It’s official: SiteMeter no longer gives a damn

The Thinker by Rodin

Once upon a time when you wanted to meter your site, SiteMeter was the only solution. I started metering my blog with SiteMeter around 2004 because that’s what all the cool blogs were doing. Not that my “impressions” (page views) were ever that impressive, at least according to SiteMeter. Their meter went up and down but generally I was somewhere between a hundred and two hundred page views a day.

As I documented elsewhere, their metrics were grossly inflated, as they caught obvious search engines, which are not human beings. Still, it was useful to get a general snapshot of blog traffic. One click got you an up to the minute report. Google Analytics makes you log in and by default you are always a day behind. Despite its shortcomings, SiteMeter is useful. It excels in useful reports that always just one click away.

Around six a.m. on September 24, SiteMeter stopped metering my blog. The reports still come up but they just show zero traffic. Of course, this blog’s web traffic had not stopped, as evidenced by the fact that you are reading this. Both Google Analytics and StatCounter showed the usual site traffic. I thought maybe my tracking code had expired, but when I was finally able to log in to the SiteMeter manager and review my tracking code I found that it had not changed. So then I figured maybe they just weren’t aware that they weren’t catching my blog’s statistics. So I sent them a support request. More than a week later, I still have heard nothing.

Granted, it is hard to give me much attention when I don’t pay them anything. Most of SiteMeter’s customers don’t pay them. This limits us webmasters to the last 100 page views or visits and overall statistics, but they still have plenty of opportunities to make money from me. Every time I go to check out a SiteMeter report I see no less that two ads, one on the top and one on the side, will appear. And I typically checked the site a half dozen or so times during the day.

Go to SiteMeter’s web site today and it suggests that no one is minding the store. Their latest announcement was in February 2009. Their newest widget is for Windows Vista. They will still take your money quickly enough, if you want to pay for their service. It’s not worth paying for when there are so many superior and free alternatives. Why pay for a service when they cannot be bothered to maintain the site or troubleshoot problems? I imagine they hired some hacks to put the whole thing in the Amazon cloud and just forgot about it. To the extent they pay attention to it, it is to collect Google Adsense revenue. It probably pays for plenty of margaritas at the bar close to their deck chair along a beach in the Bahamas.

Not that they have cut off all my metering with SiteMeter. I also use SiteMeter on two other domains, and they are continuing to run fine. Their statistics, of course, are bogus and inflated as well, but I can still look at SiteMeter reports for these domains. For more official statistics, I go into Google Analytics.

However, Google Analytics tells you far more than you need to know. It’s an amazing product, just overkill for all but the most diehard web statisticians. SiteMeter’s user interface is simple, usable and clean. What I really need to do is emulate their reports and tie it directly into Google Analytics. Being lazy, however, I just haven’t gotten around to it. I’ve searched around to see if someone has taken the time to build SiteMeter-like reports for Google Analytics. If they have, I can’t find them or they are afraid of a lawsuit from SiteMeter’s lawyers. However, if I roll my own, I figure they’ll never know. So when I find some free time for the project, I plan to do it. It looks straightforward if you can write some code to parse a XML file.

Like Craigslist Casual Encounters, it appears that tracking your site with SiteMeter is now simply a waste of your time. So I’ll be removing my tracking code. No reason that I should give them my business since they obviously don’t care about retaining it.

Web statistics are untrustworthy

The Thinker by Rodin

Like many site owners, I monitor my web traffic. And every year I rediscover what Disraeli discovered long ago. There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics. The problem with web statistics is it is often hard to discern who is lying and by how much.

Most of us site owners care principally about one thing: how many eyeballs are looking at our site. And the answer turns out to be: no one really knows for sure. If you collect statistics using a hosted package like Awstats, it will accurately tell you how many overall hits and page requests you received, but at best it will poorly discern which of these represent eyeballs on the other end, instead of search engine robots and crawlers.

