my food site is weber_cam

August 19, 2005

Conspicuous Absence

My pet obsession is website traffic. Not here at Dave's Beer because this is a personal site for fun and unsubstantiated rambling. I appreciate my 12 daily readers but it's just a place to muck around. I just finished Malcolm Gladwell's The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference. It's essentially about social epidemics and what makes phenomena popular (or when phenomena "tip"). In the book is a great case study of Sesame Street and Blues Clues and why they're so popular with the kids. Pretty helpful when you're parenting a toddler (even though Frankie doesn't watch much tv). But, absent from the book was: what makes a website "tip" in terms of popularity as indicated by the traffic they get?

When you consider sites like Dooce (ca. 20K visitors/day), GroupHug (20K), Wonkette (50-60K/day) and Drudge (~12 million/day), etc. you can't help wonder how these sites got so popular. Dooce is great and written from the heart. I can understand its popularity. Grouphug is a creative venture; it's a confessional site and salacious. I can understand its popularity too. I actually asked the creator of Grouphug recently when it tipped. He wrote back and told me it took off on the second week! I'm not political enough to appreciate Wonkette and think it's basically a substrate for advertising but why the popularity? I believe Drudge tipped on the Monica Lewinsky scandal and ever since, he's been riding high. Drudge isn't just a site, it's an inside-the-beltway institution.

I'd like to see Malcolm Gladwell do another book on the tipping point for site traffic/popularity. I wrote him from his site We'll see if he bites.


Anonymous said...

good links, thanks for these. :) Tipping point seems remarkably interesting, plus the rest of his articles seemed rather interesting as well.

Dave said...

Hey Ms. Bell. Thanks for stopping by and your kind words. Because of my toddler, I don't read much (and my miniscule attention span), but I think you'll enjoy the book.

Hey Jon. Always good to hear from you.

Anonymous said...

Hello from one of your "daily readers." I'm not usually one to comment on blogs, but I just want to say that the tipping point can go both ways - I used to read dooce until she started making fun of her husband when he told her about bookmobiles. She thought his old brain was making it all up. I sent her an e-mail and told her he was not crazy, and even waxed nostalgic about the hideous aqua/green bookmobiles that used to grace the parking lots of Cowtown in the 60s. She STILL ridiculed him, so I promptly deleted her from my favorites list. Fortunately, that made room for me to add Kitchen Logic to my list, thanks to your link over at the side.

I found your little piece of the web through the Brendan Leonard message board, of all places! Some of the kids where chatting about the Weber grill commercials that his brother was filming and they linked to your site. What a long, strange way to find a blog from my hometown. It's always nice to know what the "neighbors" are up to!

BTW, your daughter is adorable. My "baby" girl just turned 18, and there are days when I wish that potty training was all I had to deal with. Alas, those days are gone...

All the best - Kim

Anonymous said...

Such a nice comment Kim, thanks. In "The Tipping Point" he does include a case study of a tip the other way. You're absolutely right, things can crash as abrubtly as peak. I felt a tad off put when Dooce became a fairly big money making venture but I still enjoy her posts.

Thanks also for your comments about Frankie, she's a beauty inside and out. Email me if you want her password. We labor over ALL our parenting decisions; I know it's wasted energy, just can't help it. Now potty training, how much to fly and visit families, television or not, etc. I should learn to relax before things get more challenging.

Anonymous said...

Dave - worrying about your daughter will NEVER be a waste of energy or time. It is an act of love, pure and simple.

I have a deep respect for people who "agonize" over raising their children, since so many others just throw money at them and let them run wild. Being overly involved pays great dividends in the long run. Believe me, you will never regret it - nor will Frankie.

All the best - Kim