How to Feed a Lawyer (and Other Irreverent Observations from the Legal Underground)

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Federalist No. 84

Your Saturday Guest-Blog feature got me thinking about something totally unrelated...but anyhow...
When I first started blogging I imagined that most of my readers would come on Saturdays and Sundays - when not at work. Instead, the opposite is true. I get 2-2.5 times more readers during the work week - especially on Tuesdays & Wednesdays.
It seems people have better things to do on the weekend than surf: they save the surfing for WORK!


Fed 84, That is so true. Weekends are noticeably dead, even on law school blogs like mine that don't get a ton of traffic in the first place.

I'm pretty sure Evan is adding this new feature to drive up his weekend advertising rates. Nevermind that he has no ads.


Federalist & Steve: I agree that traffic slows on the weekends (here, it's about 2/3 of the traffic during the week). I think that's sort of hilarious: people reading blogs at work. I suppose I'm not doing my part at the office to contribute to the blogging revolution, since I unhooked the staff's computers from the Internet, except for the one that's required for federal court filings. What a hypocrite I am!

Even though traffic is still down, I still post on the weekends. (I don't on the Illinois Trial Practice Weblog though.) I figure people who want to steal their bosses' T1 line can catch up on Mondays.

David Giacalone

Your weekend numbers may be a clue to how many actual human being visit your websites, as opposed to robots, RSS ticklers, and other forms of phantom hit-makers. I have long been skeptical about the significance of page hits, believing that they greatly surpass the number of human visitors (by a factor of 5, 10 or perhaps 20 or more), especially for weblogs that have lots of incoming and outgoing links and lots of graphics. See, e.g., Those Misleading Traffic Stats.

A hit is not just every request to your server for a page, but also every "request" by your page for a graphic.

I became particularly suspicious last October, when -- a month after I declared the ethicalEsq site dormant and stopped all posting -- my page hits were down only 14% from my very best numbers. See Phantom Page Hits?.

Take a look at the Top Sites page for Harvard weblogs. Even though BloggerCon2 was held last April, and the weblog page has not been updated since then, the BloggerCon weblog had over 3000 page hits already today (Sunday).

My weblog f/k/a. . . has been basically all haiku for six weeks now instead of lengthy comments on legal ethics; in this new format, the site gets virtually no outside Trackbacks or people Commenting, but I'm averaging a bit more than in the best times of ethicalEsq -- with over 1200 hits before noon on this Sunday morning. Lawyers turned rabid haiku lovers overnight? More likely: search engine robots (such as Technorati's) still mining old links and a couple new ones recently added by haiku-related sites.

My conclusions? If your weblog has virtually no incoming links, your page hits may be fairly closely related to real human visitors (but, you might have to divide the number by 2 or 4 or 10, depending on your graphic density). If your weblog has lots of incoming and outgoing links, the actual number of human beings is probably no more than the difference between your weekend average and your daily average (again, divided by as much as 10 to account for graphic requests to your server).

Therefore, it is not surprising that weblogs with few links seem virtually dead on the weekend, while Evan's multi-linked site still has good numbers, although somewhat reduced.

This means that we all need to stay very humble about our traffic stats. It also suggests that some techies, who have no emotional or financial stake in how big the blogosphere is or how busy a website looks, need to figure out a better way to do head-counts instead of hit-counts. Maybe they could measure the length of stay at the site, and it should be more than a milli-second to count as a possible person.

Of course, none of this means that lots of folks aren't using their work computers to check out sites each day, nor that law students aren't surfing when they should be studying.

Federalist No. 84

Does your argument apply to sitemeter? My sitemeter counts hits (by noting unique IP addresses) and page views. It's imperfect because it seems to allow the same IP address count as a new "hit" if the person returns after 3 to 6 hours. But it is still pretty close. I know this because my traffic will noticeably increase when linked to by a more popular blog.

It doesn't count "hits" that occur when google collects my page - only when someone links from google. By BStats counter does count these google hits.

How this works in practice...if someone googles "federalism" my site will be pulled up as a result. BStats counts this as a hit. However, sitemeter does not, unless, of course, someone clicks on my page from the google results area.

The reason some pages that are infrequently updated still receive a lot of traffic is because those of us who do not use a news aggregator to read blawgs keep bringing in traffic. Public Defender Dude, e.g., did not update his page for 20-something days. However, I still checked his blawg each day because I particulary enjoy it. [Evan, I do have FeedDemon. But I read blogs from my blogroll for the same reason I use books instead of ebooks - okay for no good reason!]

Anyhow, I stay humble since my average hits per day only recently hit 3-digits. However, I have met some really interesting people through my blawg. That's why I keep writing it. No fame, but who knows, maybe a friend or two. Makes it all worthwhile.

David Giacalone

Hi, Fed84. You make a good point: some counters are far more precise than others. I don't know the definitions for the terms used by SiteMeter and would appreciate hearing from anyone who knows the answer to your question.

My general complaint and perspective on this issue arose in the context of weblog cheerleaders (and egomaniacs) who bragged about the magnitude of "website traffic," when their numbers were actually nothing more than page hits. They have manipulated technology and stats to create a hall of mirrors that looks a lot more populated than it is in reality.

I hearily agree with your point about what makes weblogging worthwhile.

Rufus T. Firefly

The other day I installed a statcounter, www.statcounter.com, it's hidden, only I can access the stats, and it breaks dwon the visits in several very precise ways, including one feature that lets you see the cities where the visitors are from and to also see their service provider -- including businesses if the business maintains its own web address. Thus I know what firms and government agencies some of my readers are coming from; including the two separate IP addresses at the Washington, D.C. office of John Kerry for President -- I swear to God, who I think are John Edwards and his wife, Carnie Wilson Edwards, uh, sorry, I mean Elizabeth Edwards. Anyway, since I can gather the IP addresses together and see when each address visits the site, I think I have a pretty good idea of how many regular readers I have (less than the Typepad statistics page claims) and where those readers are coming from. So, yeah, me and both my readers, and by both I mean parents, are very pleased about how this whole thing is working out. Man, that was verbose. I'm probably gonna get ragged on by the Uncivil Litigator again.

Denise Bergquist

I always read about really stupid cases someone actually got a lawyer to file in court. Of course
cant think of one Now!
Anyway,how does a person with a actual case worth
the fight find a good lawyer willing to listen?
My case is complex but not that far fetched.
The question I have is does anyone believe in actual justice and civil rights or just justice with a quick $ ?
If people only knew what juvenille courts and police are doing to innicent kids here in san bernardino ca they just might freak.
how often do you hear of 2 REGISTERED SEX OFFENDERS WHO HAVE COMMITTED LEWD ACTS AGAINST YOUNG MINORS being used as eye witness' in juvenille court.
or Police dept given 200,000 grant money to experiment on juvenille justice using FEDERAL PUBLIC HOUSING PROJECTS TO CONDUCT IT.
or a juvenille court that refuses to allow their own court order phyc report on minor into court as evidence.
who flip ub defenders every court date.
I could go on but this is just the juv criminal side of my caes
same cops take special ed student for 2hour police ride inside unmarked car without consent did I mention he is emotionally disturbed with separation anxity adhd ectect.
tape was brutal of kid and cop judge allows tape refuses to allow medical or school records into court. get my point
plus same cop gets us evicted from public house at same time because of sting done inside public housing office by planting spray paint on federal projects
that is just the half of my caes and noone around here is man enough totake it on

where to godont know

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