Archive for January 11th, 2011

Derryn Hinch’s web traffic, #dickileaks and the Saints

Posted by on Tuesday, 11 January, 2011

Apologies to the Saints. They are mentioned in this post as Hinch has been talking about them and Hinch’s traffic relates to the controversy related to them. And, Google Analytics wise, I want to quickly filter my traffic related to #dickileaks and putting Saints in the URL is an easy way to do that.

Derryn Hinch has been described as a shock jock. (Rebecca, 2010, March 22)(van den Berg, 2010, September 21) (Woolveridge, 2005, May 19) It is a label that he does not use to describe himself. (Hinch, 2010, September 21)  He has been involved in several Australian controversies that touch on politics, crime and sport.  Most of these controversies had connections with things he said on the radio. (Derryn Hinch, 2010, December 28)

During the St Kilda nude photo controversy, Hinch was one of the loudest voices in questioning the AFL and St Kilda.  He made multiple blog posts about the subject, demanding answers to questions he asked pursuant to that controversy. (Hinch, 2010, December 24) (Hinch, 2010, December 28) (Hinch, 2010, December 29) (Hinch, 2011, January 14) He has interviewed the girl who published the pictures.  He promoted his blog entries on his Twitter account at @humanheadline.   When most of the media dropped the story, Hinch continued to follow it.  A December 27, 2010 tweet by Hinch claimed his site got more than 2 million hits in December.

This purpose of this chapter is to examine two things.  The first is the veracity of Hinch’s claim regarding getting 2 million hits.   It is important to have an accurate number about the likely volume of traffic to Hinch’s website as most of the traffic between December 19 and December 27 was likely a result of the St Kilda controversy.  If Hinch’s numbers are to be believed, the controversy had a much wider audience than the St Kilda chapter in this dissertation would have you believe.  Once the likely volume of traffic to Hinch’s website has been determined, it will be compared to the traffic to related articles on Wikipedia.  The secondary purpose to help understand how traffic to “shock jock” media sites differs from latent, likely non-fan interest in the story as measured by Wikipedia article views.   “Shock jock” driven media site and Wikipedia likely cater to two distinct audiences.  Understanding how these different audiences function can help provide greater understanding for how Australian sport fandom responds to major controversy and where an audience interested in these controversies turns to for information.

The first thing that needs to be done is to determine the accuracy of Derryn Hinch’s traffic data.  His claim is that he received 2 million hits in the period between December 1 and December 28.  In order to verify this data, the method he used for determining his hit totals needs to determined.  This was done using Quarkbase, a web site analysis tool that can tell you what tools a website has installed.  Hinch.Net was checked  was found to only have Apache/2.2.3 (Webserver) installed.  This contrasts with,  the author’s website, which has QuantCast (Traffic Monitoring), wordpress (Blog), Google Analytics (Traffic Monitoring), StatCounter (Traffic Monitoring), Apache/1.3.41 (Webserver), and WordPress (Traffic Monitoring) installed.  Hinch does not have popular traffic monitoring tools like Quantcast or Google Analytics installed.  He does not have software like WordPress that has its own statistics package installed.  Hinch’s lack of having Google Analytics and Quantcast installed means that he does not have industry standard traffic measuring tools installed; his method of counting traffic is not the accepted one.  Further, this shows Derryn Hinch’s method of counting traffic involves server statistics.  Server statistics count hits differently than Google Analytics and Quantcast. Server generated statistics may include all non-human access including Google bot access, pingback spam, other bots accessing the site, Baiduspider , Alexa, MSN bot, Yahoo slurp, the Internet Archive, Google Adsense access, etc.  It counts as hits all internal pages and images that the site maintainer accesses.  It counts every human accessed file as a hit: If a web page has 100 images, two .css files and two java script files, that would count as 105 hits.  A January 17 image count for Hinch’s main page reveals that there are 51 images that load off his server: Visiting his main page would mean at least 52 hits to his server.  Assuming everyone who visited only his main page was actually human, divide 2,000,000 by 52 equals 38,461 views of his home page.  Total page views of 38,461 suggests a scale of traffic different than 2,000,000.  This disconnect is part of the reason that Google Analytics, not server statistics, are an industry standard.