Based on my research, not even the mighty Google really knows. Because Google has tons of resources to throw at the web statistics problem, I figured they should know best. But it turns out that even Google can be fooled. At least that’s what I have inferred because around June 28, 2011 the number of page views on my site per day dropped roughly in half and have stayed that way. The same was not true with SiteMeter and StatCounter, which were also tracking my site usage.

06-26-2011

307

06-27-2011

337

06-28-2011

164

06-29-2011

165

06-30-2011

155

07-01-2011

135

07-02-2011

116

Was I upset that fewer people than I thought were hitting my blog? Not really. I had been thinking for months that Google Analytics was overstating my page views since their numbers were higher than anyone else’s, including SiteMeter. Sure, a higher number is always more flattering than a lower number but the average person arriving by a search engine is not reading three pages on my site, which Google Analytics was suggesting. Get real. No, the average human comes to glance at some post it found via a search engine then quickly move on. Anyhow, as you can see, around June 28, 2011 Google Analytics started applying a new algorithm, filtering out about half the page requests it used to. What I suspect happened is that they realized they were counting as humans a whole mess of automated requests.

At least Google eventually realized their mistake. As I noted some time ago, SiteMeter simply does not care. For years it has included the Google search engine robot, among others search engines and robots among my visitors and page views. Yes, it’s technically true they visited, but clearly no human was looking at my site. I guess if the agent can fire off the embedded Javascript that pings SiteMeter, that’s good enough for SiteMeter. What’s clear is that SiteMeter has basically given up bothering to care. They were one of the first to market in this business, developed a huge market share, and now apparently is only interested in the revenue from selling ad space when you go to their site to check on your statistics.

To get an idea of what’s wrong with web statistics these days, let’s look at visits and page views for this last week. Which statistics provider would you trust? Google Analytics, SiteMeter or StatCounter?

Date

Visits

Page views

Google SiteMeter StatCounter Google SiteMeter StatCounter

10/5/11

143

149

161

174

209

188

10/6/11

125

152

153

143

195

176

10/7/11

105

130

116

124

211

139

10/8/11

80

113

97

100

150

114

10/9/11

104

131

111

119

227

135

10/10/11

149

183

175

179

259

209

10/11/11

116

164

146

123

298

159

Total

822

1022

959

962

1549

1120

Increase compared with Google Analytics

24%

17%

61%

16%

Granted, each may have different criteria for when a day begins and ends. The good news is that since Google now does a better job of filtering requests, it is now consistently showing the lowest number of visits and page requests, hence I am more likely to trust it. But since they made a major change to their count algorithm in June, it throws off all of their statistics for this site for 2011, which makes the overall statistics pretty useless.

SiteMeter obviously does not care, since you simply have to look at the visit details to see that many of them come from googlebot.com. It would be a simple matter to filter these out, but SiteMeter would rather sell ads than improve their filters. Overall, SiteMeter counts 24% more visits and 61% more page views than Google Analytics.

StatCounter appears to be doing a pretty good job. Its numbers are about 15-20% higher than Google Analytics, but at least it tracks proportionately with Google Analytics. Moreover, StatCounter clearly actively maintains its product, so it has some integrity. I have some sympathy for those in this business. It must be very confusing to provide any sort of reliable statistics because there is never any way of knowing for sure whether a human is at the other end or not. Then there are all sorts of “in the background” web hits enabled by Web 2.0 technologies, such as redrawing Google Maps. On the web anyone with the right technical knowledge can pretend to be a human. All a statistics service can really do is make reasonable inferences and continuously change their filters as new trends emerge.

Products like Google Analytics do a great job of slicing and dicing the data they decide to count. I particularly like some of the newer features, like the ability to see on a map those states and cities that are providing most of your hits, and statistics that show many mobile users you have and what kind of devices they are using. Given their inability to wholly discern human traffic from automated traffic, even those statistics are suspect. Still, they are one of the few providers capable of providing any statistics like this, and they do it for free. So even numbers that are probably somewhat off are still valuable.

