A lesson for people thinking about inflating their traffic numbers

by Paul William Tenny

There's a bizarre story in the Times today about Deadline Hollywood, Nikki Finke's site which I tend to read (and assail) almost every day for one inaccuracy or another. This time though, I think things are a little more despicable than usual. In the Times story, Brain Stelter says that Finke claims that her site before the strike "averaged 350,000 page views a day" and was averaging almost one million this month.

I don't know why (a) reporters don't check their facts; (b) people lie on the Internet and think they can get away with it. One of those has to be the case because the numbers Finke gave to the Times are 100% false. All you have to do is look at her own publicly available stats from sitemeter to see that.
It doesn't get any more clear than that. Her site before the strike averaged a bit over 27,000 page views per day - not 350,000 - and after the strike, it's running about 100,000 per day - not 1 million. These are not exaggerations, somebody either doesn't understand what they are talking about, or somebody lied. Let's be clear about this, at 350,000 page views per day, Deadline Hollywood would not just be a big entertainment gossip blog, it'd probably be one of the largest blogs on the Internet - period.

Nick Denton's Gawker.com for example runs about 200,000 PV's per day and they don't get much bigger than that. You may think that Nikki's 100,000 per day makes it competitive, but that number won't hold forever, but Gawker's will, because their average stretches across the entire year.

Listen, I've got nothing against Nikki per se, and I do read her site every day just like everybody else. I just have issues with her repeating FUD and lies from the big media execs on a regular basis and giving anonymity to sources that don't warrant it, in situations that she as a former reporter ought to know better than hand out. And then you've got crap like this, where either a Times reporter can't tell the difference between the words "day" and "month", or she's just outright lying about her own stats to pump her ego higher than the ISS.

I don't know, I don't care, but when I go to the Times, I expect to be reading the truth. I know this is bullshit because the information is available and the facts are laid bare for all to see, but what about the rest that we don't know about? The times spoke to a handful of people that are trying to speak for an entire city when saying that everyone reads her site and treats her as an actual source of news, rather than a gossip blogger.

How am I to trust them, trust that reporting, when she can't even count?
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