Saturday, December 26, 2009

Seasonal Traffic Suckage Syndrome leads to Shameless Tip-Jar Rattling Disorder

One of the obvious reasons for doing the changeover to the WordPress site during the holidays is that blog traffic sucks this time of year, so time spent on the changeover doesn't really subtract from the overall blog ecology. What's the point of doing a dozen posts on Christmas Day, if nobody's reading it anyway?

For similar reasons, some bloggers don't blog much on weekends -- when blog readership decreases by 30% or more -- but we've never really observed that custom here. Smitty reports that a relative paucity of Rule 2 linkage made for a much shorter FMJRA this week, which is to be expected, although we hope there won't be a similar shortage of babe-blogging for Rule 5 Sunday.

One of the things about Seasonal Traffic Suckage Syndrome (STSS) is not to take it personally. Traffic here is demonstrably down for December -- currently about 160K visits for the month, after four consecutive months of >220K -- but when compared year-to-year, we've gained about 80% over December 2008. And so you have to have a certain amount of perspective when you realize that on Christmas Day we recorded our worst weekday traffic in recent memory.

Because routine headline+link+snark formula blogging would be kind of a waste of time during the holidays, I've taken advantage of the situation to do some long-form stuff. First there was "Don't Fear the People," a retrospective on my coverage of the populist grassroots revival -- the first substantive post at the new site -- and then there was today's post about Washington's Christmas crossing of the Delaware.

Another thing to do during periods of slow traffic is to blog about totally silly stuff, like the Christmas Day arrest of celebrity scumbag Charlie Sheen. Why not? Do you really expect us to constantly monitor Memeorandum for the latest breaking news on the Nigerian terrorist? On a day when we're averaging less than 200 visits an hour?

Let's face it: We could post a completely random photo of an impressively endowed chubby chick -- hey, more to love -- and not get any complaints, because nobody's reading us this weekend anyway. (Folks, don't worry that we're corrupting your kids. If your teenage son got a computer for Christmas, do you really think he'll be cruising political blogs for chubbettes?)

Would a serious political commentator -- say, for example, Dan Collins -- link something so irresponsibly exploitative as a post with photos of random topless fat chicks? Of course he would. Because at least it's fun, and if traffic sucks anyway, you might as well have fun.

However, there are more useful things bloggers can do with the readerless holiday hours when we're afflicted with Seasonal Traffic Suckage Syndrome (STSS). Therefore, while Smitty toils away on the technical geekery of the WordPress changeover, I've been writing thank-you e-mails to the tip-jar hitters.

We're about halfway to our $2,000 goal for the Pasadena trip, which was a double-dog-dare-ya scheme promoted by Dan Collins. As I said at the time, I didn't think I could possibly rattle the tip-jar hard enough to make this trip happen and yet . . .

Well, as of yesterday, 34 people had hit the tip jar for an average of $30 each during December. And today I got a Christmas card from Barbara Espinosa of American Freedom blog, with a gift incentive for the trip. I checked Travelocity and can make a flight to LAX departing next weekend for about $450 if I booked it today.

Mrs. Other McCain is, of course, worried about the bills. If I make this trip, will it clear enough cash to break even and still pay the bills? Does that 1990 photo of Mrs. Other McCain looking hot in her bikini encourage you to ease her mind with an extra $10 or $20? Would you rather see more photos of fat chicks? Is anybody actually reading this?

The point is, I can roll either way: Fat chicks, celebrity scumbags, historical inspiration, or up-to-the minute breaking news about John Kerry and other terrorists. But I don't want to have to choose between (a) paying the bills and (b) going to Pasadena to provide neutral, objective coverage of the Alabama Crimson Tide's spectacular triumph in the BCS Championship.

As I explained to one of the tip-jar hitters in an e-mail exchange, I'm planning to take a look at the tip jar situation Monday before booking my flight, probably departing Jan. 2 or 3. Every little bit will help me convince Mrs. Other McCain that this is a good idea not evidence of incipient psychosis.

Maybe you're feeling that Roll Tide spirit to the tune of $20. Or maybe you just figure it would be worth $10 to read about me racing around Southern California in a rental car, interviewing hawwwtt University of Alabama cheerleaders and buying $7 gin-and-tonics for Little Miss Attila during Happy Hour at one of her favorite L.A. dive bars.

Fear and Loathing in Pasadena could be the wildest scene since I covered the Libertarian Party national convention in Denver last year. Surely the true story of Rose Bowl decadence and debauchery has got to be worth $5 to readers who have nothing better to do this weekend than to read a political blog.

Carol at No Sheeples Here is also an Alabama fan trying to hustle her way to Pasadena, so if you've already hit my tip jar, you should think about throwing Carol some action, too. Besides, if I help her make it Pasadena, maybe I can get her to do a free logo for the new WordPress site -- with or without naked fat chicks. 'Cause I can roll either way . . .

Just hit the tip jar!


  1. RS,

    Did you notice that Sullivan did multiple posts on Christmas Eve? Strange ain't it?

    Most Americans (Of course, AS isn't one) are with spending it with their loved ones during the Holiday (I'm Jewish, and I spent it with my family), not Sullivan.

    I have a few posts to write before the End of the Year (and before I see you in Pasadena), but except for my post knocking Stephen Colbert, no one's reading.

    But ask yourself this, why is Sullivan writing on Christmas Eve? Has his family given up on him?

    Worth contemplating. Call me before your flight.

  2. I get it now!
    A blog is twitter with no limitations?

  3. Did you notice that Sullivan did multiple posts on Christmas Eve? Strange ain't it?

    On any Top Ten List of Things I Didn't Notice on Christmas Eve, No. 1 would have to be "What Andrew Sullivan was posting."

    But certainly his posting habits on Christmas Ever aren't the strangest thing about Sully.

  4. I went to college at Georgia Tech, home of the Yellow Jackets. One of the fraternities there decided that "Go Jackets" sounded like "No Fat Chicks", and made signs of a fat woman wearing a bikini with a circle and slash across it. Thanks for reminding me of it.
    And Mrs. Other McCain is a wonderfully forgiving woman if you can post a picture of her in a bikini on the internet. Have fun in Pasadena. - Nancy

  5. Stacy,

    Are you aware of the fact that you cannot have ads over on Wordpress? Or is it different if you pay for the domain and the hosting stuff with 'em?

    Just wondering.... and do you need help, at all?


  6. @Pat,
    Yeah, we're kicking around the possibilities of going hosted. Your advice on a host is sought, please email.

  7. I will give this to Miss Scarlet, those attributes of hers are 100% real.

  8. Is anybody actually reading this?

    Not really.

  9. Assuming that you're serious, I'll take the topless chubettes. Since you asked.

  10. Seasons Greets & Happy 2010! There's more to blog traffic than meets the keyboard! Inaccurate counters, renegade widgets. Curiously, my week's end post about the Hero of Flight 253 (despite qualifying under a few different 'hot' topics categories on Google trends) only pulled in about 100 extra visitors, which meakes me wonder if Google might be regionalizing or otherwise reducing the number of internetters who see any particular blog appear in search results. For example: once when my blog was unknown and getting 30 hits a day if I was lucky, an old post I wrote about a local woman got 19-THOUSAND hits in a single day from Google when the woman (high school teacher Beth Geisel) made national headlines (for having sex with students). I would think that my Flight post should have pulled in AT LEAST bare minimum 500 visitors. Something doesn't add up!