Friday Bonus: A Blog Stats “Whodunit?” (AKA “We Are Legion.”)

 
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A Single Post (the “Cheese” Post About Power Pivot Being Removed From
Most Versions of Excel 2013) Had Its Best Day Ever Yesterday.  Why?

Yesterday I awoke to unusually high traffic on the site.  A single post – Who Moved My PowerPivot Cheese? – was going gangbusters.

What does “gangbusters” mean?  Well, for perspective, let’s check out the Mary Jo Foley Effect:

 

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Mary Jo Foley is “kind of a big deal.”  We don’t often make the radar of people like her, and when we do, well, traffic spikes quite a bit – the “Cheese” post got a lot wider attention because of her link in March, but heck, that post was already “hot” beforehand due to the dramatic/controversial nature.

So why, nearly 6 months later, does this post go vertical, and exceed the levels of attention brought even by Mary Jo?

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This is Very Unusual Behavior

Two Possible Sources:  News or Link?

Spikes like this happen for two reasons:  1) a particular topic becomes super hot – like, it appears in the news or something, and people start Googling it like mad   or 2) someone “big” links to it.

Well I looked at yesterday’s search engine terms.  Was there a big spike in people searching for “why is PowerPivot missing from 2013?” or “What the HELL, Microsoft???”

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Nope, No Obvious Spike in Search Terms

OK…  so that led me to the Referrers stats – views coming in via link from other sites:

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Hey, Has Anyone Referred, Like, 600 Page Views?  Nope.

Puzzling.  I gave up.

…and then came back.  I can’t resist a good mystery!  (Which, BTW, is a trait I think many of us share – yeah we like numbers, but we also like sleuthing in the numbers don’t we?)

I looked at Referrers again.  Everyone in there was a “usual suspect” except one:

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The Excel Addict?  Color Me Interested Smile

I’d never heard of a site called The Excel Addict, and it was only 19 views referred, but it sounded interesting, so I clicked through.

And aha!  A link!

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OK, So The Excel Addict DID Link to “Cheese.”
But Only Sent 19 Views – Well Short of the 600+ Spike.

I snooped around the site a bit and discovered he is from Canada.  In my brain, “Canada plus Excel” equals Ken Puls, so I asked Ken on Skype – “ever heard of the Excel Addict?”

Ken said “Nope never heard of him.  Let me go check out the site… HOLY COW HE HAS 29,000 SUBSCRIBERS!”

And indeed.  Indeed he does:

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29,608 Subscribers is a Lot Smile

Mystery Solved!

When an email or RSS newsletter goes out, and people click links in it, it does NOT register as a “referred” view.  Early yesterday morning, the Excel Addict Newsletter went out to 29,000 people – and about 600 of them clicked through to see the “Cheese” post.

It was The Excel Addict.  In the Study.  With the Newsletter.  I knew it all along Winking smile

The Takeaway:  We Are Legion.

Excel Pros are everywhere.  It is fantastic that I had never heard of The Excel Addict.  I don’t mean that in a demeaning way to him – quite the contrary!

The deliciously awesome thing here is this:  there are Excel sites lurking out there with monstrous readership.  Monstrous.  You will be hard pressed to find blogs devoted to .NET, or Java, or BI, with 29k people signed up to receive newsletters.

And yet, a site with readership numbers that would make the tech world tremble – one that can drive more referred views than ZDNet – in the Excel world, that site can exist without ME knowing about it.

Let that sink in.

Now rewind the clock a bit, to early 2010.  The official Microsoft Excel Blog linked to PowerPivotPro a couple of times back then, and in outlandishly deliberate fashion.  As in, they posted an article written by me, but only the first two paragraphs appeared on their site, and readers had to click through to PowerPivotPro in order to read the rest.

In the guerrilla blogosphere, we call this a Major Coup.  A 100% captive audience that basically is forced to click through – and from a big site.

And that drove about 1,000 views over to my site.  Big numbers for me back then!

But people like The Excel Addict, and Chandoo, and MrExcel – all have considerably more “pull” than the official MS Excel blog.  Remember, the Excel Addict included a link to PowerPivotPro at the bottom of his update.  It was far from “captive,” and still drove nearly as many views.  Didn’t know about him until yesterday.

And I had not heard of Chandoo until 2009!

How many more such sites are lurking out there?  Excel Addict, take a bow. 

Excel Pros – the largest collection, by FAR, of “programmers” in the world.

6 Responses to Friday Bonus: A Blog Stats “Whodunit?” (AKA “We Are Legion.”)

  1. David Hager says:

    Sounds like a good place to advertize your course(s).

    As the person who published the 1st Excel newsletter, I feel a little foolish not using it to advertize something big, but live & learn.

  2. David Hager says:

    Sounds like a good place to advertize your course(s).

    As the person who published the 1st Excel newsletter, I feel a little foolish not using it to advertise something big, but live & learn.

  3. Francis Hayes is a good dude. I found The Excel Addict in 99 or 00. We switched from Lotus123 and I needed some tools. He helped me out over the years on a few problems. He’s how I found Chandoo and how I found you.

  4. m-b says:

    The site looks a bit like some scam trying very hard to sell you something though… But maybe that’s just me :)

    • powerpivotpro says:

      The traffic numbers don’t lie :)

      Aside: I’ve found that MANY Excel sites have sort of that mid-90′s “carnival barker” feel. Some of the earliest adopters of the web perhaps? And never had time to revisit the design?

      I would say the addict site is quite a bit above average, to be honest :)

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