Home Reddit Calls Out “Experts” for “Misunderestimating” Its Traffic

Reddit Calls Out “Experts” for “Misunderestimating” Its Traffic

A week ago, social news and bookmark site Reddit sent out a call for help to its users. While some questioned who would just give money to a website for an undefined service in return, more than 6,000 people paid to join Reddit Gold.

Now, the website is saying that “‘Experts’ misunderestimate our traffic, and we don’t know why”.

The basic problem the site has been facing, Reddit programmer Mike Shiraldi explained in a blog post last week, is that the site’s four engineers have not been able to keep up with the traffic.

We’ve been kinda bummed at reddit these days. It seems like every week something comes up that slows performance to a crawl or even leads to a total site outage. And we almost never get a chance to release new features anymore. […] The bottom line is, we need more resources.

The problem the site is having now, it says, is that “advertisers generally don’t trust Google Analytics numbers” and “have their own preferred sources of traffic information that they put their faith in.” According to Google Analytics, Shiraldi writes, Reddit has seen more than 8,000,000 unique visitors in the last 30 days and 400,000,000 pageviews. “The numbers are very accurate, because there’s a blog of Google Analytics javascript on every reddit page that lets them directly measure our traffic.”

Shiraldi then goes on to compare the numbers provided by a number of web traffic measurement services. Compete.com reports 927,000 unique visitors a month – around 7 million less than Google Analytics. Quantacast, meanwhile, reports 10 million visits, which Shiraldi says is anywhere from a half to quarter of the true numbers.

The problem here, according to Shiraldi, is that advertisers are relying on numbers from third-party measurement services that just aren’t true. In the site’s efforts to raise more money – and therefor hire more engineers, buy more servers, increase performance and continue the cycle – these numbers appear to be hurting its bottom line.

The problem Shiraldi points to looks like one that would have broad implications for any number of websites trying to make a buck of advertisements and traffic. If all of the web measurement services out there have this large of a discrepancy between them, who’s really making out in the end? Does a site just need to find the most favorable analysis and stick with it or should something be done to reconcile the numbers?

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