Greengard's ChessNinja.com

Spice of Life

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Unfortunately too busy to cover it much, but we have that rarest of things, a GM invitational in the US, currently underway in Texas, of all places. The SPICE Cup includes several of the top US players -- Onischuk, Akobian, Becerra, Kaidanov, and Perelshteyn. After four rounds two of the foreign guests are leading, Mikhalevski of Israel and Kritz of Germany with 3/4. Last year Eugene Perelshteyn won a significantly weaker event. The site at Texas Tech doesn't seem to be doing any coverage, but Susan Polgar's blog has daily updates. (SPICE = Susan Polgar Institute for Chess Excellence) Nice zugzwang with four rooks on the board in Akobian's win over Perelshteyn.

Speaking of spicing things up, I noticed on Polgar's site (which isn't really a blog from what I can tell, but why quibble if it's useful) a reprint of a news item touting the web traffic at the EU Championship that was just won by Jan Werle in Liverpool.

"More than 7m people a day watched Liverpool over the internet during the 4th European Open Championships held in the city. The tournament at the city’s World Museum attracted record internet viewing figures, with 65m web visits for the whole tournament. Website hits smashed the old record of 5m a day, recording a 250% increase on last year. Professor David Robertson, principal organiser, said: “It’s difficult to imagine a better or more cost-effective way of reaching such a colossal worldwide audience."

Maybe it really was a big audience, but the idea that seven million unique individuals visited that site per day is preposterous. I only wish it were true! Chess webmasters everywhere would be having parties that would embarrass Jay-Z if we had numbers like that. It's hard to believe that in this day and age people still don't know (or assume others don't know) the difference between visitors, visits, and the worthless measure of hits.

To put how comical the seven million visitors claim is, the enormous official site of the Beijing Olympic Games received a TOTAL of 16.5 million over the first ten days of the Games. (4.2 million of those were from China.) In multiple languages. And those are good numbers, mind you. Wikipedia averages around 9m per day. You can count on two hands and maybe one foot the number of sites that receive more than a million visitors in a day on the entire internet. If the Liverpool tournament site got even 20,000 uniques per day it would be considered a success for a chess event of this stature. Of course visits from the same group of people is a different thing (though some use the term "visits" to refer to uniques, which is wrong), and not an irrelevant one. But the 65m visits number is just as insane as the uniques number.

No ill will toward the EU Championship event, its organizers and its web folks, who put on a good event and a good website as well. But yeesh.


Strange to see those figures ending up misinterpreted in the press as John Saunders, writing the official reports, clearly understood the difference: http://www.liverpoolchessinternational.co.uk/reports/reports_rd9.htm

"It is difficult to extrapolate actual viewers from ‘hit’ figures and I’m not even going to try, but we can be pretty sure that there is the equivalent of a large sports stadium full of people watching the Liverpool chess games live every day – maybe even more than regularly pack into Anfield or Goodison Park to watch Liverpool’s two Premiership football teams (prospective sponsors please note)".

Anyway, congratulations to the organisers as it was one of the best chess tournament websites I've seen in a long time - fast to load, regularly updated, interesting content & lots of live games each round.

Even if you are intimately familiar with the internal architecture of a website down to the last tiny detail, you cannot usefully translate hits into anything other than comparisons with hits on another day (which does not even necessarily reflect visits or visitors). There is no rule of thumb, nothing. So substitute "impossible" for John's "difficult." And you can't be pretty sure of anything based on hits. Every site's hits are completely different depending on how many elements are in it and how they are accessed by the client, as well as the behavior of the visitors. Your hits can go up and your # of uniques go down on the same day, though this would be an exception and likely reflecting changes in the site.

Even very basic stat packages include a SWAG attempt at calculating the number of uniques using IP. If they can see the hits they can see the page views and the visitors. But if you aren't using cookies you aren't going to get tracking data anyone would pay for or care much about. Unlike hits, this would be a useful relative guide for the same site using the same stat package, at least, so they could make a decent estimate of the increase in traffic.

Webmasters don't like to give what they think will be received as bad news, I suppose. But 5-15 thousand uniques per day would be good, 15-30K great and perhaps reaching 60-80K for the entire event. That's a lot of people even if it's not sixty million.

Thanks for the figures of Wikipedia and the Olympics, of course the Dirt gets about 12-13m a day, right?

As long as you mean M the Roman numeral! Hey, maybe that's what they were doing...

Actually that's exactly what you do when calculating page impressions for web advertising. The standard usage is to refer to CPM, or cost per thousand impressions. M for 1000. As opposed to cost per click or cost per sale.

Any news on when we're going to get the long-promised board update that would add an Ignore Feature that really works?

Absolutely - important to distinguish between hits, page-impressions, visits and visitors.

Before the IFABC set and evolved the standards for web-traffic measurement, there were sites reporting traffic in bytes shifted.

The ration between hits and page-impressions has no doubt increased from the '10' it was in 1997, and if you take a Blogger blog - where you get a whole swathe of back-history, this ration could be almost anything.

So 'hits' counts must be ignored. Any self-respecting site-analysis tool will pick out client-information to make what can only be a best estimate of visitors per period (e.g. month).

Especially if a site is dishing out cookies, there's no excuse to confuse 'hits' with 'visitors' these days.


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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on September 24, 2008 4:41 AM.

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