A popular post can be a double-edged sword

What on earth’s going on? was my reaction at about 3.15pm when I happened to notice the little ‘Visiting NevOn’ Geoloc map showing 26 simultaneous visitors to this blog. I quickly grabbed a screenshot, shown here.

The little green circles (or ‘throbbing green doughnuts’  as one visitor has commented) show the countries where current visitors are. The red dots show the countries of previous visitors.

A quick dip into my Statcounter visitor stats showed that over 90% of these visitors were all looking at one post – the short one I wrote yesterday about Jeremy Wright’s experiences with US Immigration, with links to his posts. And the vast majority of visits were from the US. And, the high visitor traffic has been going on for much of this afternoon.

Why would this post gain so much attention? As the subject of the post, Jeremy’s writings on his blog are far more substantive and, well, by Jeremy himself. Jeremy, maybe you’ve had a big spike in visitors today as well.

26 visitors at once isn’t anything to shout about for a lot of blogs (Jeremy probably gets that many every hour), but for this blog it’s a lot when the most I’ve usually seen at any one time is about 14.

Looking more at the stats, it intrigued me to note that the majority of the individual visits were coming in from ‘no referring link.’ That usually means the visitor clicked on a link in an email or a favorite. In other words, not coming from a link on another web page. The details in the stats for ‘host name’ showed some interesting things – lots of ‘gov,’ ‘state,’ ‘mil’ and ‘edu’ in those names identified as being in the US. And the locations – Washington DC, Maryland, Virginia. All close to (if not at) where the federal government is.

Ah, the time. 3.15pm here in Amsterdam is 9.15am on the US east coast. People getting into their offices, on the net, etc.

So suddenly my little blog’s under a federal spotlight. Hmm, not sure I like the sound of that! I wonder if those friendly immigration folk will ask me about it on my next trip over (he says jokingly).

Then I spotted a referring URL link: http://www.politechbot.com/2005/03/18/dont-say-blogger/. That belongs to Politech which, the site says: "Politech is the oldest Internet resource devoted to politics and technology. Launched in 1994 by Declan McCullagh, the mailing list has chronicled the growing intersection of law, culture, technology, and politics. Since 2000, so has the Politech web site."

And indeed, the post there is the text of my post as an email. That explains the ‘no referring link.’

Declan, thanks (I think) for the exposure. Politech clearly has a lot of subscribers.

Now I need to persuade TypePad that it’s really not my fault that I’ve exceeded my monthly bandwidth allowance in just one day…

4 thoughts on “A popular post can be a double-edged sword

  1. >>the majority of the individual visits were coming in from ‘no referring link.’
    That’s what I thought, too, but many computers now have Symantec Internet Security and other software that strips the referrer data before they visit your site. On another site I work with, I would guess that at least 1/3 of the referrers are being stripped.

  2. I would not be too worried, although if you are not used to it I can see how it would be disconcerting. My guess is those were Congressional staffers and military public affairs officers groaning and clutching their brow.

  3. Thanks Drew. That’s a good point.
    Alice, my tongue wasn’t firmly enough in my cheek with that comment about my next US visit. The double-edged sword metaphor is to do with lots of visitors vs. increased bandwidth.
    Mind you, you do wonder, though… 😉
    Eric, I’m not surprised to see those stats for Jeremy’s blog. So the comment in my post saying he probably gets 26 an hour was a bit out, don’t you think? Actually, I recall Jeremy mentioning in January (in the podcast interview) that he’s seeing 100K+ unique visitors a month. So 40K is almost half his monthly traffic in one day.
    I’m still seeing high inbound traffic to the original post on my blog. Now, though, there are lots of referring URL links, so the post on the Politech site has been re-posted in a wide variety of blogs and websites.
    A great example of the broad and deep connectivity of information now, and how rapidly it spreads, globally.

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