Home Dodgy Web and Blog Stats: Redux

Dodgy Web and Blog Stats: Redux

As we all know, web statistics are an unreliable thing at the best of times. I
posted on this issue
back in March 2006, noting that Urchin and web server
stats can be used by people to grossly exaggerate their statistics. Well now Nik
Cubrilovic has posted
on a similar story, this time involving Feedburner
subscriber figures. The blog that Nik refers to has been a concern for quite
some time, as it claims to have hundreds of thousands of RSS and email
subscribers – and (imho) a similarly inflated page view count. These exaggerated web stats are
helping to sell ads on that particular blog, which of course puts honest blogs (like mine) in a bad position. And frankly, this kind of thing reflects badly on the web content industry as a whole.

Thankfully, as Nik points out, Feedburner addressed the issue and the RSS
subscriber stats of the blog in question are now showing the correct figure. I
can verify that I checked this myself, before said blog removed access to his
Feedburner chicklet. The rightful figure is less than 30,000 – not quite
“hundreds of thousands” I think you’ll agree.

It’s great that Feedburner fixed this issue quickly (and thank you to
Pageflakes for also working it out), but really this kind of web stats exaggeration has
to stop, for the good of the industry. While Google is trying its best to stamp
out click fraud on CPC ads, there is a more subtle fraud that can be perpetrated
by fudging your web stats – either through quoting outlandish Urchin or web
server stats, or by other means.

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