Monday, April 23, 2007

Vagaries of the Blogger Profile

As a rule I don't exactly spend time contemplating the Profile part of the blog. I filled out the form when I started the blog, added a few things here and there, and pretty much ignored it... other than occasionally looking to see how many people had viewed it.
It soon became obvious that the "viewed" count bore no real relation to whether anyone looked at the profile, because the count would sit at one number for a month or more and then take a jump. It then stayed at about the same number for the better part of a year before jumping two or three hundred. I knew from Sitemeter, however, that a steady trickle of people do come to the blog via the profile; they've read a comment I left somewhere else, or were looking at all the blogs by house rabbit enthusiasts.
So... I wrote off the profile view count as utterly useless.
Then the other day I ran across a potentially interesting art-related blog. It was a bit baffling because while there were only three posts, the blogger gave no explanations as to what she was doing (most bloggers give some sort of introductory statement, or in some other way rapidly make clear what their purpose is in creating a blog). The thing just started as if in the midst of something long-established, and the three posts each had something like 60 comments. Sixty comments?! Only a few blogs I've encountered attract that level of discussion. Susie Bright, Threadbared, and the Sartorialist all get a lot of comments, but 60? Furthermore, the many comments on this mysterious blog (which was kind of interesting but not coherent enough to go back to) suggested that the blogger had a devoted swarm of readers. Well, fine, many of us have a lot of friends, and some peoples' friends actually comment on blogs (clearly some of my friends comment on blogs, but more of them don't read them, and some of them simply announce that blogs are self-indulgent drivel or that they're afraid they'd catch a virus by reading a blog).
Mildly intrigued, I decided to check out the blogger's profile in hopes of learning what the blog was supposed to be about, as in, art or merely descriptions of strange encounters with co-workers. This was where I was thrown for a loop. The profile said nothing particularly informative about the blog or blogger, but claimed that over 6000 people had viewed the profile. This on a blog begun in 2007 that doesn't advertise it will show you the daily life of Czech porn stars?
All right, perhaps a mild level of jealousy began to operate here--but not a whole lot, as my purpose is not really to bring the entire Blogosphere to my door. Most of the heavily trafficked blogs I've seen get traffic for good reason: they provide ongoing interesting material and lots of people link to them.
That's what I didn't get about the 6000-viewer blog. With only three posts, none of which were that intelligible unless you knew the person (which I didn't), where did the 6000 profile views come from? After all, generally a lot more people see a blog than look at the blogger profile. I had been going on the assumption that everyone's profile view counter worked like mine and was way behind on the stats.
Is the whole profile view counter system broken? Does it show completely random numbers?
Inquiring minds want to know.


Anonymous Swobodin said...

Some points:
* Only a few blogs I've encountered attract that level of discussion
Just look for trolls. The number of comments does not always mean that the topic is interesting or that there's a civil conversation, sometimes it turns into a personal conflict and reaches 500 comments and more!
* they're afraid they'd catch a virus by reading a blog
I liked this. You're not bad in g33k humor by the way :-)
* Czech porn
The number of your visitors will increase soon, thank Mr. Google.

April 24, 2007 2:31 AM  
Blogger Kristen said...

Not a clue how these things work, however, I read a couple of knitting-related blogs that get 100 or more comments per day. One of them just announced that she has written a book and there were over 600 comments today! I've purposely not put on a sitemeter as I don't want to know my audience numbers. It would either frighten or depress me!

April 24, 2007 4:54 AM  
Blogger Karla said...

Well, agreed that some blogs do get loads of "me too" and flame wars or comments not reading, but even if this happens on a post we wouldn't find interesting, this doesn't normally happen on blogs with low readership, and something has to bring them there. Knitting blogs tend, for some reason (not purely the current popularity of knitting), to be massively popular these days and some of them do have a cult following. Not surprising certain ones collect loads of comments.

So, yeah, I'll get a brief spike in the stats from "Czech porn" but I've never known these added visitors to leave comments. If this blog ever starts attracting really stupid comments, I'll enable comment moderation. The readership here has always been a mix of random (searches for topics I happen to mention once or twice) and people who read with some regularity.

The person who claims blogs might give him a virus is a programmer. I have no explanation for this but it did amuse me after the initial astonishment passed.

April 24, 2007 9:08 AM  
Blogger Dr. Zaius said...

Did you do a search on the actual link to the profile? Who knows how many sites the author has put that profile on. (My Space, etc.) Modern social networking might explain all of the messages, as well as the profile stats.

Also, was the blog in question the only blog that the person behind profile contributed to? It seems silly to create conjecture about the idea when you haven't even supplied a link to the profile.

As far as "Czech porn" as a keyword, "britney Spears" and "underpants" seem draw a steady stream of gawkers as well.

As far as catching a virus by reading a blog, I would admit it is highly unlikely, but inline frames can be used on blogger. You could conceivably at least transmit spyware that way, some of the milder adware and spyware is transmitted by unsavory web pages, I've heard. (Until you're caught, at least.)

April 25, 2007 12:12 AM  
Blogger Dr. Zaius said...

Here are a couple of references regarding getting malicious software merely through a webpage. As Blogger allows inline frames, the code need not be on the actual Blogger server. I also totally agree that it is highly unlikely for this happen, and is not really even a problem if you have free programs like AVG and Adaware installed.

"Do NOT click any button in the pop-up (such as a "Close" or "No" button) or the Close box that may appear in the upper-right corner of the pop-up. Closing a pop-up in that way might actually install a virus or other malicious software on your computer. To close a pop-up ad, press Ctrl-W (if you're using a Windows computer) or Command-W (on a Mac computer). You may receive an email warning that claims to be from a computer "expert" warning you of a virus. These are usually hoaxes. Do not follow the steps described in any email unless you're sure the threat is real."

"Rep. Bono (at right) issued a release which states the nature of the problem addressed by the bill. It states that "When users surf the Internet, they often unintentionally download invasive spyware. Just visiting a web site can sometimes result in a "drive-by download," meaning the spyware is installed on the PC simply by clicking on a website. More often, consumers unknowingly agree to download spyware systems when they accept software licensing agreements while downloading software from the Internet."

April 25, 2007 6:47 PM  

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