The ultimate lesson for site owners: take your web statistics with a grain of salt. In particular, realize that SiteMeter is a tainted product, useless for meaningful statistics, and useful only for getting some idea of what pages were most recently viewed. In fact, you might as well get rid of your SiteMeter tracking code altogether.

More problems with SiteMeter

The Thinker by Rodin

I first started metering my blog using SiteMeter back in 2004 because it was free and it did not have much competition. It solved the general problem of knowing who was accessing my web site in a simple way that still seems quite elegant. Create a SiteMeter account, slap some code into your site’s templates and you were done. The only alternative we had back them was to hope our web hosts had installed a package like Awstats. In many ways, SiteMeter was better than Awstats because it filtered out a lot of the noise. Awstats was not that good with determining “real” visits and page views vs. “fake” visits and page views. “Fake” visits and page views are any access by search engines. They don’t represent an actual human being reading your site. SiteMeter and similar services can tell real viewers from fake viewers because it depends on the browser to read and execute some embedded Javascript. The Javascript in your browser essentially “pings” a remote server, passing on information about your access. Search engine robots generally cannot be bothered.

Over the years, I have developed my suspicions about how accurate SiteMeter was. However, it was at least a common benchmark, since SiteMeter was also metering most other prominent websites. At least it gave you some idea of your relevant web traffic. Back in 2006, Google became a serious player in the site analytics business. In 2007 I began also monitoring my site with Google Analytics.

Over the last few months, it became clear to me that SiteMeter was missing many page requests. While it came close to matching the number of visits to my site, it was way off in the number of page views. For example, here are some statistics over the last six days for my site:

Date Google Analytics SiteMeter
Visits Page Views Visits Page Views
3/22/10 174 286 147 212
3/23/10 167 418 152 201
3/24/10 150 319 165 190
3/25/10 127 296 143 176
3/26/10 143 369 146 189
3/27/10 87 289 91 144
Total 848 1977 844 1112

What explains the difference? One small factor is that Google Analytics tracks days in Pacific time, while SiteMeter tracks in Eastern time. However, Google Analytics is reporting more than forty percent more page views that SiteMeter, 865 more page views over the same six-day period!

I really don’t think Google Analytics is creating artificial page views. As best I can figure, SiteMeter is either not getting notified of these additional page views or, more likely, one or more page views per visit are getting lost on the Internet and not actually arriving at SiteMeter. Why would this be? This is speculation, of course, but Google has much deeper pockets than SiteMeter. I suspect they have more servers listening on the edge of the cloud than SiteMeter. If correct, this means that for Google Analytics to collect a “ping” there are fewer routers to hop through on its journey, so they are more likely to be recorded. Part of the problem may be SiteMeter’s more precarious revenue stream. I don’t pay SiteMeter for monitoring my site, which means the only money they make from me are from serving me ads when I (or others) visit SiteMeter to see my statistics.

There are other issues with SiteMeter that show that they are getting sloppy. SiteMeter is also including the Google Search engine as a visitor, which artificially inflates my page view. If you are being metered by SiteMeter, you may be affected as well. Look at Recent Visitors by Details. If for example you see “googlebot.com” as the domain and a large number of page views, it’s pretty obvious that these are not human beings reading your site and the Google search engine is indexing your site instead. This problem has persisted for months and I have brought it to SiteMeter’s attention. They clearly don’t consider fixing it a priority, which implies they are not very concerned about the accuracy of their statistics.

I can understand that keeping track of the myriad search engines out there is a large challenge. I am sure Google has the same issue, but I am also confident that Google has the resources to make sure my statistics are clean. It sure appears that SiteMeter does not, or gives much lower priority to us non-paying customers.

SiteMeter is still useful to me as a quick way to check usage on my site. It gives me an idea of whether a certain post has gained in popularity and who has visited the site recently. However, it is clear that it is, at best, a rough record of actual usage of your site and is probably underreporting your site’s actual numbers of page views. You would be wise not to read too much into its statistics. If you have not added Google Analytics tracking code, you might want to do so.

