normal 1,000-1,500 a day. It wasn't a major news item, just an aside, but I was pretty impressed that so many people remembered the URL from seeing it on TV. If I remember correctly, there weren't that many WebTV users in the traffic either.
posted by jaden at 3:19 PM on July 22, 2002

My experience of traffic drivers is that Wired, NY Times, and Slashdot are the biggest movers, but that very, very few of those visitors will stick around.

You neglect to mention what a blessing this is. :-)

Whenever K5 gets Slashdotted we have this horrible multi-week period of new-reader-integration and re-education. We've made it through many times in the past, and it seems to get progressively easier, but it's still there. Culture shock is very real.

Fark is at the next tier, followed by cruel.com, and then Kuro5hin, lagging behind those two.

Farkers are busy posting comments about how much [whatever thing was linked to] sux0rs, and half of the K5ers are busy posting outraged comments about things that are explained in the linked pages, which no one visited because they're too damn lazy to ever leave the site, while the other half are busy posting comments demanding that the author summarize the linked pages in the story because, well, same reason. ;-)

Incidentally, while MeFi usually figures in the top 15 referrers for K5 in a given month, being linked here doesn't seem to make much impact. Except that one time, when we ended up on Slashdot, Wired, C|Net, and MeFi all at once. It was hard to tell who was doing the most damage in that four-way clusterfuck though.
posted by rusty at 11:03 AM on July 23, 2002

posted by pikachulolita at 1:09 PM on July 23, 2002

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