So, yesterday, a four and a half month old entry about Microsoft’s “real-time censorship”:http://virtuelvis.com/archives/2006/02/microsoft-censoring-msn-messenger got “dugg”:http://digg.com/software/Microsoft_censors_MSN_Messenger. Here are some numbers and thoughts:
* How many visits do you really get from being dugg?
* Is the “digg effect” real?
* Which browsers do diggers use?
* Does Alexa rankings have any root in reality?
So, what is getting dugg like, after the launch of “Digg v3”:http://www.digg.com/tech_news/New_Digg_v3_Launched (Warning, the raw page is 848KB, has loads of scripts, hundreds of images and might possibly make your browser become slow or unresponsive), and after the great “Alexa spike”:http://www.sitepoint.com/blogs/2006/04/27/the-great-alexa-spike-of-2006/ (which coincides nicely with when Digg allegedly overtook “Slashdot”:http://slashdot.org/, as illustrated below)?
!http://virtuelvis.com/download/2006/07/alexa-graph.png (Digg overtook Slashdot on Alexa in April 2006, and the traffic rank of both nearly doubled)!
Well. My first conclusion is that the *digg effect is highly overrated.* Others “seemingly agree”:http://hrmpf.com/wordpress/44/the-digg-effect/. At the time of writing, about 18 hours since the entry first got submitted to digg, the numbers look roughly like this:
Any server and/or software not able to handle 7000 visits (with about 15000 pageviews) in 18 hours from digg, is in my view broken (I’m looking at you, WordPress), and needs either fixing or replacing (which in WP’s case means installing something like WP-Cache).
h3. Diggers and browsers
So, which browsers do diggers use? The table below shows the percentage for each browser that had a referrer from digg.com to the story in question:
How well these correspond to actual digg browser share, I can’t say, but I was surprised to see *that* low a share of MSIE users, and Firefox being that dominant. This site already is very skewed toward other browsers than MSIE: The usage statistics for this site for June 2006 gives Firefox 35.9%, MSIE 26.6% and Opera at 21.6%.
Another interesting thing to note that 75% of the Opera-users in these numbers are already on Opera 9. With only about two weeks since the Opera 9 release, this satisfies me.
h3. The Firefox anomaly
I really can’t tell exactly what to make of this. Entries in this weblog contain links to the previous and next entry. At the time of writing, the entry itself has a bit over 8000 reads. The _next_ entry in the weblog (marked with a
rel="next" attribute-value pair), a relatively uninteresting entry about me shutting down the trackback feature has been accessed a bit over 5600 times. About 95% of these accesses are from Firefox. The previous entry to the dugg story, about Opera Weekly builds (marked using
rel="previous") has a slightly better placement on the page — it’s the link directly above the “next” entry. The Weekly builds entry has *37 reads!* Conclusions?
# Diggers are hit’n’run. They read that one story, and then leave.
# Firefox preloads
rel="next" links (at least in diggers’ configurations).
The “Digg Effect”:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digg_effect is overrated: While getting dugg is a significant traffic increase, it’s not that impressive. Back during the “WordPress spam affair”:http://waxy.org/archive/2005/03/30/wordpres.shtml, I “posted this”:http://virtuelvis.com/archives/2005/03/wordpress-and-cloaking – which was linked way down in the Waxy.org entry, and saw traffic on a similar scale, although that traffic was spread out over a much longer period of time, and with what appears to be a bigger spread of associated referals.
The Digg crowd leans heavily towards alternative browsers, in particular Firefox, but other browsers also seem to be more popular than the general “accepted” market share.
I simply don’t believe the “Alexa ranking”:http://www.alexa.com/data/details/traffic_details?q=&url=digg.com for Digg. I don’t believe Digg is anywhere near the top 100 sites on the net. In that case, I should’ve seen *a lot* more traffic than I did. Digg is claiming about “800,000 unique visitors”:http://www.techcrunch.com/2006/06/22/digg-30-to-launch-monday-exclusive-screenshots-and-stats/, according to TechCrunch. The “current”:http://www.alexa.com/data/details/traffic_details?q=&url=digg.com 3-month average “reach”:http://pages.alexa.com/prod_serv/traffic_learn_more.html#reach of 6400 on Alexa would imply that among the billion or so internet users, over regularily used Digg. Not on a cold day in hell. Note that this is Alexa’s fault. Not Digg’s.