May 30, 2002

WEB TRAFFIC SMACKDOWN: Well, not exactly. John Garthwaite, over at the C-LOG (that’s “see-log” as in conservative-log, not “clog” as in plumbing) has criticized TAP’s numbers, and now TAPPED is firing back.

Well, this kind of thing is why I put an open counter on my site. It seems to undercount somewhat compared to my server stats logs (I don’t understand how this can be, but several people told me Extreme Tracker undercounts) but the difference isn’t huge — maybe 10% at most, and given the inherent unreliability of web stats that’s within the noise floor. I did it basically because I was unhappy with John Scalzi’s remark that some bloggers might be padding their numbers. So why not do the same?

I understand why actual commercial sites that sell advertising and stuff might be especially sensitive about such claims of number-padding (and read TAPPED’s response to see that they are), but I don’t understand why anyone would object to an open counter. Advertisers know your traffic — they can look at their own server logs. (Yeah, I know ad-blockers affect that some, but in a well-understood way). So who would you be hiding it from?

Print media are shy about this stuff because they do all sorts of things to inflate their paid circulation figures (like bundling “free” newspapers with hotel stays in a way that lets them be counted as paid) but on the Web advertisers are harder to fool. I recommend transparency.

BTW, Garthwaite seems to have broken his Blogger template. I had the same problem, and could only fix it by restoring my template from a backup file. Hope he’s got one. Another minor but annoying Blogger bug.

Hey John: Hire Stacy Tabb to move you over to Movable Type.

UPDATE: Seems to have fixed the Blogger problem.