PHUKET: A story on a local blog last weekend continued to celebrate a “War” which it had declared several months ago, not against, but rather on behalf of and between, two of Phuket’s newspapers.
We understood the writer’s interests at the time and have marveled at his diligence in following the conflagration with regular weekly reports.
But the blog’s ‘report’ last Saturday turned ugly when its author abandoned all pretext of objectivity and entered the fray himself, hurling wild charges and innuendo at both newspapers – this one for false Web traffic statistics.
That the story was self-serving is clear, for the concluding paragraphs are devoted solely to exaltation of the blog’s many virtues.
That it was inappropriate is also beyond doubt, its publisher having quietly removed it within 48 hours of launching it onto the Web.
We would like to assure the publisher that the newspapers he accuses have not conspired in any way to plunder his blog.
We must also assert that the Phuket Gazette does not falsify its Web traffic statistics.
When we three weeks ago implemented publication of what are effectively audited statistics, a first in Phuket, we did so of our own volition, in the belief that readers, advertisers and marketing professionals would appreciate it.
But this was not simply a substitution of statistics for traditional traffic adjectives like “huge” and “massive”. We had already been reporting our Web numbers daily for close to a decade.
Those statistics included the visits of robots, also known as ‘crawlers’, sent to our site by search engines (Google, et al), news aggregators (like Google News and Topix), and subscribers to the Gazette Online’s various content feeds (mainly news and events).
In our daily presentation of the statistics, we highlighted the fact that they included the crawlers. But as the growth and update frequency of our site accelerated rapidly over the past three years, the crawler component soared, fueled particularly by the demand from our newsfeed subscribers and a rapidly growing number news aggregators worldwide.
So we decided to turn to Google Analytics (GA) who have the ability to distinguish between human and robotic visitors, and who report only the former.
We made the switch to GA even though the lower numbers recorded by that source would not necessarily be in our own best interests. Indeed, many professionals have told us that we’ve now hived off our most compelling data for advertisers.
It’s the robots who put us where we are in the search results. It’s Google – not us – who rate us Number One for Web page importance for Phuket (an honor we’re happy to share with Phuket.Com). And it’s also the robots who carry our event announcements, business listings and classified ads all over the world.
We call upon the blogger so critical of Phuket’s licensed newspapers to publish his own Web statistics, and to perhaps review the authenticity of the word “war” when he applies it to others.
We’d have thought ‘competition’ a more honest word, albeit less exciting and effective in attracting readers.
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