Thursday, May 22, 2008

Notes on an Instalanche

I'm now enroute to Denver to cover the Libertarian Party National Convention, riding in a van full of Georgia LP members driven by Doug Craig. It's long story and it's going to be a long ride, so I'm posting this in advance just to give the regulars something new to read while I'm on the road.

Saturday, my post about Obama's original book deal got linked by Instapundit, producing the famous "Instalanche." This was the second Instalanche for The Other McCain (the first was during CPAC in February), and it's hugely exciting.

If you don't know anything else about blogging, you've got to know that nobody throws traffic like Insty. Big bloggers whose links I crave are themselves always craving that Instalanche traffic. And blogging is all about the traffic. A blogger without traffic is one of those "if a tree falls in the forest" situations. So to get the Instalanche is like a Pulitzer for bloggers or something -- total validation -- and I feel like I ought to tell the story of how it happened.

Saturday afternoon, I was browsing around at Memeorandum, which is where I get most of the blog fodder for the posts here. They linked a New York Times article about Obama's book deals. Upon reading it, I was shocked to learn how Obama, as a 28-year-old second-year law student, basically handed a $40,000 book deal with a major New York publisher.

Anybody who's ever dealt with publishers knows that kind of stuff just never happens. Getting a book published is a headache on top of a nightmare scripted by Ionesco. When authors get together, everybody's got their own stories of being jerked around by publishers and agents. And don't even get me started on trying to get a book reviewed.

So the red-carpet treatment for Obama -- a memoir! a New York Times review! at 28! -- was galling, and I conceived the idea of a tongue-in-cheek protest mobilization of authors. I wrote the post and created an "Authors Against Obama" Facebook group, then e-mailed the link to several bloggers, including Insty.

Now, lots of bloggers will tell you that there's not much point in posting stuff on weekends. Most people who read blogs do so during business hours at work -- Bored At The Office (BATO) Syndrome -- and find better things to do with their time on Saturday and Sunday. To give you an idea of how traffic falls off on weekends, had 292K visitors on Wednesday, May 14, but only 125K on Sunday, May 18, a 57% decrease.

Strangely enough, however, almost all of my Instalanches have come on weekend posts. This goes back to 2006, when I was doing nights-and-weekends blogging at a different URL. Maybe because the Big Dog bloggers aren't posting as much on weekends, it's easier for a little blogger to cut through the clutter on a weekend. Thus it was that Insty linked me at 10:31 p.m. Saturday.

Saturday night at the McCain household means it's time to watch "America's Most Wanted," my favorite show in the whole world. Being a compulsive traffic-monger, I regularly check SiteMeter to see how the traffic's doing and who's linking. So after watching "AMW" I decided, about 11 p.m., to check the SiteMeter and -- whoa! -- it was off the charts. I'd been 'lanched.

In the first full hour (11 p.m.-midnight) after being linked at Instapundit, I got 1,200 visits. Saturday's total traffic had been about 500 hits prior to the 'lanche, and since the total Saturday traffic was about 2,100, I figure that Insty delivered 1,600 hits in 90 minutes.

That was the professor's next-to-last link of the night, so it stayed high on his blog until the morning, delivering another 2,190 hits between midnight and 6 a.m. The Professor started posting again at 7:01 a.m. Sunday, but the link from the night before kept delivering traffic -- another 2,179 hits before noon.

The "Authors Against Obama" post was also linked by American Thinker, Astute Bloggers and Vox Day, among others. All told, Sunday's traffic was 5,766 -- at least 5,000 more hits than I otherwise would have expected on a Sunday. The residual traffic boost will continue for days, as the post continued to get linked Monday by those "why bother blogging on the weekend" bloggers.

It's early Monday morning as I write this, but the post won't go live until Wednesday night, by which time I should be somewhere west of Chattanooga in a van full of Libertarians. Pray for me. I've done some crazy things over the years, but this trip to Denver is one of the craziest ever. Almost as crazy as the time me and my sons shot off $1,200 worth of fireworks in our 4th of July finale:


  1. Great story Robert. I know the feeling.

    I've received an avalanche of trafic for Libertarian Republican blog from past links by, Ace of Spades, and even CNN (3 times!). My all-time high was 8,100 through HotAir.

    I've even received mini avalanches from a link to a site you may have heard of:

    "The Other McCain."

    Good luck in Denver. And let's hope that for once the Libertarians come to their senses and nominate a mainstream candidate like Bob Barr or Wayne Root.

    If not Root or Barr, we're all set to launch Libertarians for McCain for '08. That's the other McCain, of course.

    Your friend,

    Eric Dondero, Publisher
    Libertarian Republican blog

  2. The value of an Instalanche depends on so many things. It's especially good, as you noted, to get a link that stays near the top of the site for a long time. Also, the best ones are those that say, in their entirety, something like "Heh" with a link. If he quotes you extensively, much less juice.

    A few other blog links have as much juice: Sully, LGF, Kos, Malkin, etc. But it's the same thing: A link in a large roundup post or one that quotes you extensively yields much less traffic than a short post directing them to you.