f/k/a archives . . . real opinions & real haiku

February 14, 2004

Those Misleading Traffic Stats

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 6:59 pm

graph up phantom hits?


“But, Baby, you know I love you — look at all those page-hits I’ve been sending your weblog!”


The lady in question would be a fool to swallow that line.  Likewise, it’s foolhardy for anyone to gauge the marketing value of a weblog (or the professional qualities of its editor) by giving any significant credence to its “web traffic” figures, whether counted as “page hits” or “individual visitors”.  For weblog boosters to suggest otherwise seems — to me — to be very misleading.   

  • See the FTC Policy Statement on Deception (“the Commission will find deception if there is a representation, omission or practice that is likely to mislead the consumer acting reasonably in the circumstances, to the consumer’s detriment”); and FTC Policy Statement Regarding Advertising Substantiation (“Objective claims for products or services represent explicitly or by implication that the advertiser has a reasonable basis supporting these claims. These representations of substantiation are material to consumers.”)

As is explained at MarketingTerms.com, a hit is a “Request of a file from a Web server.”

The term “hit” is perhaps the most misused term in online marketing, mistakenly used to mean unique visitors, visits, page views, or all of the above.  A hit is merely a request for a file from a Web server. A request for a Web page counts as a hit, but so does a request for a graphic on a Web page. Since the number of graphics per page can vary considerably, hits mean very little for comparison purposes.


I started hearing about the vastly over-inflated numbers used (and, indeed, intentionally manipulated) by webloggers before I started this weblog.  I became particularly suspicious last October, when — a month after I declared the site dormant and stopped all posting — my page hits were down only 14% from my very best numbers.  


Dennis Kennedy noted when his site hit the Magic Million-Hit Mark, “the number of hits statistic can be very misleading, especially given all the hits on a site (especially a blog site) that happen automatically by robots, spiders and other software animals few of us really understand.”  Also, one industry observer stated in an article almost four years ago:

“[P]lacing too much importance on page views and unique visitors is folly. Some analysts believe an over-reliance on those types of statistics contributed to flooding the e-commerce world with businesses destined to failure. (E-Commerce Times, Lies, Damned Lies, and Unique Visitors, June 21, 2000)

That’s why it pains me to see the esteemed Jerry Lawson, treating weblog traffic numbers as an important indicator of the power of weblogs, and pointing to Dennis Kennedy’s tripling of website traffic in 2003 as a meaningful event.    [Honest, I’m not picking on you guys; it’s just that you’re among the small number of sites I regularly monitor.]  Those numbers tells us next to nothing about the “quality” of the hits. [Just Counting Site Visits Is No Longer Enough, (Washington Post, August 15, 2001)]  


We need to be far less effusive in “selling” the importance  of weblogs as a marketing tool — at least until we can gauge whether the “visitors” are human and the humans are doing any buying.

update (Sept. 10, 2005):  For several months now, I’ve been using two (free) services that

count “unique visitors.”  It appears that actual visitors are about 50% of my “page loads,”

and tend to be 6 to 10 percent of “hits” measured by my webserver. 



Bankruptcy and Bar Admission – Part 3

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 2:00 pm

They’re ganging up on me over at Scheherazade’s place.  I could use some allies. 

boxer gray . . . . . . boxer gray flip

Here’s my most recent Comment there:

Does anybody read or listen to what some one else is saying before unloading their black-or-white, preconceived, or ultra-glib response? Are we really a society where almost no one can make a nuanced judgment – not even those trained to “think like a lawyer”?

I do not think there would be a lot of instances where going bankrupt would preclude a lawyer from being admitted to the bar, due to misuse or abuse of the bankruptcy privilege.

I do not think many (or virtually any) of the small group whose situation would warrant a closer look are part of the demographic group of double-income families with large mortgages and huge child-care expenses.

I do think that lawyers have special duties and obligations that warrant some ethics screening prior to admission.

The fact that there are some very good reasons to go bankrupt and that many very good (and often very unlucky) people do use bankruptcy to get a new start, in no way justifies looking the other way when an applicant for a position that includes enormous trust and responsibility, and bestows many privileges, appears to have abused the system.  [e.g., intentionally living a very high-life while in college and law school with the intention of going bankrupt before heading out into the real world]

Help.  Sometimes, silence is not golden (it’s yellow).

(Old) Lawyers in Love

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 4:57 am

embrace gray flip . .

The Valentine theme got this weblawger thinking for the first time in years about Jackson’s Browne’s 1983 song Lawyers in Love, from the album of the same name. Browne’s 1977 anthem Running on Empty, appeared during my first year practicing law, and captured the out-of-control fatigue of the anxious neophyte in a high-powered, government job. 

Only six years later, the cynicism and “strangled cries” of Lawyers in Love, which marked  Browne’s transition from the realm of the personal lyric to the political, again fit the mood of this journeyman lawyer, jaded by the do-nothing enforcement policies of the Reagan White House, and by a ball-and-chain career that had lost its glow but refused to release its grasp on me. 

  • In each of those years, my heart had been broken by a brilliant and beautiful lawyer (not the same one), just before Valentine’s Day.  That saved me an expensive night on the town and a hefty bill for flowers, but left me wondering whether any part of my life would ever be fulfilling or fulfilled.  [violins, please]

embrace  Over two decades have passed since I drove around DC and Northern Virginia in my aging VW Rabbit singing “Lawyers in Love,” smiling at the adolescent double entendre of “Rosie,” and enjoying a full 90 minutes of recorded-for-personal-use songs by Jackson Browne.   Tonight’s Google search for “Lawyers in Love” — which was sparked by the question, “Did anyone ever write a song called ‘Old Lawyers in Love'” [apparently not] — brought me the news that Jackson Browne will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in March (along with the Dells, George Harrison, Prince, Bob Seger, Traffic and Z.Z. Top). 

I’m pleased that Browne’s career as a singer-songwriter is being celebrated, and I hope he’s loved his life’s work and found his life’s love.  My legal career didn’t turn out to be particularly inspiring or fulfilling, but it did offer a lot of challenges, successes and meaningful relationships. And, it has now morphed into this rewarding soapbox and scrapbook.  

Some of my early readers may remember that I posted a Personal Ad here last July: ISO: “Attractive Nuisance” Blawgger.  I must report that the ad has yielded no prospects for a weblogging mate or a Valentine’s date.  The result is this plaintive haiku:

Feb. 14 . . .

mailbox filled with cards

from relatives

…….[dag, 02-13-04]

mail neg

But, Spring hopes eternal, and I’m thinking I might awaken in the morning with a romantic poem on the tip of my fingers.  If I do, you’ll be the first to know.

Meanwhile, may you all feel loved and appreciated on this Valentine’s Day!

  • And, a special tip of the hat to my weblawgging friend and the light of his life out there in California.   Save a toast for me.  It’s good to see that Old Lawyers in Love is not just a rejected song title.

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