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What do 'Desk Readers' Read?

©03 The Media Desk

        Well. There is no formal survey that flashes open on their desktop and refuses to close until they answer a few short questions.
        The server doesn't drop cookies onto their machine to track their every move.
        The Desk doesn't pay extra for endless details on how long who spends on what page.
        And since the site's guestbook was targeted by SPAMMERS who dropped everything from links to porn sites to advertisements for low interest mortgages in it (the Desk had to shut that down last month) the only way for the Desk to get feedback on the site is people that actually write in, or in a few cases, stop by and tell the Desk about what they like or don't like.
        That and the bare-bones server reports it gets back from the man in Ohio.

        So… since the question was asked recently "How many people read the site" the Desk will take a few minutes and try to answer it in some sort of coherent way.

        As a unit, The Media Desk website has been drawing an average of 25,000 hits a month for about the last year. With a high of over 36,942 in February of this year, and a low for the period 19,438 in December of 2002.
        The total number of hits for the last twelve months ending August 2003 was just a bit over three hundred and ten thousand. 310,194. Not bad, not bad at all by the Desk's standards.

[Numbers are quoted for August 2003 unless otherwise noted]

        Of the individual departments on the Desk the one most used is the Urban Legend and Spam division, in a typical month the main page 'Urban Legends, Virus Hoaxes and Other Nonsense' receives somewhere around a thousand visits by itself, while its subsidiary pages pick up about as many, or last month's case, even more (216 people read the page about the 'Banned CD'). A lot of those come in directly from the search engines, with Google and MSN sending the lion's share of that traffic in directly to those pages.
        The next heaviest traffic is into the various Fiction sections on the Desk.
        Of course, the newest posting draws the most traffic. Something that is born up by the numbers from the server over time. But, surprisingly, ' Tale Of Two Dorms' is still pulling in quite a bit of traffic every month. And most of it is coming directly from the search engines.

        Other fiction areas drawing visitors are works like 'Subsidence' with seventy visits total last month, the Raven stories which together drew over a hundred visitors, while 'Investigation' and 'The Ring' had about fifty each. The series 'theHunter' was down a little last month, with just over 400 visitors spread across the entire list of over 40 stories. But with a new story posted, and the climax of the entire work now building to a conclusion, that can be expected to pick up.

        The political season is heating up as well. Some of the older political articles about Hillary and AlGore and W have drawn more visitors than usual, again almost all of them are from search engines. And with a soon to be posted look at the Fall 2003 odds for the 2004 election, that might pick up soon as well.

        The Humor department is always a solid performer, even with few updates recently, as the Desk has not felt like even trying to be funny for some time now. 'What men want to tell women', 'Jackass', 'Restrooms' and the other standbys always pull in about the same number of hits, and August was no exception. They ranged from a dozen or so to around fifty.

        The Christian Fiction section has lain fallow for most of the summer, it seems the Desk simply forgot to update it, but still it held its own with 320 visits. Now that the Desk has been reminded it needs to post a new story or two in it, that may come up as well.

        The Photoessays are always a big draw, and August was no exception. The Shoreleave story and Pictures drew 437 visitors. Even the two year old story and pics of the Little Creek Fire Company Community Day (and Marsh Fire) had 51 visitors.

        NOW- Just Where are they coming FROM?

        At one time the Desk was accused of generating most of its hits itself. Which is a neat trick when you look at the numbers.
        Last month the Desk's server registered incoming visits from Kyoto, Japan, Cornell University in the USA, and some poor misguided souls living in France and Finland.
        Sixty-six visits from people in New Zealand, 141 from the UK, and over 200 from Canada.
        The Server does break down the information to let the Desk know that in August thirty people visited the Desk site from the Public Library System of the State of Georgia. If it so chooses to, but it doesn't have much use for that knowledge. But the rest of the data is just a jumble of numbers to the Desk. An address like: is nice to have, but it tells the Desk nothing except that user is probably from someplace across the pond.
        And just what, pray thee tell is a: ?
        When the report mentioned multiple hits every month from Belgium and Singapore, the questioner's suggestion that the Desk was spending a good portion of its time hitting its own site dried up in a hurry when the Desk pointed out it does not have a valid US passport so it can't leave the country to log in from some web café in South Africa.

        The Desk has no other information than a lot of these visitors are Repeat Customers. That the majority of them read English. And a sizable majority of them use Search Engines.
        Which search engines?
        Other than the ones already mentioned. The Desk is registered with everything from in Russia to Ananzi and Woyaa in Africa, and even one in Italian. It is the World Wide Web, why would somebody only register their site with American searchers?
        But if the Desk was in the Seychelles it wouldn't be sitting at a computer reading the Desk site. Yet somebody is.

        So will this information and the implied increase in popularity change the way the Desk does things?
        It didn't change when the site went over 10,000 hits a month to stay in early 2000.
        It didn't do anything different when the average stayed at 20,000 visitors through most of 2002.
        And it doesn't see any reason to do anything different now, except maybe try to update things on a more regular basis.
        There will be no paid links to the Desk, no paid inclusion in the search engines, no flashing banner ads, no pop-ups, no consoles.
        The Desk is the Desk is the Desk. Period.
        It likes what it does and how it does it. And for right now, it seems to be working.

        Thank you.


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