Just how many people are reading the Japan expat blogs?

This is a topic thrown off the slam pieces done about Shawn and myself several weeks back. No one can quite figure out how a tiny blog like my own, which almost exclusively discusses expat current events or things going on in my own life, could garner such, well, outright hostility.

(Click to Enlarge)

Here is my stripped down graph of the day. On it, I am taking some Japan blogs that I’ve selected, and graphing what I estimate is their typical daily visit amounts from Japan. The graph is logarithmic, because I have to get a site with 42,000 visitors and one with 70 visitors on the same graph.

The key to read the graph is here:

The ones I picked were: Gaijin Pot, ranked by Alexa at #962 in Japan; Japan Today, at #1406; something out there called Japan Probe, at #5198; then Shawn (#8889); Debito (#20569); and me, in that order.

The site visit numbers come from Quantcast. I take daily numbers and mulitply by the fraction that Alexa said was traffic coming from Japan. For example, Japan Probe is mostly read from outside the country, so their actual Japan readership is a fraction of what their worldwide site hits show.

I had to interpolate a number for both Shawn and Arudou Debito.

I am guessing my Alexa rank is about 290,000. It is usually 1/10th of my global rank whenever I hit the top 100,000 here. [Update 11/24/10: Well, this is just plum wrong. Recently, Alexa put me at 44,000 in Japan, and 895,000 overall in the world.] Alexa has me at 2,900,000, about, as a global 3-month rank. See? Very small. [The uptick in viewers over the last month or two must have put me back where I had been around the time of "Free Choice" and "Schedule M" as topics. But 70 is still not a very large number.]

You might be surprised to find Shawn or Debito at below 1,000 per day for visitors, even below 500. I am confident about that, because I think the Japan Probe number is very solid, and that the dropoff in visitors as the Alexa ranking goes down is pretty steep. Three hundred readers is quite impressive[, though.]

[Update: Shawn is giving me a daily number of about 800, based off Google Analytics. I have no reason to doubt the number, since it's in the range between Japan Probe and me.]

Sites like Daily Kos and FireDogLake are getting somewhere between 70,000 and 90,000 visitors a day. But with ones like those, a huge number is a double-count. One or two percent of the number of visitors make up 38% of the visits with Daily Kos. (This is probably true of Gaijin Pot, by the way, as well.) So there might be 1,200 dedicated posters and readers, and then so-called regular readers and passers by traffic makes up the rest. Those people are no doubt catching the headlines and moving to the next site.

Most of what is being put out on the internet will never be read. Especially, these crazy 500 comment threads on New York Times or Huffington Post. Items that get read or responded to almost exclusively go to topics or reports that the responder has a particular interest in. Maybe a computer analyzes key words to see if there is some pattern that can be had out of what the commenters are saying. Maybe the article writer prints it out and reads through it.

The eye traffic in the blog world is heading in so many different directions–mostly to the big sites–that the idea that something is even being read is rather unique. I know I haven’t read through any major piece on Huffington for some time now.

So that’s why I say that the idea someone would single me out as a blog that merited a “Japan Blog Review” is awfully silly.

[Update 11/24/2010: click to enlarge. The site is still tiny, though. (But not as tiny as “Japan Blog Review”.)