Another way of looking at the problems for Hinch’s server statistics is to compare them to actual totals from another site.  In this case, the other site is’s statistics as the author has access to them.  They are visible in Figure 1.

Ozzie sport stats from awstats for December 2010

Figure 1. server statistics.
The chart in Figure 1 is the traffic as measured by Awstats, a server side method of tracking my traffic. The raw stats generated by AwStats say OzzieSport received 4,119 visits, 11,879 page views, 49,011 page views, 82,451 hits in December 2010.     In the context of Hinch’s site, Hinch received 24.25 times the amount of traffic as  Where server statistics falls down is that it suggests much smaller amounts of traffic. The ratio for OzzieSport total hits to total visitors is 20.02. Assuming Hinch’s ratios are similar to OzzieSport’s statistics, Hinch had 99,900 visitors.  Like the recalculation based on hits, this number suggests that Hinch’s traffic is not as high as the 2 million figure would lead one to believe.

Server statistics, for reasons explained above, are generally not viewed as reliable and are not used by most industry people to measure traffic to a site.  The statistic package that is used is Google Analytics.   Sites like Twitter, MySpace,, and all have Google Analytics installed. (Google Analytics, 2011, January 17). As of June 2010, an estimated ” 23.48% of Alexa’s 10,000 most popular websites” have Google Analytics installed. (The Biggest Google Analytics Sites, 2010, June 3) Google Analytics works by using ” a first-party cookie and JavaScript code to collect information about visitors.” (How does Google Analytics work? – Analytics Help, 2011).  Hinch does not have Google Analytics installed.  Given that, rough estimates need to be made regarding how much traffic he may have gotten using known variables.  In this case, Google Analytics data and server data are available for OzzieSport.  OzzieSport’s Google Analytics data is found in Figure 2.

Ozzie Sport Google Analytics Stats showing less traffic.

Where Ozzie had 4,119 visitors according to server data , OzzieSport had 1,744 visitors according to Google Analytics.  The server statistics recorded 2.36 times more visitors than Google Analytics.   Using these numbers as a base and assuming that Hinch had 99,900 server recorded visits, Hinch had an estimated 42,330 visitors that would have been counted by Google Analytics.  Using the same OzzieSport numbers, Hinch had an estimated 1250000 page views according on his server.  Using OzzieSport’s server to Google Analytics ratio, Hinch had 78,616 page views.

The Biggest Google Analytics Sites. (2010, June 3). Backend Battles. Retrieved January 17, 2011, from
Derryn Hinch. (2010, December 28). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 04:09, January 16, 2011, from
Google Analytics. (2011, January 17). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 01:53, January 17, 2011, from
Hinch, D. (2010, September 21). The Response…. Derryn Hinch – My Liver, My Life. Blog, . Retrieved January 16, 2011, from
Hinch, D. (2010, December 24). Hinch delves deeper into scandal. 3AW693 News Talk. Radio. Retrieved December 27, 2010, from
Hinch, D. (2010, December 28). Your number’s up. – The Official Derryn Hinch Website. Retrieved December 29, 2010, from
Hinch, D. (2010, December 29). A stern reply. – The Official Derryn Hinch Website. Retrieved December 29, 2010, from
Hinch, D. (2011, January 14). One last time. – The Official Derryn Hinch Website. Retrieved January 16, 2011, from
How does Google Analytics work? – Analytics Help. (2011). Google. Retrieved January 17, 2011, from
Rebecca. (2010, March 22). Derryn Hinch – longtime campaigner against sexual abuse. BlueBec.Com. Blog. Retrieved January 16, 2011, from
van den Berg, L. (2010, September 21). Derryn Hinch reveals cancer battle on radio. Herald Sun. Newspaper. Retrieved January 16, 2011, from
Woolveridge, R. (2005, May 19). Hinch hammered for believing Corby guilty. Sydney Morning Herald. Newpaper. Retrieved January 16, 2011, from

