Voices from Russia

Friday, 4 June 2010

Let Us Speak of Cabbages and Kings… Actually, of “Uniques” and “Hits”…

Filed under: internet,Orthodox life,USA — 01varvara @ 00.00

Editor’s Foreword:

Be forewarned! The following is NOT a short piece; in fact, it’s rather long. In order not to distort the topic, I had to dot every “i” and cross every “t”. Nevertheless, it gives us a good snapshot of the “personal” websites in the Orthodox cyberworld… it tells us who’s naughty and who’s nice… do note the paucity of the audience of certain loud sorts… and draw your own conclusions! I decided to name all parties… not to “attack” this one or that one, but so that anyone who wished to verify my research could do so. Now, for a romp through the brambles and thickets of internet statistics…



There has been some loud rumblings from certain quarters lately… let’s see if there’s any substance to them at all. Firstly, I wish to state that statistics are what they are… they are illustrations, they are indicators; they are NOT “cast in stone” fact. For instance, the Nielsen ratings that showed All in the Family as one of the most popular programmes on the telly were not the only sign of how popular the show was; these figures were backed by the fact that many of its characters, plot lines, and quotations became a part of popular culture. The following graphs and statistics have to be taken as “pointers”, not as Holy Writ. That being said, I believe that my critics are more laughable than they are wounding… I guess that shows that my point is being made, after all. As Bob Czech put it many moons ago, “They wouldn’t be hollering if the harpoon hadn’t struck home deep”.

Let’s have a line-up of the usual cast of suspects. What makes it difficult is that so many of them are so unpopular that no figures or estimates exist for them. This is true of Byzantine Texas, Orrologion, Orthodixie, Frederica.com, and Ad Orientem. Do look at the following links and you will see the following disclaimer on the top right, “We do not have enough information to provide a highly accurate traffic estimate. When Quantified, this report will provide detailed, accurate audience information”.






There is an interesting variation for The Ochlophobist. There is an estimate of monthly “uniques” (1,500), but there are no traffic figures. This disclaimer for this site reads, “We do not have enough information to provide a highly accurate traffic estimate. When Quantified, this report will provide detailed, accurate audience information. This blog reaches fewer than 2,000 US monthly people”. This means that the five sites listed above may have a readership fewer than 1,500 “uniques”… that’s what the figures tend to show. See the URL below for verification.



The following graphs and information for the five named websites below came off the following webpages:

http://www.quantcast.com/orthodoxforum.com Orthodox Forum

http://www.quantcast.com/orthodoxengland.org.uk Orthodox England

http://www.quantcast.com/02varvara.wordpress.com Voices from Russia

http://www.quantcast.com/gavriil.typepad.com Gavriil

http://www.quantcast.com/ocanews.org Orthodox Christians for Accountability (later, “OCA”)

Let’s start with some raw figures… we’ll sift through the tea-leaves later. Who’s the leader in overall uniques per month? That’s hard to discern, as ocanews.org and orthodoxengland.org.uk only have US figures, not global figures. Of the three sites with global figures, the ranking is as follows:

  1. Voices from Russia: 10,400 (100)
  2. Orthodox Forum: 1,100 (10.6)
  3. Gavriil: 525 (5.0)

The US ranking is as follows:

  1. OCA: 8,900 (100)
  2. Voices from Russia: 5,300 (59.6)
  3. Orthodox England: 4,700 (52.8)
  4. Orthodox Forum: 660 (7.4)
  5. Gavriil: 421 (4.7)

As OCA and Orthodox England lack any global figures, any attempt to extrapolate a global figure from the US figures given would be statistical garbage and worthless. For instance, OCA has little interest for non-Americans, and Orthodox England has a primarily overseas audience.


Here are graphs for audience composition for three of the above sites:

They tell us some interesting things about them, don’t they? I would say that each site has a “core audience”, that is, addicts (daily or above visitors) and regulars (those who sign on at least once a week). One can conclude that if the core audience number is higher, it indicates a stagnant and non-dynamic readership. Let’s see where these sites stand in these areas.

Percentage of Visits by Core Audience:

  1. Gavriil: 83 (100)
  2. Orthodox Forum: 63 (75.9)
  3. Voices from Russia: 54 (65.1)

Core Audience as Percentage of the Total:

  1. Gavriil: 38
  2. Orthodox Forum: 26 (68.4)
  3. Voices from Russia: 23 (60.5)

The figures show that Gavriil has the most inbred (and, therefore, incestuous!) audience, and I have a rather more open and dynamic set of readers. The Orthodox Forum is, by design, a membership-driven site, so, one should not compare it… it’s apples and oranges. The higher the number of passers-by that a site attracts means that there is a higher chance of “recruiting” new core readers. Conversely, a lower figure of such means that a site is probably “preaching to the choir”, and is best avoided by decent and reasonable people.


