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« Skeptics' Circle #52 The RantsSkeptics' Circle #53 »

Well, At Least It's Not All Spam
2007.01.24 (Wed) 00:48

Some of you might have noticed the, ah, "flurry" of activity over on one of our old Sylvia Browne posts. Okay, screw "flurry" — blizzard, monsoon, supernova explosion...any of those might be a better description.

To put it in really, really basic terms: this month, we've tended to get hits in the low five-digits each day. In our busy months (of which January certainly wasn't one), we usually hit an average in the mid five-digits per day, with peaks when we write a particularly popular post — or when we get a particularly favorable link from a more popular website.

Well, chalk AOL's news site up as a "more popular website" — thanks to a very random mention in their entertainment news, we got 1,172,050 hits on Tuesday alone. Don't worry, we're not letting it go to our heads, and we expect the hits to taper off as people get bored — we were never in this for the hits, anyway. (The money and the power, sure, but not the hits. By the way, we're still waiting for the money and power. Somebody get on that.)

But meanwhile, the point is that we're getting quite overwhelmed with visitors! Not "technically" — our server is fine (we've got a great host and a great package) — but in sheer terms of workload: trying to keep up with comments, contact form submissions, and newly excited spammers.

Add to all that the recent birth of a beautiful Two Percent baby (congratulate Tom, would you?) and real life work continuing apace with several challenging deadlines one on top of the other all this week (commiserate with Jeff, would you?), and we'll declare pretty confidently that we're probably not going to be getting anything else new up any time soon. We've got Rants in the works, but simply no time to work on them.

To those folks who are just joining us for the first time: welcome! Sit down, make yourself comfortable, and try not to wreck up the place. If you want to get a taste for the Two Percent flavor, feel free to browse through some of our Greatest Hits, as you won't be getting anything new for at least a week! We do have that cumbersome "real life" thing to attend to, sorry.

In addition, if you're all really interested in that wicked witch who calls herself Sylvia Browne, you'd do well to check out Robert Lancaster's Stop Sylvia Browne site — he's the expert on Browne, we just mention her occasionally.

To the regulars: you probably already figured out we were busy, and with these new 1.1 million hits in one day (and a corresponding number of communications to deal with), it's just going to get busier. Sorry about that, but we'll try to get back in the saddle as soon as we can.

As a bonus, for those who were having trouble keeping track of the frenetic back-and-forth over on the old (and suddenly extremely popular) Rant, we would like to present our response to a quite silly person called JOhn, who asserted that our liberal use of profanity must indicate our "lack of education." Just for fun, we took our cue from the Bard:

Forsooth, dear JOhn! We think they be quite wrought
With humor fit to send us into fits
Of laughter, thy divine inspired words.
For only one whose education lacks
Exposure to the raucous tongues of man
Wouldst posit, in so serious a tone,
An axiom, unfounded, with no bite,
That truth abandons, when 'tis come to light.
If only thy prodigious might of mind
In nobler purpose could be so engaged —
To wit, addressing Sylvia's deceit
Instead of Two Percent's profanity.
But simple minds to simple comments be
Like lodestones lit upon our iron swords,
And simple minds like thine shall ever be
Inept to see the meaning for the words.
And so, with all sincerity, thou tool,
We say to thee: Fuck off, O flaccid fool.

We rather doubt JOhn got it. Must be a lack of education.

So wish us luck with our babies, jobs, and inexplicable popularity with a huge assortment of web surfers with "aol.com" addresses. We feel like the prom queen; except not quite as pretty, and we plan to keep our dresses on tonight. But, as with the one-thrust-and-it's-over prom king, the experience should turn out to be just as fleeting.

We'll keep you posted. Cheers.

[This Rant was edited to correct the Stop Sylvia Browne site links, after fuckhole vulture Boris Kreiman stole the original domain from Robert Lancaster. — The Management.]

— • —
[  Filed under: % Two Percent Company  ]

Comments (14)

geronimo, 2007.01.24 (Wed) 10:27 [Link] »

so that's why my hits have gone up... i think i have as many as ten linking from you guys. since i know no one wants to read my rantings and/or baby stories (so therefore no money or power for me), i am in it for the hits.
thanks for doubling my traffic, two percenters!
congrats, tom!
jeff, remember logan's run, and be at peace.

and JOhn, if you want to see some profanity, come on over. i've got it in spades, and a largely useless education to boot!

Tom from the Two Percent Company, 2007.01.24 (Wed) 12:00 [Link] »

Thanks, g. As you know, it's exhausting, but incredible.

