Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Mysteries of the Web 

Here's an image showing 'visits' to the Locus Online website (including the Locus Index to Science Fiction) over the past four months or so.

Each horizontal scale is 5000 visits. The low end at left was during the holidays. After that you can see the weekly profile: the number of visits peaks on Mondays, gradually falls through the week, dips to a low point on Saturdays, then recovers a bit on Sundays.

The two spikes are due to events already noted in this blog: first, posting the Recommended Reading list and poll ballot in early February, then 3 weeks ago when the same Rec Reading list got linked from fark.com. Those I understand.

One mystery is why the weekly profile has jumped--by almost 50%--over the past two weeks. I have no clue. Has Locus Online suddenly attracted a wider audience?

Another mystery is why the server statistics always report more 'unique visitors' (the blue series on the graph), determined by unique IP addresses, than visits on any given day. Isn't this counter-intuitive? My best guess, based on vague responses from the Wusage people to my queries, is that not all visitors register as visits--if they don't stay at the site a certain minimum time, say. And my best guess about the first mystery is that a greater percentage of those visits than I'd care to know represents not eyeballs, but robots gathering data for search engines.
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Mark R. Kelly

The opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of Mark R. Kelly, and do not reflect the editorial position of Locus Magazine.
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