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”.)

21 thoughts on “Just how many people are reading the Japan expat blogs?

  1. Yeah, but meet enough other ex-pats here and you’ll begin to understand why this sort of petty anonymous name-calling happens. Just being friends with a hundred or so on Facebook is enough to give you a taste. FML. Close quarters bring out the worst in people? I suppose a crowded island counts.

    1. Kei, I agree with you that some among the expat crowd here in Japan bring backstabbing to a high art. It’s like they are learning it from ninjas or something. The Japanese just sit there and make bets on who will win, like it’s some B-grade prison movie.

      Facebook is too complicated, so I have been staying off it lately. Call me old-fashioned and living in the 2000’s, but, maybe I am. FML? I think you probably lead an exciting one for a younger person. I don’t know if it’s close quarters as much as a catfight for artificially limited resources. “Hey, this island isn’t big enough for the both of us!” (Knife goes into back.)

      1. “Hey, this island isn’t big enough for the both of us!” (Knife goes into back.)

        That was the expression I was looking for.

        1. I think there is some show, Survivor, back home that is based on same theme. The contestants are left on an island, and they spend each episode undermining each other, right? I think that’s where these people get the idea in their heads. It explains the Canadians, since they get a lot of U.S. TV. But not the Aussies, Kiwis and the Brits . . .

      2. Facebook is most certainly NOT too complicated. Trying to follow your hacker investigation of dominique and sergio and all those graphs and charts were complicated. You can handle a social networking site, I have faith in you.

        1. OK Kei, just call me an incompetent. I think when you hook up to Facebook, you kind-of commit to post stuff there. Unfortunately, I do not have tailor-made stuff to stick on there.

          It’s High School people I knew, friends I made along the way, and people connected to my life in Japan. How do I make a common interest post for a crowd that diverse? You know?

          You know?

  2. [PV 1]

    I bet I your site gets more hits than 1994 Nobel Prize for Literature winner Kenzaburo Oe sells books. *zing*


    Congrats on the reward, you deserve it.

    1. Thank you Inoue-san, but you must realize that being reviewed in “Japan Blog Review” isn’t much of an award at all. It’s more like, “oh geez, now I have to do discovery to find the addresses of these miscreants and serve them.” A few people pointed out that any publicity is good publicity. Hey, I am not so sure!

  3. I read your blog!

    I read mostly “mommy” blogs, of non-Japanese women married to Japanese men. Gee, wonder why.

    And I click on this blog quite a lot, because….I have it bookmarked right under Gawker, which I check often, and my big fat fingers sometimes slip. But you probably don’t mind a few extra hits!

    1. Lisa, I appreciate your readership, especially since I am not a mommy blog. I am not even a daddy blog. Some days I feel like an expat ma-ke-inu blog.

      I wondered why I was getting that traffic, and maybe it’s because I am placed next to Gawker. Maybe Gaijin comes before Gawker alphabetically, or maybe on Hoofin below it.

      I am a bit surprised that, whoever did the hit piece on me, they might have upped my count a bit afterwards. Someone pointed out to me that my numbers went up after September 25. But I happen to know that it wasn’t coming off “Japan Blog Review” as a link. So maybe it was just them saying, “yeah that sh*t Hoofin, whose real name is nani nani, well, he’s no effen good. Kicks cats down the sidewalk and was responsible for the baseball strike of 1994.” People get curious and they check me out.

      That used to happen in my early blogging days. A real estate developer’s attorney who was the campaign manager for a mayor I opposed used to continuously put out negative comments about me, using my real name. I think I counted 115 when I finally gave up tracking them. I think the last set of them suggested that he was coming after me with a gun. So I am a bit used to this sort of thing, but I’m surprised the latest perps left so many tracks.

      I know enough not to cross you, since you are on one of the big sites. So if I ever piss you off, please give me a chance to correct it before the I get “blog reviewed”, if you know what I’m saying . . .

  4. My bookmarks aren’t aphabetical — they’re in the order I added them. So you are between Gawker and a “mommy” blog in Kyushu. And yeah, I do work for a site that gets lots of readership, but as I think I’ve told you, we stick to econ/markets-related stuff, so have no fear. (I even read your blog at work sometimes, usually when I’m eating lunch.)

    1. Well, if “they” did, they need even more positive ones, since the purpose of the site was to deliver (at least) one hit piece.

  5. Those “connoisseurs” of Japan blogs bothering you? Character assassination can result in a burning sensation. 😉 Your estimate of my traffic is pretty close. It rarely goes above 1,000 viewers and usually hovers around 800.

    1. Shawn, the one thing I don’t like is their insinuation that people who ask for judicial remedies are somehow “bad”. Due process and the rule of law were 18th century improvements over the older methods, which usually involved a lot of bloody violence.

      The stronger evidence is that the creator of “Japan Blog Review” is tied, somehow, to Interac. They only post or popularize their shit whenever Interac becomes the topic, and they tend to go after people who have merely discussed the company. So what I don’t like is this insinuation that anyone who would have an issue with whatever practices Interac uses in hiring or in their business method is somehow a bad person. On one front (the social insurance issue) or maybe some other fronts (discriminatory practices in hiring, e.g. aping the Japanese employment biases) this company may be doing wrong, but they send out people over the internet to make like others are the bad guys.

      Do you get 800? I really don’t know the exact number, I just guessed it’s between Japan Probe and myself. Especially with regular posted sites like Debito, these things aren’t too hard to figure out. My behind is totally exposed via Quantcast, so a number like 70 is being independently verified. Also, the 1,000 a month. But some of you guys aren’t registering in Quantcast for some reason.

      The real traffic, so to speak, are the passers-by. For me, they are nine times my regular readers. In my case, they are mostly people who are doing Google searches on particular Japan issues. I think I pick up a very small number those people as “followers” to my blog, later.

      What still makes me laugh is that the “connoisseurs” thought that my personal blog merited a “review” under, ehem, “their” aliases. Then, they focused so much on Interac. I guess they have to post a review a month for a while to keep up the farce.

  6. Well, Japan Blog Review can review all it wants, but when their thumbs down reviews attack the bloggers themselves instead of the content, then they aren’t connoisseurs of anything except hackery. I wonder about their connection to anything. I just assumed they are bad at reviewing.

    As for traffic, according to Google Analytics, I get about 800 unique visitors a day. Those visitors, however, are sticky, and they hang around and read more than one entry or visit several times a day. Japan Probe is pretty big by my estimate since it goes for the lowest common denominator in content–weird Japan. That gives it broad appeal across the globe, and its traffic will beat the pants off my little blog.

    1. Shawn, I was just looking at traffic that could reasonably be tied to Japan. You are right that the Probe gets most of its hits (according to Alexa) from someplace else in the world–but I was really surprised how thin the site was spread. Alexa says you are 90%-10% Japan. So, overwhelmingly Japan. Yeah, I could see 800 uniques–it’s within the band of the chart.

      What I concluded for now is that someone didn’t like what was being said about ALT and JETs, or “ALT or JETs”. So they set up a site to start slamming bloggers who they disagreed with. You’re right: Since they went after the writers more than the content of what was said, hopefully everyone takes it from the orifice from which it came.

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