©04 The Media Desk
Well, well, well. It has been another year.
And it is time to step back and pull the server reports and look at the hard cold numbers and see where the Desk is at and where it might be going.
The Desk site hit the net in 1997. The Desk itself took over as Webmaster in late 1998.
The first month of over one thousand visitors was sometime in the summer of 1999.
The Desk remembers that feeling. It was cool. A THOUSAND people visited the site, from places like the UK and Japan.
And the hit counts kept climbing. Perhaps it was because the site was simple. There wasn't any pop-ups to annoy anybody. No flashing banner ads across every page. The Desk didn't barrage them with cookies placed on their hard drives. The Desk's pages work with every browser on the market (even WebTV®). You didn't need to download the latest Flash or something to see some imbedded video. There were no interactive site map pictures that you have to decode before you can get anywhere. The Desk still tries to abide by the 'three click rule', three clicks from the main page and MOST OF THE TIME you are looking at some sort of content page. With no intervening ads or nonsense. And the hit counts kept climbing.
The Desk had an actual party when it broke ten thousand for the first time. It cooked shrimp and bought ice cream for its daughters.
It danced around for two days and bothered everybody within reach when the count stayed above twenty thousand a month for several months in a row.
What on God's Good Green Earth should it do now?
For the last eight months there have been over 30,000 visitors a month to the Desk site, and August's total was over 40,000. Just barely over to be sure, but it was over and no mistake.
For the fiscal year ending 31 August, 2004 The Media Desk posted 377,703 hits.
All numbers from August 2004, all comparisons are with August 2003.
For Reasons It May Never Understand… The Desk continues to draw a lot of overseas traffic. For Example- 446 hits from Taiwan. 136 each from Israel and Italy.
39 terribly misguided people in Norway wandered through last month. 24 in Iceland… Now if the Desk was in Iceland it wouldn't be reading the Desk. Or even worse, in the Seychelles (an island group in the Indian Ocean, 12 hits from there.)
And the list goes on. Visits to the Desk from Tonga, Panama, Thailand, Hong Kong, Qatar and Lebanon. Of course HALF of the Desk's traffic, more by the calculator, was from the US and US domains (.edu and what not).
How are they getting here from there?
Well, that's at least understandable. Search Engines.
Google in Taiwan sent a couple of visitors this way. One of them searched for 'broadband over power lines'. The Desk just happens to have a decent article about that technology. That same search engine based in the United Arab Emirates sent somebody the Desk's way who had searched for "Love Quiz SPAM".
Somebody using ATT online wanted to know what DSL meant. They evidently got all the answer they were looking for.
In Belgium somebody actually searched for "Dancing on the Moon". They found it on the Desk.
A Turkish reader had searched for "SPAM LETTERS FROM NIGERIA". Which brings up one of the most popular aspects of the Desk.
The Urban Legend and SPAM Department continues to draw the lions share of the Non-Fiction traffic.
Last August it drew about a thousand visitors to the main Urban Legend page and subsidiary items. This time it was about half again as many, the Desk didn't go into everything, but it appears to be about 1,400 or just over for the month.
The Photoessays are also still one of the most popular items on the Desk. And it's not just the latest ones that draw the most traffic. The Little Creek Fire Company Community Day and marsh fire, from 2001, had eighty visitors. And the Blackface article had 130 visitors and it is from 2002. Of course there may not be a lot on the Web about something as Politically Incorrect as a discussion of Blackface in History as it applies to the current world.
Of other Non-Fiction the Desk's article about writing articles is still drawing readers, 82 to be exact, as well as its series of tech articles like the aforementioned DSL and BPL write-ups.
Religion is one of the Desk's interests. And it is now in the process of posting what amounts to a doctorial thesis on Metaphysics. Yes it is heavy, and wordy, and has already inspired discussions, and arguments… which is fine. That is basically the point of the exercise.
Chapter one is posted in two parts, and at least a couple of people have wandered in and given it a look see. It has not been splashed across the main page for very good reasons. It's not something that is of interest to most people. But it is there for those that enjoy a discussion that wanders between Fate, Doc Holliday, Nixon and the Deity and back again without batting an eye.
Where will it end? Who knows. The Desk sure doesn't.
Of the Fiction offerings everything from "Dear Diary" and the Desk's Skunk story saw readers. Just over a thousand people subjected themselves to the Desk's soap opera "Two Dorms". Which is more or less on par with last year.
The Desk does things in cycles and fits and starts. For awhile it seemed it was posting far more fiction than journalistic works. And recently the trend has been the exact opposite. But that is the Desk. But it appears that the Desk's readers seems to understand that, some may appreciate it, it introduces variety to the normal fare of what's on the Web.
"TheHunter" drew 1,400 readers, but since that series has ended, the Desk expects that to drop off sooner or later.
"Lord's Lunatic" saw 200 people check out his dirty dishes.
"Kada"'s first two chapters drew just under 100 readers, but nobody has wrote in for the last two chapters of that short novel…. Hmmm… maybe the old chief scares them as much as he scarred the Desk once upon a time.
The Desk's strength in Fiction on the site has always been short stories. But one of the things it is thinking about is posting some of it's longer works.
OK, NOTHING is really longer than the soap opera, but…
The Desk has a couple of novels finished and in the can. Since nobody seems to be beating down its door to publish them. Why not expose them here? Exposing itself in print is one of the things the Desk does best.
Humor and Commentary sort of run together on the Desk. And the numbers say that at least a few of the people that stumble into it once in awhile like it that way.
The Desk's review of the Olympic Coverage had been up for about a week in August and had 55 hits in that time. Not bad at all for something brand spanking new that hadn’t been spidered by the Search Engines yet.
What that tells the Desk is that fifty five people saw that article listed on the Desk's main page, or was one of those the Desk sends an occasional update to (which is a mailing list of a grand total of about twenty people, the Desk does not maintain a mailing list anywhere and doesn't know how to use the automailing feature in its control panel mailbox), and checked it out.
The Desk's political take on things used to draw some angry emails from some individuals of slightly different political persuasions. One by one they gave up. The Desk believes the old quote from the author of Common Sense Thomas Paine, "That government is best which governs least." Which makes the Desk something of a Libertarian. Which makes both the Republicans and Democrats mad.
The Desk does hear from its readers. Susan in Canada for one. A lawyer in California for another. A couple of guys in the UK. Others elsewhere. Fewer now, more later. They too write as the mood suits them.
Some write in with questions about SCAMS and SPAMS. Others find errors in a story, or mention an inaccuracy in an article or point out where there is more information available.
Others are involved in the IFT and want the Desk to meddle in affairs that way.
A few write in with suggestions for articles or photoessays.
The Desk reopened a guest book, in Denmark of all places. But there is one available. It hasn't been touted with a banner headline and mentioned in any articles to keep it from being filled with SPAM again. But it is there, and will be brought more to the fore as soon as it thinks of a way to do it so it doesn't end up brimming with crapola.
More of the same.
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