The Vicissitudes of Web Traffic

Comment TrollI was a little concerned after I wrote, More Libertarian Economic Hokum. Writing about libertarians tends to bring them out and I have to admit: they exhaust me. I’ve written about various aspects of libertarianism over the years, and they tend to attract very long winded comments that treat any particular article as though I’m claiming that it and it alone is the ultimate refutation of the ideology. I generally refer them to my tens of thousands of words written elsewhere and that tends to shut them up. That, I assume, is because despite the intellectual conceit of libertarians, as a group, they are extremely lazy intellectually.

This isn’t true of all libertarians. Certainly, Robert Nozick was brilliant. The problem is that it is extremely rare to run into a libertarian who has read him. Instead, they form a very facile kind of libertarianism based upon Ayn Rand and other quasi-philosophers. If it is based upon any idea at all, it is based upon the useless non-aggression principle. But usually, they are just conservatives who don’t feel comfortable with the naked hatred of conservative social positions. And above all, they are relatively wealthy and educated people who are convinced that their successes are due to their own brilliance and hard work.

So the comments are generally not insightful. And given that the article I had just written was dashed off without the kind of thorough linking that I prefer when discussing economics, I could imagine getting a lot of push back. Not that I couldn’t defend myself. The article I was discussing was typical pseudo-economic libertarian analysis. It is a lot like global warming denial articles: cherry picked references with very spotty coverage. As I noted in my article, in general, the guy didn’t even try to make a cogent argument about his supposed myths. It was just taken as a given that the claim was wrong and he threw in a couple of references to make it seem like he had countered it. It was a surprisingly sloppy bit of writing from a publication that does feature some decent content.

Thus, I was a little freaked out when I noticed shortly after posting the article that Google Analytics was going crazing. People were streaming in to read that article. I figured that some libertarian posted it on Twitter or Reddit or Facebook and I would be inundated with comments like, “You’re just saying we should all be slaves!” Or maybe they would take the high road, “You’re just a doodoo pants!” But no such comments came in. No comments came in at all. It is probably just that I noticed Google Analytics at the right time. It normally takes a couple hundred views before getting a comment. And when the material is technical, it is even worse. So I was relieved, although doubtless some libertarian will eventually drop by and shout at me about the article.

The reason I’ve been paying a bit more attention to Google Analytics is that I noticed a distinct decrease in website traffic over the holidays. I’m used to Frankly Curious getting steadily more popular. Each week gets more traffic than the week before. But suddenly, that wasn’t happening. I thought that maybe I had plateaued. There is also my constant fear that my work isn’t as good as it once was. But ever the optimist, I continued. And then on Friday — the first real day after the holidays — the traffic shot up. And it continued Saturday and Sunday and, I assume, today.

A more important aspect of traffic that has been changing the past few months is that I’m getting a smaller percentage of visitors from search engines. Instead, more people are just coming here directly — apparently to see what the freak is ranting about now. These visitors didn’t decrease much during the holidays. It was more the search engine traffic — most of it going to the archive.

None of this matters all that much, except in that it keeps me writing. But increased traffic does bring some annoyances. Infidel753 recently reported about a bulletin board attack on him, where the commenter wrote, “Dumbf**k Infidel753 encourages the mockery of religion; believes religion and rectitude must be eradicated.” Of course, Infidel753 is a well regarded blogger who’s been around forever. I doubt it bothers him and a comment that silly is hard to take seriously. But it still sucks to have idiots dump on you. And that’s even true when you are throwing bombs, as I did in the article earlier today.

2 thoughts on “The Vicissitudes of Web Traffic

  1. Frank – your articles are just the right length for a guy like me to read on lunch break. Thus with school out for Christmas, I did not read your stuff. Soon to catch up, and thanks as usual for your interesting writing.

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