My 15 minutes

So my recent post about the most expensive items on Amazon was surprisingly popular. Since I tend to write here the same way I did in my LiveJournal, primarily for an audience of friends, I was a bit surprised by the attention (and doubly so since by the time I’d finished writing that post, I figured it to be a bit of a flop, since the expensive things weren’t anywhere near as funny as I’d hoped).

The extra attention seems to have died down now, though, so I figured I’d talk a bit about how things looked from this end. First of all, here’s the eye candy from Webalizer (which I only started using on the 15th, which was serendipitous):

Webalizer stats during the “expensive items on Amazon” rush

To the moon, Alice! As you can see things have pretty much gone back to their earlier state at this point, but when they were busy, they were busy. On a typical day I get around 15,000 hits (4000 pages/1500 visitors). On the 23rd, that jumped to 85,000 hits (19,000 pages/5100 visitors), then to 180,000 hits on the 24th (37,000 pages, 9300 visitors). The next couple of days saw around 130,000 hits (30,000 pages, 6500 visitors). Yesterday I was back down to 31,000 hits (8500 pages, 2200 visitors) so the rush has clearly ended.

So what happened when? Someone on Reddit linked to one of the Amazon items I listed and mentioned my post’s URL in the Reddit comments. Then around 6 PM last Friday (March 23), the post was linked on The Consumerist. An hour or so later, Cory linked it on BoingBoing, and ten minutes after that it was on Metafilter. Early Saturday morning it was linked from Instapundit. Saturday night, Patrick Lagacé from La Presse linked to it (in French), and then a day after that Dutch linkdump site Geenredactie linked in.

What I find most interesting is which sites brought in the most traffic. Given that list of sites, which would you guess would be the big ones, and which the minor ones? Here’s how things turned out:

  1. Instapundit (7739 referrals). I don’t read Instapundit so I guess I underestimated how widely-read it is. It probably helped that Glenn didn’t excerpt much of my post.
  2. Patrick Lagacé (7301). Big surprise, especially given a relatively limited audience and being late to post. I guess Patrick is popular!
  3. Consumerist (3907). I’m surprised at the 3000-referral jump there. Consumerist gave a brief excerpt, too, which I think depressed the number of people clicking through.
  4. Geenredactie (3346). Since I’ve never heard of them before now I wasn’t really capable of being surprised one way or another.
  5. Metafilter (2185). Sure, ok.
  6. Reddit (2020). A particularly impressive showing considering I just showed up in a comment there!
  7. BoingBoing (1649). Way, way lower than I expected, which I attribute to a very long excerpt with links to Amazon.

Other interesting referrers included lots of Hotmail and Yahoo! Mail, 130 referrals and 5 diggs from Digg, lots of LiveJournal users I’ve never seen before, and plenty of individual blogs, a few of which did pingbacks. A few people linked it on delicious, too. I’m glad OMightyManII appreciated my Bond comment.

One last amusing factoid: When I first posted, I didn’t have Amazon referral links. When BoingBoing linked me, Cory added his referrals; Metafilter automatically added Matt’s, and I think Instapundit’s example links had referral codes in them too. Someone from Gelf Magazine emailed me asking about the referral links specifically for an article, but I think he was hoping that substituting referral links would bother me. No-one bought anything through my referral links.

I’m glad to see that the amount of traffic is dropping back down. I had feared that I was going to be left with a big pile of viewers expecting a typical public aggregating blog, while I wanted to keep things more personal and about me as much as anything else. But it looks like it’ll all be back to normal shortly. I still can’t quite explain what made that post so interesting in the first place, though.

By the way, are any of you Reddit’s afscott or Consumerist’s tipster?

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