You noted that I gave raw figures for the sites involved at the outset of this analysis. By themselves, they tell us nothing. To be able to come to a reasonable conclusion, one has to look at monthly hits per site as well. Quantcast has a class known as visits that a geeky acquaintance told me was not the same as a hit. That being said, I found that the graph for visits did mirror the rise and fall in the number of my monthly hits, so one should ignore the specific figures given, but attend to the trend lines. I found that the number of hits was a little over four times the number of visits… but that could hold true for my site only, so I do not offer it as a general rule. As I say, the correspondence in trend lines between visits and hits was uncanny… so the graphs are very useful, indeed. Usually, I try to have one-year graphs, but only six-month graphs were available for Gavriil and the Orthodox Forum.


The most interesting of these people/visit juxtapositions is that for Stokoe’s site. There was a sharp rise in people from February to April 2010 (which is now on the decrease) coupled with a sharp drop in visits from a peak in September 2009 to a bottom in April 2010, with a modest improvement since then. That is, more people were checking out the site, but less of them were hanging around. People are on the downward slope, but visits are slightly up. That is, I believe that this site is collapsing into its core group, especially after Stokoe refused to comment on the payoff to Bobby K and the Frankie and Joey Show at St Tikhon Monastery on Memorial Day. Terry Mattingly believes that Stokoe is the only true Orthodox journalist on the ‘Net… that is nothing but konvertsy stuff n’ nonsense. Do you want fries with that order of Humble Pie, Mr Mattingly? DO you want to supersize it? Stokoe should be made a Knight of the Order of the Big Green Weenie with Rhinestone Clusters.

Harry Coin’s Orthodox Forum shows a similar instability. It has had a 40% increase in people coupled with a 10% drop in hits. However, this is a moderated membership forum… it’s not open to the general net population. The number of hits has stayed fairly consistent, and the drop may be due to a seasonal variation (I have fewer hits in the summer season; it’s probably true for everyone else as well). The spike in newbies is probably due to the OCA crisis… when it subsides or comes to a head, they’ll be gone. I have no bloody idea which particular scandal shall sink the OCA… I only know that one of them finally shall do it. This is a group of self-satisfied Renovationist navel-gazers… James Silver, Nina Dimas, Harry Coin, and the rest of ‘em… I truly don’t miss their predictable and dreary reactions. However, their ideology becomes obvious to even a casual passer-by, so, they’re nasty, but not dangerous. Harry Coin gets the Order of the Big Green Weenie, First Class (if he shows it to Gus and Pete, he’ll get a free gyros, and Nick will toss in a shot of Harry’s favourite raki ).

Gavriil has a great deal to say about me. Suffice it to say, my average daily number of uniques is equal to a month’s worth for him. His visits and uniques are stable… he’s attracted a small and like-minded audience, and that’s all, folks. In short, I’m not going to call down any imprecations of doom upon this pygmy. I’m just going to observe that he doesn’t even have 5% of my readership. Sad, isn’t it? However, it’s not merely Gavriil… he’s only one of many charlatans and hucksters in the Orthodox cyberworld. Thankfully, Orthodox people have good sense, and they choose to read people like Fr Andrew and me, not “Gavriil”, Harry Coin, “John”, the “Ochlophobist”, Freddie, Honeycutt, and Orr (all not specifically named in other places on this post should get the Order of the Big Green Weenie, Second Class). Stokoe is on the downward slope, and he’ll probably join this select band. Yes sir, they’re rather loud, yet no one pays them any mind… and neither should we. Gavriil gets a new award just for him… (drum roll and flourish of trumpets)… The Golden Evil Weigel Boll Weevil. Of course, we know that the Boll Weevil is a pest and George Weigel is a consummate faker and liar. I did have to choose something à propos for him, didn’t I?

As for me, I’ll let the figures speak for themselves… My people figure is 231% what it was last year, and my visits are 236% of last year’s figure. “I aims to please”, as Popeye put it… and it appears that I have done so. I’ll keep on working hard to retain the trust that you’ve given me. The Truth is well-worth fighting for. We’re not done as of yet… can I count on you being by my side? Be good, all.

Barbara-Marie Drezhlo

Friday 4 June 2010

Albany NY


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