Google hits another home run with Google Analytics

The Thinker by Rodin

At least a few of the best things in life are actually free. For web site owners like me who want useful statistics on our visitors but do not want to pay for it (in either money, time or advertising) there is a slick solution: Google Analytics.

Until Google Analytics, I had mediocre statistical solutions. I monitor my site with the free versions of SiteMeter and StatCounter. However, both services offer only limited free features. Both allow you to see detailed information on your last hundred page views only. If you want more information, you need to take out your charge card.

On the too much information side, my web server of course logs every hit for all of my sites. My web host like most provides access to free Awstats reports. It does a nice job of summarizing the data in my web logs. However, the information tends to be about a day old. Moreover, since it logs everything it provides statistics that, while valid, are not always terribly meaningful. For example, I get many hits on my RSS and Atom feed links. Most of these are just machines polling my server at periodic intervals. It does not necessarily mean that someone is actually reading my content. In addition, I am too lazy to try to figure out how to tune my Apache web server and Awstats configuration files to split my three domains into separate reports. However, the price of Awstats cannot be beat, and it does give me a picture of the total volume of traffic my site is getting.

What I really care about are those who are actively reading content. SiteMeter provided a close approximation. I could look at its statistics, add in a weighting factor for my newsfeed hits and get an overall picture. Still, without paying for it I had no way to ask questions such as, “Which entry was most popular last month?” and “What search words bring the most people to my site?”

Enter Google Analytics, Google’s free web site statistics package. Finally, I have a convenient way to dig down and see the relevant information I am looking for without having to pay for it or maintain it. I also have a way to get detailed statistics beyond the last one hundred page views. Google provides it as a free service to all but the largest web sites. It is designed to work with your Google Adwords account. However, you do not need to have a Google Adwords account to use Google Analytics.

While not a perfect package, it is slick. First, its drawbacks. It is not as easy to add the metering code to your web pages as it is with SiteMeter or StatCounter. You will need to dig through your web site’s templates and add the appropriate code in the HTML headers and ask it to validate each site. Second, by default you do not get up to the minute information. Google Analytics defaults to showing you statistics through the previous day. Current information is there but you have to change your date range. Third, it cannot track your non-browser related hits. This is good and bad because much of it you would want to ignore anyhow (search engine robots come to mine). Others, like relevant hits on your newfeeds, would be useful. Fourth, it would be nice if it had an API (application programming interface). I suspect this will come soon. With an API, Sitemeter-like features such as counters that appear on your web pages could be implemented. (Some WordPress plug-in authors have already done some clever things.)

With these downsides though, look at what you get. First, there is no money or advertising. Second, it has a super-slick user interface built on top of Flash technology. It allows easy customization of your Google Analytics reports simply by dragging and dropping widgets. You can customize your dashboard to show your relevant statistics. You can also drill down to get relevant statistics easily, either by clicking on the link or by placing your mouse cursor over the relevant items on the graphics. Mouse-over dialog boxes tell you much relevant information without even needing to click. Move easily from one domain to another by selecting the domain from the selection list. Change the date criteria easily by opening up the date control and highlighting the dates you want.

Google Analytics provides a wealth of analytical information. Some of it, while relevant, can be hard to understand. What is a bounce rate anyhow? Convenient links provide more details. Data is organized into four major areas: visitor information, traffic content, sources and goals. The goals area is most useful if you are using their Google Adwords service. With it, you fine-tune your Google Adwords campaigns to help you bring in more traffic. This is where Google makes its money. If by offering you free analytics it can persuade you to open a Google Adwords account, or use it more frequently or effectively, it is good for their bottom line as well as yours.

I wish Google Analytics had a mode that allowed the public to see my statistics too. If it did, it would more resemble SiteMeter and StatCounter’s features. Perhaps this will come in some future version.

