The Corner

Slate’s Doohickey

A colleague forwards me Slate’s ideological media map.  You can, for example, find out how ideological diverse your own web browsing is by hitting the “profile me” button. It’s pretty nifty looking and a clever idea, though I’m not sure how useful or reliable it is.

One gripe is that they wildly low-ball our traffic. It has been a long time since I was even remotely “expert” on how web traffic stats are compiled (about a decade ago, at the dawn, of NRO this was a minor obsession of mine). Regardless, we use Google Analytics to measure our traffic — or at least that’s the stuff I see. Maybe there are problems with that software, I truly don’t know. Truthfully, I don’t fully trust any web numbers from any source about any thing.  But for a host of reasons, intuitive and historical, Google’s numbers feel about right. Anyway, according to the Slate chart we have 34,688 daily readers. Our own number from Google for Friday, often a slow day, was “156,603 Absolute Unique Visitors.”

Make of that what you will.

As for how many liberals read us, my intuition also says we do “better” than the Slate chart suggests. But that’s pure guesswork on my part.

Now, I must go change my name and become an assistant manager at a Footlocker in the Midwest, to escape the wrath of the suits who are undoubtedly cross with me for revealing even a glimpse of our proprietary stats.

Update: Hah! From a reader:

Hi Jonah,

I’m a long-time admirer of yours and your post about Google Analytics inspired me to reach out. I worked for Google Analytics for several years so web analytics is very much a passion of mine. I checked out your GA implementation and after a cursory glance it appears to be about right. I’d trust the numbers you’re seeing in your GA reports.

There are a number of reasons why third-party sources of data can be inaccurate so it’s not too surprising to see Slate so severely underreporting NR’s online readership. Anyway, thanks for everything you do, and if you ever have any GA-related questions, feel free to let me know!

Warm regards,

Update II: More outrage!

More evidence of Slate underreporting hits…  I’m a daily reader of the Corner, and I just tried Slate’s “profile me” button, and it did NOT list as one of the sites that I read.  I found this very surprising, as I probably read the Corner more often than the other sites that they did list for me.


Two possible explanations:

1)  I access The Corner 90% of the time through Google Reader, not the site directly.  Maybe they are only counting hits to the site directly, and not through any RSS readers, whereas Google Analytics may count these hits.

2)  Maybe they are not counting The Corner, but only the rest of the National Review site?  I pretty much only read the Corner, so if they were only looking for hits to the main site, they wouldn’t count me as a reader.

Update III: Just a clarification folks. The percentages after a media outlet — e.g. CNN 54% — don’t refer to the content of the media outlet, it refers to the readership. In other words, it is surprising that 54% of’s visitors are conservative, but it is ludicrous to think that 54% of its content is.


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