Thanks for Your Visits

Cheryl Morgan mentioned a while back that

November now being over, I can happily report that for the first time ever Emerald City has averaged over 2000 unique visitors per day.

Now of course there are few things more fraudulent that web site statistics, and in the case of unique vists a major problem is knowing how many of them are real people and how many are software bots of various sorts…

I was checking my own stats the other day, in response to an advertising query, and was pleased to see that Locus Online has been attracting some 50,000 visitors per week… anywhere from 8 to 11 thousand unique visitors per day. (See for yourself.) This is up from 20,000 visitors per week only a year or so ago.

My point is not to upstage Cheryl, but to echo her realization that these statistics are of dubious significance. What is a ‘visitor’? How many of them are bots, as opposed to real people who might buy stuff? I’ve always found the difference between ‘visits’ and ‘unique visitors’ perplexing, since the latter is always higher, sometimes by a significant fraction. How can there be more visitors than visits? (As best as I’ve been able to determine, it’s because a ‘visit’ is defined as some series of requests from the site lasting a certain overall minimum time, and some ‘visitors’ might take a stab at the site then quickly disappear, thus not counting as a ‘visit’. But I’ve never gotten an answer on this score from my hosting service.)

In any case, I’m happy to be able to claim that Locus Online attracts several times more visitors (per week) than there are subscribers to Locus Magazine (per month). Now if only all my visitors would send me a buck a month…

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