Skeptico, 2007.01.24 (Wed) 12:08 [Link] »

A million plus hits. Are you sure? Your site meter shows more like 40,000.


The Two Percent Company, 2007.01.24 (Wed) 18:09 [Link] »

We're pretty sure, Skep. We took a screen cap of our internal statistics around the time you wrote your comment — we use AWStats, and while all stats packages report the numbers somewhat differently, we trust our own server a little more than SiteMeter. At the very least, we know what our stats usually are, and the magnitude of this peak alone is clear just from the number of comments we've received in the past day or so.

More relevant, though, is the fact that SiteMeter calculates "number of visitors" and "page views" rather than "hits," as you can see on their page. Since those numbers on our stats package are comparable to SiteMeter's offerings, that certainly seems to indicate that SiteMeter is "getting it right," but just not reporting actual hits.

Skeptico, 2007.01.24 (Wed) 20:19 [Link] »

Seems like you get 20 to 50 hits for each visit. And 10 to 15 hits each page view. So what's a "hit"?

Infophile, 2007.01.24 (Wed) 23:44 [Link] »

That's the question. I'm not up on how it all works specifically, but my guess is that each page viewed has to load data from a variety of locations within their site due to templates, widgets, and stuff. Each different location read might register a "hit." If that's the case, then "page views" would probably be the best measure.

Anyways, congrats on your new-found popularity, and to Tom on his little 0.2 Percenter.

Tom from the Two Percent Company, 2007.01.25 (Thu) 14:03 [Link] »

Thanks, Infophile. She may just be a 0.2 percenter, but she's keeping me 100% busy!

Skeptico, 2007.01.25 (Thu) 14:31 [Link] »

You live and learn. I always thought a hit was the same as a page view - shows how much I know.


The Two Percent Company, 2007.01.25 (Thu) 16:35 [Link] »

What's a hit? Up until yesterday, it beat the heck out of us, mostly because we never cared enough to check into it. We've always noticed that each stats engine that we use (like SiteMeter, AWStats, Google Ads...) seems to show vastly different numbers, with wildly different terms to describe what they mean, and we've never managed to completely reconcile them all.

However, with a bit of cursory reading, we think Infophile got it right: it seems that the "hits" we get roughly represent the number of page views multiplied by the number of different referenced elements (e.g., stylesheets, graphics, Flash, scripts) that a given visited page loads up when viewed. Honestly, the key indicator we're looking at is the fact that all of our statistics — visits, page views, and hits — in AWStats (and more or less confirmed by SiteMeter) seem to have experienced a dramatic increase of between 25 and 65 times our usual average numbers. Don't worry, Skep, we're really not at all hung up on the "1 million hits" thing — it was just one number (of several) that confirmed the pretty clear perception that our traffic on January 23 had jumped by a rather significant amount.

dikkii, 2007.01.28 (Sun) 04:46 [Link] »

May I offer my congratulations at mastering iambic pentameter.

I've had a go at it before, but I'm not much of a poet. I prefer prose - it's a lot less structured.

HoboJustice, 2007.01.30 (Tue) 21:12 [Link] »

Well, I may be one of many who wandered over via an AOL link (embarassingly, I might add), but after browsing around a little, I think it's safe to say that I'll be back... intelligent diatribe is too rare a creature on the Intarnets to simply be ignored.

Oh, and Dub Shake would be proud, I'm sure.

Tom from the Two Percent Company, 2007.01.30 (Tue) 21:24 [Link] »

Out of curiosity, HoboJustice, what did the link to us from AOL look like? Our referral logs don't show us the proper page. All we see is a photo that looks like it should be embedded, but instead it's floating free on its own page.

By the way, I love the classification "intelligent diatribe." That brought a smile to my face! Glad to have you around.

HoboJustice, 2007.01.31 (Wed) 04:12 [Link] »

Well, it's been awhile now since it was up, but as I recall it was in fact an embedded picture in one of their sets of "crap we found around the internet, but we need to seem hip so we put it here" deals. I vaguely remember another one pointing to a clip of Olberman doing a nice, goofy "Christ vs. Cruise" piece on MSNBC. Anyway they generally take a set of ten to fifteen photos that you can click forward or backward through in a corner of a page, which does its thing seperate from the rest of the page, which is probably why your referral logs aren't much use. Hope it helps... it's 3 in the damn morning now, and I'm at my descriptive limits.

Tom from the Two Percent Company, 2007.01.31 (Wed) 13:38 [Link] »

HoboJustice — thanks for the information. That's far more than we had. And don't worry — for 3AM, that wasn't a bad description at all.

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