Sunday, September 03, 2006

Comments on Web Traffic

This blog gets about 50 visitors a day, and most new visitors arrive as the result of a google search for my name, Thumper/ZFS or the SE toolkit. There is a very small number of yahoo and msn searches. The other main source of traffic is the Sun Community blogging site, which links to Sun Alumni's blogs including this one. A few weeks ago I got a lot of traffic from Sun, and I think I traced it back to a blog entry from Jonathan Schwartz, who talked about his General Counsel's blog, and Mike Dillon the GC mentioned the Sun Community blog site. This doubled my traffic for a week or two.

The other recent change is that I stopped showing adverts from ctxbay, which was created by an eBay developer as a side project, won a prize, but never really worked well enough to be useful. I've replaced them with the official eBay in-house AdContext system, which is being beta tested. AdContext looks at your page content, and matches keywords it with popular items from eBay. It can be configured to exclude certain keywords (in my case I exclude "Adrian", which was causing problems for ctxbay), and you can choose certain categories or stores to pick items from. I've picked Technology Books and some Storage hardware categories. I'm going to experiment with different formats and constraints, to see how well it works.

There are three formats, text only, pictures (which I started with) and flash (which scrolls multiple adds into the same amount of screen space). I'll switch it to flash when I get around to it...

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  1. Hi, just read your blog entry on "Comments on Web Traffic". You don't mention traffic coming from RSS aggregators, or are you including that in your totals? I use bloglines to track a few blogs, and only very rarely decloak to view the actual blog page. Doesn't this kind of behaviour make analysing blog web traffic a tad tricky?

    BTW, it was a pain to post a comment on your blog (had to subscribe to blogger, and set up a new account/user/passwd combo which I will no doubt forget moments from now).

  2. Thanks for the comment Chris,

    I also use bloglines, and I don't see anything in SiteMeter that lets me figure out how much traffic I get via aggregators.

    From one point of view, the aggregators strip out the formatting and adverts, so the traffic I can count is the traffic that sees the adverts. Its the repeat readers who subscribe via a feed who don't see the ads in the sidebar. I've seen some blogs insert ads into the feed.

    The comments issue is two-edged. If I allow anonymous comments I have to clear up blog spam. However by making it harder to leave a comment I get fewer interesting comments. Also, the RSS feed agregators like Bloglines don't include comments by default.


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