Old Teen Essays
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Article ID: 5005
Age Group: Adult
Posted: December 29th. 2002
70 Million Pages!
It's been quite awhile since I have chimed in here on our front page, and this milestone seems like a proper excuse for our annual explanation of hits, page views and visitors. This past week the Witches' Voice passed the 70 million pages delivered milestone, and we continue to be amazed at the steady and growing traffic that this site receives.... 70 million hits? Not! The Witchvox 'hits' total would be about 5.2 times that number (hits are page pieces including images etc.) 70 million visitors? Nope that count would be more like 1/6 this number. So does this number reflect page parts? pieces? NOPE this number represents actual FULL PAGE requests counting as ONE each. You hit THIS page we count that as ONE page view (more on this later)
70 million? So who cares?
Good question. I know we do, but this number is relative, we will never forget how thrilled we were the first time TWV delivered 100 pages in a single day (this month the daily average is 74, 000). We know that the mainstream press cares, they love numbers and a high traffic reference does add to the legitimacy of a piece (at least in their eyes). Many of you have emailed us noting that you point your friends and relatives to this site so this number often shows parents that their daughter/son isn't all that weird or unique -- clearly there are many others that are 'into this' (safety in numbers to coin a phrase). Those that loot this site (articles, images etc. etc.) on a regular basis care, they want the traffic to sell their agenda, cause or (in most cases) products and perhaps with this 'stolen booty' they will. Those that want an extensive and diverse offering of local contacts care (many have fallen in love, gotten hand-fasted, formed groups or made life long friends via the WitchVox networking section).
For most of our society (and most Pagans apparently) it really IS about money. Nothing wrong with that and let's face it, Big traffic can = Big bucks. My family and co-workers have spouted the same mantra for years to us... . 'What if you sold advertising or charged for admission - even a penny a visit?" Wren and I have given up trying to explain why we don't do Witchvox for ANY personal financial gain. - As a retailer/wholesaler of 30 years, I sure have given this some thought, and DO watch with fascination as other Pagan Websites try to Cha-Ching in on your desire to learn more and work with the 'right stuff'.
There are many in this community that believe we (the Witchvox staff) are 'blowing an opportunity' with all this 'action' by NOT telling our visitors what is the correct (valid, most magickal, legit, worthy etc.) path. The good news, after all these years, is that many folks are finally realizing that Witchvox is a news and networking community resource nothing more, nothing less... A busy site yes, but really just one of thousands of offerings. YOU are the ones that decide how this community plays out, and last I checked there was no shortage of strong opinions in this community. Don't believe me? Check out the near thousand-message board based/driven Pagan Web Sites out there. The noise to signal ratio (or is that signal/noise ratio? That's your call) has never been higher, the emotional responses never more passionate. These days the words OF the prophets are being written in the chat rooms of the net.
Statistics are a measure and there are many ways to 'measure things' - Witchvox IS a busy site by all measure. It has been the hot desire of countless net surfers to check out YOUR thousands of listings and YOUR millions of words! Make no doubt about it... YOUR magick has generated 99.98% of this traffic.
What we consider a 'Page View':
Simply stated we count any FULL page requested from a link or a search here at TWV a 'page view'. This includes chapter indexes, articles, essays and detail views from the listings. We do NOT count 'SSI elements' (server side includes), frame elements (we don't even do frames) or error pages in these totals, those files don't even have counters on them. We have tracked every page view for every page on this site since day one. We check our 'Live' counters against server logs (Analog & Webalizer specifically configured to NOT total the file types noted above) on a daily basis. Ask me how the local events page for France did two days before Yule in 1997 and I can tell you quickly. What was our busiest Day? Week? Year? I am a Rock Drummer/Audio Engineer that *should* have been a librarian. It is all collected (including every piece of email that we've ever received) in dozens of relational databases here in our apartment.
So What 'Files' DO we count?
We count .html files ONLY (Not .inc, .jpg, .gif, .php, .cgi, .mp3 etc). We DO USE 'include' files and they are laced into pages all over the site. In fact the front page of TWV uses 8 of them (side bars, the mini list views, Wren's nest headlines, footer etc.). Include files are NOT counted in our totals. When you visit this page, just ONE page view is generated, if you hit refresh another ONE is added. Both counters on the top left of the Witchvox main page represent Total Pages Viewed for the ENTIRE SITE since we went online in 1997 AND the total page views for the current day (reset every night at the 'Witching Hour'). The front page of TWV averages just over 10, 000 views a day. If you hit refresh (on that page) and the counter jumps 5 or 10 it is because THOSE two counters include folks hitting the other 4, 700 other pages on this site SINCE you last hit refresh. - IF you are really quick you can see it increment by one (but it's best to try this 'round 4 am). Refreshing any of the other 4, 700 pages here is an easier way to see the individual pages counter increment by one. This is a quick way for us all to see the action (example: Trish's Article last week "My Coven' has been viewed over 3, 000 times as of this writing)
How Many PEOPLE Visit Witchvox?
This is difficult to say for sure, but the 'standard' measure is based on 'unique IP' addresses for a 24 period. When you connect to the internet your ISP (internet service provider) assigns you an invisible IP address that is captured by the web server of every website you visit for every image and page you request. When you disconnect from the web and reconnect you typically get a new IP address. Folks with broad-band connections usually stay connected so their IP address rarely changes. Sooo... Based on unique IP addresses in a 24 hour period Witchvox sees a little over 400, 000 'visitors' a month. How many different people? Unknown, but I would guess it around 300, 000 a month.
Battle Bots - Those Pesky 'Bandwidth Guzzling' Spiders...
In November Witchvox delivered over 206 GIGABYTES of pictures, text and audio to you and yours. Server expenses represent 85% of our operating costs and extra bandwidth is directly reflected in our month bill. Because of this sobering reality, we are hyper sensitive to controlling the 'bots' (computers that automatically surf the net). When we added live counters to the pages (last spring) we finally had real time access that told us which pages were HOT NOW. We quickly discovered that on some days we were being pounded on by server robots, either looking to add info to their search engines (like google.com) OR trolling for email address to steal and sell off to the Spam trade. When I see the detail pages for 'groups', 'links' or 'Pagan' Personals get a steady pounding, or our front page counter jumping 20 views in a second, you can bet that a robot is sniffing 'round. We spot them, define them and BLOCK them.
Can these bots actually STEAL email addresses from the Witchvox network section listings? Ironically NO (the email addys are seriously cloaked FROM these bots AND from Pagan commercial thieves as well) but they are too stupid to know that. The Bots would have to go through a two step authentication process that requires user input, fire off the 'send email' command AND hope that the person listed actually responds TO the email before the email address is revealed to the thief. These 'spiders' just aren't that smart (yet!). The proper search engines (like google.com) DO identify themselves in our server logs and we allow them free roam. BUT just to keep THEM from running up our totals, we 'talk' to them via 'no follow' statements on relevant pages. This keeps them from pounding on the detail pages (Google bots DO follow these instructions).
Sounds like fun eh? To those of you that work hard to tame the bots and keep those stats 'useful' I salute you. Just like anything OF value, it requires work and lots of it.
Oh well! It's time to end this yammering, get this update UP and spend a few hours with the beautiful Wren (and our 'gurls') before this day plays out.
70 Million? It IS impressive... You have much to be proud of.
Blessed Be Well,
WebCrafter - Witches' Voice
December 30th., 2002
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