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Australian Alexa Rank and St Kilda vs Derryn Hinch #dickileaks

Posted by on Tuesday, 11 January, 2011

I keep telling myself to stop watching this situation and stop reading about it. At the same time, I still keep getting occassionally relevant Twitter data, Alexa data and Facebook data. (Otherwise, I’m not really collecting from sites like ebay, delicious, digg, YouTube.) The most recent bit of discussion involving this particular scandal has involved Derryn Hinch. The nicest way of phrasing the comments is that Hinch is acting as an agent provocateur, using the scandal to boost his own media visibility. I was curious as to the extent that his visibility could be measured against St Kilda’s visibility given my normal methods of gathering data. The two best ways are Twitter and Alexa. I opted for Alexa because I’ve not been getting Twitter data every day like I normally do.

Hinch’s website can be found at Hinch’s site on Alexa is found at siteinfo/ St Kilda’s site is at and their Alexa info is at siteinfo/ is a heavily visited Saints fansite that is also included. Australian rank is used because that’s the Saints’s primary market. Chart below.

Hinch Saints Alexa ranking

I don’t particularly like Alexa for Australian rankings. It is easily manipulated. See I have the Alexa toolbar installed. I visit my site at least once a day, probably for an hour a day. I probably get one or two other visits a day from other Australians who have the toolbar installed. Those two things probably explain why ranks better in Australia on Alexa than the Saints’s site and Hinch’s site. The Saints and Hinch aren’t probably relying on themselves visiting regularly to improve their rank.

That said, as some one with out access to their Google Analytics logs and with neither site being quantified like like mine, this Alexa data is the best way I have of determining passive interest. (Wikipedia article views probably could also be used. Twitter follows imply higher levels of interest. Not so passive.)

Alexa also provides a bit of a demographic profile of people who visit a site. This can be interesting. (And during the main part of the St Kilda scandal, the profile of who visited St Kilda’s site didn’t change.) The following is the description of St Kilda’s audience:

There are 304,737 sites with a better three-month global Alexa traffic rank than About 4% of visits to the site are referred by search engines. Relative to the overall population of internet users, the site’s audience tends to be both uneducated and highly educated; it also appeals more to childless men earning over $60,000 who browse from work. is in the “St. Kilda Saints” category of websites. Roughly 50% of visits to it are bounces (one pageview only).

The following is a description of Hinch’s audience:

There are 495,994 sites with a better three-month global Alexa traffic rank than The site has been online since 2000, and the time spent in a typical visit to the site is about four minutes, with two minutes spent on each pageview. The site is in the “Personalities” category. The fraction of visits to referred by search engines is about 7%.

The Saints fansite has the following description: is ranked #690,216 in the world according to the three-month Alexa traffic rankings. The site belongs to the “St. Kilda Saints” category. The site has been online for at least eight years. is relatively popular among users in the cities of Glenroy (where it is ranked #24), Hobart (#64), and Melbourne (#2,159). We estimate that 62% of visitors to the site come from Australia, where it has attained a traffic rank of 35,618.

For control with my own site?

There are 248,165 sites with a better three-month global Alexa traffic rank than We estimate that 94% of visitors to the site come from Australia, where it has attained a traffic rank of 2,085. The fraction of visits to the site referred by search engines is about 7%. has a bounce rate of roughly 34% (i.e., 34% of visits consist of only one pageview). Visitors to it spend roughly nineteen minutes per visit to the site and 88 seconds per pageview.

What this suggests to me is that Saints fans are loyal visitors, who regularly visit the site. It also suggests that Hinch’s audience are visiting his site largely in response to his updated blog posts about the scandal.

So take that as you will. Hinch appears to be getting more traffic than the Saints amongst the social media/marketing/public relations set than the Saints. The Saints have a loyal audience while Hinch’s traffic is more dependent on the content he is posting.

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