I have a feeling that Google Analytic’s free service is worrying SiteMeter, StatCounter and similar services. I got a recent notice from SiteMeter saying they will be rolling out an upgraded statistics package soon. With Google nipping at its heels, I would not be surprised if it offered expanded free services.

If you have been using SiteMeter and similar services, I think you owe it to yourself to add Google Analytics metering too.

The Problem with SiteMeter

The Thinker by Rodin

Okay this is a problem that probably means I am anal but it bugs me. I’ve been monitoring this site since March 2004 with SiteMeter. It’s a nice little service, particularly since I don’t have to pay for it. It’s fun to look at SiteMeter and see what people are looking at on my blog. It’s nice to know what interests them, what doesn’t, and how many pages they looked at while they are at my blog. For a few snippets of HTML in my MovableType templates I can get this information fairly easily. So can you. Look for the little SiteMeter icon at the bottom of my pages.

Lately though my traffic, as measured by SiteMeter has been down. Way down. These things happen. The gods of Google can give and they can take. About 80% of my traffic comes from keyword searches, usually using Google. Perhaps last year when I was heavy into writing political blog entries my site was more likely to get noticed. But my political entries are fewer and further between. Why? Mostly because others say it much better than I do. It is hard to come up with a unique perspective or new political thoughts these days. Also it’s easier to strike out if you make political predictions. I’ve made some great calls and I’ve made some lousy calls. But s’okay. No one gets them all. And I suspect I am doing better than most political prognosticators.

Still it’s reasonable to wonder what’s going on. Based on Sitemeter my blog has been nearly flushed down the toilet. A month or so ago according to SiteMeter I was averaging two hundred or more page views per day. Lately I’ve gone down to as low as thirty page views per day. Perhaps with summer coming on people have other distractions. Or it could be that SiteMeter is doing a lousy job of monitoring my web site.

I am virtually certain it is the latter. Because my domain is hosted I have access to the actual web server logs. My web host offers two packages that summarize my web log information for me, Webalizer and Awstats. Awstats is the better package so when I want to use it that’s the one I use.

Here is my latest SiteMeter monthly chart showing visits and page views over the last month:

SiteMeter Statistics

And for the record here are my statistics from Webalizer since June 1st. Note that both Webalizer and Awstats seem to aggregate the statistics only once a day. That makes sense since it is probably pretty CPU intensive. It is one of the reasons that the SiteMeter solution sounded like a better solution. Its reports are all generated dynamically from a database.

Sitemeter Statistics

Finally here is my Awstats report for June to date:

Awstats Statistics

So what’s going on? Let’s take a few same dates and compare statistics. On June 1st according to SiteMeter I had about 165 page views. Webalizer reports 976 page views, Awstats shows 926. It could be that I was serving pages that were not metered. But every blog page, with the exception of certain comment pages, is SiteMetered. One thing I realized digging into it is that a log of people read my blog through newsreaders. You can’t add SiteMeter HTML code to an XML document, which is basically what a syndicated newsfeed file is. So SiteMeter never sees those requests. About 15% of my page views are to my index.rdf newsfeed page. My Atom newsfeed gets about 5% of my total page views. So for sure SiteMeter is not seeing 20% of the people visiting my web site.

It may also be that search engines spend a lot of time trolling my pages inflating my page view count. I have 1153 “hits” from search engines for the month to date out of a total of 5374 page views. I suspect Awstats and Webalizer are smart enough to subtract them from my page view counts. But if not about 21% of my page views are search engines trolling content, not actual humans reading my content.

You can read the statistics. On June 6th SiteMeter said I had around 165 page views. Webalizer said 398. Awstats said 354. On June 12th Sitemeter said about 60, Webalizer 343 and Awstats said 277.

