Archive for January 17th, 2011

Derryn Hinch: Journalist traffic versus Wikipedia traffic in response to St Kilda controversy

Posted by Laura on Monday, 17 January, 2011

I removed the last article I had about Hinch because I made one big number mistake: I used total year stats for Ozziesport instead of December 2010 stats.  I made this mistake repeatedly when it came to server statistics and Google Analytics data. When this was corrected for, the totals were a bit different and Hinch had double the traffic I had estimated, closer to 99,900 visitors on his server and 42,330 visitors using Google Analytics.  I apologize for this error.  I did not have my blog piece’s statistics checked like I should in my haste to put something on my blog. I’m rather embarrassed and very apologetic regarding this error.  The post below is a first draft of a chapter for my dissertation.  This time, I spent a lot of extra time to check my math and my numbers so I would not repeat that error again.

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” journalist 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.

Figure 2.’s Google Analytics information for December 2010.

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 data suggests the Hinch’s website likely had around 42,000 visitors and 79,000 page views.  Hinch’s numbers may be accurate in terms of how many hits he received to his website but are misleading when compared to the industry standard count of Google Analytics.

The second purpose of this chapter is to determine the level of Hinch’s traffic compared to Wikipedia. In order to do this, the total article views needs to be determined for the period between December 20 and December 28.  To determine this, statistics were gathered at for the St Kilda Saints, Nick Riewoldt, Zac Dawson, Sam Gilbert and Nick Dal Santo articles.  This data can be found in Table 1.

Table 1
St Kilda related Wikipedia article total views

Date Nick Riewoldt Nick Riewoldt Corrected Zac Dawson Zac Dawson Corrected Sam Gilbert Sam Gilbert corrected Nick Dal Santo Nick Dal Santo corrected St Kilda Football Club St Kilda Football Club corrected
1-Dec-10 67 13 13 14 272
2-Dec-10 83 10 15 19 298
3-Dec-10 64 10 12 21 244
4-Dec-10 60 15 15 19 233
5-Dec-10 83 8 10 11 210
6-Dec-10 76 11 15 17 258
7-Dec-10 89 13 7 12 284
8-Dec-10 86 5 15 24 359
9-Dec-10 79 7 13 24 274
10-Dec-10 80 13 9 20 280
11-Dec-10 51 9 22 15 222
12-Dec-10 67 4 7 10 210
13-Dec-10 58 14 16 15 267
14-Dec-10 68 7 16 16 249
15-Dec-10 84 11 24 11 250
16-Dec-10 73 17 16 16 265
17-Dec-10 52 11 11 13 248
18-Dec-10 60 9 21 14 187
19-Dec-10 47 11 14 15 200
20-Dec-10 2,500 2,430 1,000 990 262 248 751 735 454 201
21-Dec-10 6,500 6,430 1,100 1,090 1,700 1686 1,400 1384 934 681
22-Dec-10 3,400 3,330 328 318 1,000 986 780 764 613 360
23-Dec-10 2,100 2,030 233 223 796 782 456 440 430 177
24-Dec-10 1,300 1,230 253 243 642 628 495 479 353 100
25-Dec-10 611 541 56 46 254 240 150 134 214 -39
26-Dec-10 492 422 39 29 463 449 108 92 278 25
27-Dec-10 335 265 25 15 123 109 67 51 180 -73
28-Dec-10 286 216 27 17 79 65 76 60 132 -121
December 1-19 average 69.8 10.4 14.3 16.1 253.2
Total corrected 16,895 2,967 5,191 4,138 1,310

When the total increased article views are added together, the result is 30,501. Derryn Hinch’s page views has been estimated at 79,000. Wikipedia’s totals are less than half of Hinch’s. This suggests that more people turned to Hinch for news about the St Kilda nude photo controversy than people turned to Wikipedia.

In conclusion, Hinch’s 2 million number is misleading in that it is derived from an industry standard number.  It was corrected for, arriving at a number of around 42,000 visitors and 79,000 page views from December 1 to December 28. During the major part of the controversy, more total people turned to Derryn Hinch and his website than people turned to Wikipedia for information when total page/article views is the measure.  When controversy happens, sport fans still turn to traditional media presented by journalists online.


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  • Hinch, D. (2010, September 21). The Response…. Derryn Hinch – My Liver, My Life. Blog, . Retrieved January 16, 2011, from
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