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Bonkers Blog December 2011

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30 December (Part 1) - Bragging again…

Web statisticsI suspect that bloggers look at web statistics in much the same way politicians read opinion polls. Regarding poor results as unrepresentative, wallowing in the warm glow of a good score and bashing the opposition with them. I know I should take the stats with a pinch of salt but they nevertheless remain fascinating to me.

The Christmas period on Bonkers has been disappointing with the numbers falling off the edge of a cliff which is why I have not blogged anything to be taken too seriously. Christmas Day only just surpassed the 100 unique visitors mark and most of the big company names and all the universities that are regular visitors have been missing all week. The Greater London Authority and the House of Commons looked in but the net result is that December’s figures are down on November’s by 12%. The first monthly drop seen all year.

If you have ever used a PC clean-up utility you may have seen it removing tracking cookies. Tiny computer programs that get on to your hard drive and monitor your browsing habits and send data to their parent companies so that they can sell it to advertisers and the like. Some of them make the collected information available on line. One such company claims that Bexley council’s website attracts about 335,000 visitors a month which is a lot less than councillor Campbell was claiming at a council meeting two or three months ago. It doesn’t make councillor Campbell a liar, it merely demonstrates that there are various ways of measuring site hits and some are grossly optimistic and the whole subject should be treated with caution. What may be more interesting is comparing how such companies rate sites which are in some way similar.

Looking at Bexley council’s site, Bonkers, the three local newspapers and blogs in and around Bexley only the council, the News Shopper and Bonkers make it into the top million most popular sites world-wide. The News Shopper lags behind the council by a small margin and Bonkers by a much bigger one for world-wide hits. However UK hits tell a different story as shown by the figures in the graphic. The News Shopper has an unfair advantage over the others, it covers six local authority areas. Bonkers being ranked 51,670 may sound like a rubbish position but with other local news outlets being in seven figure territory (eight figures on a world-wide basis) perhaps it’s not so bad after all.

While writing the above I received two emails about yesterday’s blog. One from an anonymous friend to say it was a rather weak dig at Bexley council and another to say it was a good one. I’m inclined to agree with the former, but it was never meant to be anything other than mildly amusing. Don’t worry Mr.  Anon. I’m sure something juicier can be found with which to start the new year.


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