Awstats and Webalizer are reading from the same source: my Apache web server log. It is curious that they come up with different numbers. You would expect them to be identical. I suspect that they each measure successful visits and page views differently. It is also possible that each calculates on different time zones. Webalizer though routinely shows more visits and page views than Awstats. Perhaps it includes unsuccessful page views it is totals.

But overall, either because not all my pages have SiteMeter code on them, or because SiteMeter is not capturing all the information (or some combination of both), SiteMeter underreported my actual page views by 82% on June 1st, 53% on June 6th and 78% on June 12th.

Here’s what I think is going on. Granted SiteMeter can only record pages with SiteMeter HTML on it. But this is probably no more than 25% of the pages being served. Given this it is likely that SiteMeter is not recording huge numbers of visits and page views that I am getting. Why? Well, embedded in my HTML for a blog entry is a URL that traverses the Internet back to sitemeter.com. Your browser essentially “pings” a SiteMeter server reporting the page being served on my site, and other information. It could be the Internet is busy and the “ping” doesn’t go through from the client computer. It could be the client computer has some software that prohibits these “pings” from getting out. (This is unlikely.) But it’s most likely that most of these “pings” actually reach the SiteMeter computer but it is not recording them. Why? Probably it is because SiteMeter can’t keep up with them all. It seems that everyone and their grandmother is SiteMetering their web pages these days.

Conclusion: SiteMeter’s numbers vastly underreport your actual visits and page views. Since most of us are getting it for free we shouldn’t be surprised. I know enough now at least not to be foolish enough to pay them money for advanced features. I will keep SiteMetering my site for the present. But now that I’ve delved into the matter I am confident that its numbers are pretty meaningless. I think this is a problem with any hosted (external) statistics service. Your web server log, if you can access it, is going to be accurate. Trust your server log and your web host’s statistics program and treat SiteMeter with a ton of salt.

Metablogging Again

The Thinker by Rodin

I started metering this site with SiteMeter in early March 2004. As it has been a whole year I thought I’d take a snapshot of my last year of statistics to see how this little blog is going.

I’ve had about 28,000 visits in the last year and about 38,000 page views. Occam’s Razor remains a backwater blog. But as the graphic below shows its traffic has been picking up rather steadily. Recent trends suggest possibly I might be reaching an exponential growth phase. I frankly don’t want to become too popular. I don’t want to pay for the bandwidth. I want my blog to be interesting but not too interesting. Success often breeds enemies. I don’t want that kind of attention.

1 Year of Montly Statistics

Things slowed down after the election but picked up in earnest last month. My stats have only improved since then. I am pretty sure I know the major reason why my hits have gone up: more content. Most of my hits come from search engines, with Google bringing in most of the traffic. But with some exceptions more recent content tends to get more hits. I think it’s because Google thinks more recent content is more interesting, so it is more likely to get featured. That factored with the steady number of entries over two and a half years I suspect may make it a blog of minor note to search engines.

Since I have a free SiteMeter account I only see statistics for the last hundred pages viewed. But I monitor it several times a day and see what people are reading. Yesterday’s entry Leaning Left in Academia somehow got linked by Inside Higher Ed so I’ve seen a real spike today bringing my daily page count over 400 page views for the day.

I continue to discover that entries on sex get attention. Today was an exception but I regularly get at least 5-10 of the last 100 page views for my one entry on porn star Sharon Mitchell. I get nearly as many for discussing my one visit to a porn shop in Orlando about a year ago. Alas, I can’t think of a whole lot to say about the pornography business. I suspect one way to drive up my statistics would be to spend a few weeks hip deep in pornographic magazines and DVDs then post lots of reviews. But I cannot see myself doing it. While pornography is good for occasional titillation it’s simply not interesting enough to discuss very often.

With the release of the What the Bleep Do We Know? DVD I’ve seen regular hits on my review of it. Entries on Wal-Mart are also topical and have pulled in regular readers.

