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 OzzieSport.com, 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 OzzieSport.com’s statistics as the author has access to them. They are visible in Figure 1.
Figure 1. OzzieSport.com 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 OzzieSport.com. 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.
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 http://www.backendbattles.com/backend/Google_Analytics
Derryn Hinch. (2010, December 28). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 04:09, January 16, 2011, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Derryn_Hinch&oldid=404599662
Google Analytics. (2011, January 17). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 01:53, January 17, 2011, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Google_Analytics&oldid=408298655
Hinch, D. (2010, September 21). The Response…. Derryn Hinch – My Liver, My Life. Blog, . Retrieved January 16, 2011, from http://liverblog.hinch.net/the-response/
Hinch, D. (2010, December 24). Hinch delves deeper into scandal. 3AW693 News Talk. Radio. Retrieved December 27, 2010, from http://www.3aw.com.au/blogs/blog-with-derryn-hinch/hinch-delves-deeper-into-scandal/20101224-196xc.html
Hinch, D. (2010, December 28). Your number’s up. HINCH.net – The Official Derryn Hinch Website. Retrieved December 29, 2010, from http://www.hinch.net/hinch-says-2010/December/28-12-10.html
Hinch, D. (2010, December 29). A stern reply. HINCH.net – The Official Derryn Hinch Website. Retrieved December 29, 2010, from http://www.hinch.net/hinch-says-2010/December/28-12-10.html
Hinch, D. (2011, January 14). One last time. HINCH.net – The Official Derryn Hinch Website. Retrieved January 16, 2011, from http://hinch.net/hinch-says-2011/January/14-01-11.html
How does Google Analytics work? – Analytics Help. (2011). Google. Retrieved January 17, 2011, from http://www.google.com/support/analytics/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=55539
Rebecca. (2010, March 22). Derryn Hinch – longtime campaigner against sexual abuse. BlueBec.Com. Blog. Retrieved January 16, 2011, from http://blogs.bluebec.com/derryn_hinch/
van den Berg, L. (2010, September 21). Derryn Hinch reveals cancer battle on radio. Herald Sun. Newspaper. Retrieved January 16, 2011, from http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/derryn-hinch-reveals-cancer-battle/story-e6frf7jo-1225926878533
Woolveridge, R. (2005, May 19). Hinch hammered for believing Corby guilty. Sydney Morning Herald. Newpaper. Retrieved January 16, 2011, from http://www.smh.com.au/news/National/Hinch-hammered-for-believing-Corby-guilty/2005/05/19/1116361653718.html