Yes, it is asinine crap, and there’s no point dwelling on it. Instead, let’s look at are actual statistics from a real, live newspaper about how many of our visits come from aggregators. All stats (and screenshots) are taken from Google Analytics data for ColumbiaMissourian.com and VoxMagazine.com.
All Web stats are taken from the past six months — starting Jan. 1, 2009 and running through June 28, 2009.
First off, let’s establish how many visitors the Missourian has had over that time period. As Google says, “The number of visits your site receives is the most basic measure of how effectively you promote your site.” Since January 1, we’ve had 1,658,484 visits, or 9,265.27 visits/day.
By far our largest day in terms of visits was April 13, with 22,168 (1.34% of the total). April 12 was also high, but more on that later. Here’s the visual:
The next step is to look at where our visitors are coming from. That’s easy as well — just go to “traffic sources.” Now this is interesting: only 24.26 percent of our visits are from “direct” sources (i.e., someone typing “ColumbiaMissourian.com” into a browser’s address bar). Of course, if you flip that around, it means that 75.74 percent of our visits are from either search or referring sites.
Here’s the visual:
Not exactly something that we want to see die, eh? Maybe those aggregators aren’t so bad.
The moral of the story? Aggregators and referring sites aren’t bad. In fact, they probably drive most traffic at most sites. I’d love to get some data from some other newspapers to confirm or deny this …