I still don’t know what people think about my blog in general. I don’t know how many regular readers I have other than my brother Tom and my friend Lisa. I can’t write a pithy entry like my wife and get a dozen comments (all from her friends network). I’d like to say my own family is enthusiastic about my blog but for the most part they ignore it.

Comments are still few and far between. I still get a lot of spam comments that never get posted. And I won’t post any remark that I consider abusive, hurtful or in bad taste. I still average one comment for every other entry.

So for a backwater blog I’m feeling pretty good about this place. It really is hard work to keep coming up with fresh content but it is a challenge that I usually enjoy. Sometimes clearly I stretch a bit. Sometimes by posting on so many divergent topics I feel like a jack of all trades, but master of none. (Well, maybe I can’t say that about information technology. On that topic I can speak with genuine authority.) Still, while I hope my entries appear rather eloquent I still feel a tinge of envy over bloggers who are far better writers than I will ever be. I worship Billmon, but I will never be his peer.

I often get more than two hundred page views a day now. When I started metering I was getting about thirty page views per day. I suspect my blog will continue to grow modestly. If it grows at the current rate I can expect perhaps 500 or more page views per day a year or so from now. Come back a year from now and see.

Watching you

The Thinker by Rodin

I’m curious about my readers. How many of you are visiting my site? Which entries are you reading? Which of my entries are the most popular? Do I get repeat readers? Until recently I didn’t have answers to many of these questions. But a couple days ago I installed SiteMeter code on this web log. What I’ve discovered has been interesting.

Most of us who have web logs own our own domains. Typically we can’t afford to own our own servers, so we share space with others using a web host. This is called virtual hosting. My web host, like most, bundles in a free web statistics tools. This tells me which pages are being read, when they were read, number of pages served per day, amount of data transmitted, etc. However these tools aren’t terribly useful. In my case I have two domains parked inside this one domain. The tool can’t zero in on the domain that is this web log and consequently I can’t get much in the way of useful information.

Fortunately with SiteMeter I found I just had to add a snippet of HTML to the bottom of each web page and it will figure out the rest. I chose an unobtrusive SiteMeter icon and slipped it at the bottom of each page. (Go on, scroll to the bottom to see it. You know you want to.) It works a little like a browser cookie. Basically by viewing this page you are telling the SiteMeter web site a bit about yourself, such as the page you are viewing, when you viewed it, whether you viewed other pages, etc. SiteMeter just records the information and provides a very lovely way of arranging the information in a useful fashion. Not only do I get statistics, but lots of lovely colored graphs.

It will take a few weeks to get some meaningful statistics, but already I’ve learned that I will never be as popular as DailyKOS. Still it’s nice to know that my site is being read. I’m averaging about 20 visits a day to my site (not including me hitting it during the day). What interests you? Pretty much everything. What else do I know about you?

Well, not to worry. I don’t know your name. I don’t know your credit card numbers. But I do know:

– Your Internet Service Provider (ex: cox.net)
– The page you viewed, and when you viewed it
– If you visited more than one page, how long you stayed on the previous page. This gives me an idea if you actually read my page or were just skimming.
– Some idea of how you got here. Most of you don’t come onto my main page, but directly hit one of my individual entries or archives. This suggests you were doing a Google or MSN search on something and found my entry.
– Your time zone. Not surprisingly, most of you hail from the United States
– Your language, or rather what language your browser is set for. Not surprisingly so far it’s been entirely English.
– Your type of browser. Nearly 9% of you are using Netscape or Mozilla. Good for you. (Do yourself a favor and download Mozilla Firefox today!)
– Your operating system. 45% of you are using Windows XP to view my site. 5% of you are using a Mac.

If I used the paid version of SiteMeter I’d probably have more interesting statistics to see. But I don’t expect I will.

But I’d like to thank you for reading my little web log. I hope it is worth your time to come here. It’s nice to know that the time I spend creating entries (often an hour or more) is being read by someone other than myself, my friends and the occasional family member.

Please feel free to leave a comment on any entry. You don’t have to lurk anonymously.