It’s always a mistake to address anony Internet haters but the topic of K.C. Confidential’s stat success is worth addressing in as much as it points that people working in web media can’t really claim much expertise over the average millennial college student. Here’s the sitch:
To me, this kind of argument that rages among unemployed people fighting on the Internet is akin a discussion of how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. Still, busting myth-busting people who don’t know what they’re talking about is good fun. So let’s bring just a bit of light into the den of ignorance that is the Gateway City Radio message boards.
First, let’s start by acknowledging the overall weakness of the advertising model because that’s the only thing that makes web stats important – the ability to use them in order to garner advertising dollars. As the dead tree media moves completely online it’s important to realize that the same revenue structure does not apply. Put simply, web ads just don’t make as much money as print and that’s not going to change for a very long time. Maybe never. In fact, the New York Times has crunched the numbers and determined that web advertising simply won’t keep their news organization afloat.
Meanwhile, the Long Tail theory tells us that in a world of unlimited bandwidth there is a significant and sustainable niche out there for almost every blogger or Internet content purveyor. This means that there’ll be more competition, increasingly segmented audiences and simply less money to go around.
Yet, despite all this bad news people are still dishing out money for online advertising and K.C. Confidential has an impressive list of sponsors who are so successful that most of them are out of my price range. And what I’ve learned from Hearne in the short time that I’ve known him is that these folks running local businesses that would benefit from placement on a local niche site don’t have the time, will or inclination to do their homework when it comes to an accurate reading of webstats at somewhat reliable online sources like Quantcast, Compete or Alexa. They’re just not gonna ask for Google Analytics numbers. In turn, for an online publisher, the invasion of privacy just isn’t worth the few hundred dollars that a web advertising client is offering.
In my opinion, while this blog has pretty great stats it’s really Hearne’s reputation, personality and influence that sways his sponsors.
So, web stats, traffic ranking and other kinds of (mostly unreliable) online measures of popularity are mostly the domain of online jerks (like me), while people with money to spend at the local level rarely take time to understand the mostly pointless minutia for such a trivial investment.
Nevertheless, the staffers at this blog are surprisingly forthcoming when it comes to hard data and I was e-mailed a copy of a “money shot” which clearly demonstrates that this blog is averaging nearly 100k hits a day during the latest traffic spike in November that I think in part had something to do Greg Hall’s great sports writing and Hearne’s scoop on former KU football coach Mark Magino’s big ass. Here’s a look at the stats that come directly from WordPress:
In the final analysis, the charts or one stat measuring one site vs. another isn’t going to convince online anony haters . . . But that’s okay because they’re not important. On my blog, TKC, I’m rewarded by e-mails, great online debates among hundreds of people everyday and conversations with some of the most politically connected folks in Kansas City. Here at KCC it’s obvious that Hearne knows nearly EVERYONE in this cowtown and his connections have garnered an impressive Facebook following of more than 2,000 people, the six-figure hit count we were just discussing and a long list of advertisers. Contrastingly, online haters have only their wits and a lot of free time due to chronic unemployment. So, while there is no “winning” this argument I think it’s important for denizens of the Internet to understand that life is not fair. The brilliance of an online annony d-bag almost always goes unrewarded, while folks, like Hearne, who hustle are able to do garner advertisers and a growing audience. Heck, even seldom-visited sites I’ve never heard of like NightlifeKC.com are pulling down impressive client lists. Online stat geeks can cry foul but the fact of the matter is, when it comes to local niche content there’s still no accurate web measure for INFLUENCE which is a rare item in both the digital and real world, and it’s something that is completely lacking in anony online complainers busy counting other people’s stats and money.