Thursday, January 20, 2005

Free Porn

Ok, this post is not at all what you think it is about.

I was reading this post on Boing Boing today that reference this article on PC Magazine in which John Dvorak talks about a column that he wrote 2 years ago:

My editor, Lance Ulanoff, was shaking his head the other day over the column I had written called "Free Porn." The column, written nearly two years ago, was an exercise in propaganda, done to prove that the use of the word "porn" in a headline would jack up the readership of any column. This was an assertion promoted by my previous online editor, Don Willmott, who revealed the trick to me after looking at years of online stats. He'd used it himself when he needed to pump up his own numbers.

Ulanoff told me that I had to do a follow-up to the "Free Porn" column since it has consistently been in the top readership list since it was published. "It's unbelievable," he said. "Every month it shows up in the list of top page views. It's never at the top, but it keeps showing up." Perhaps it's never at the top because it has nothing to do with porn. Just the use of the word is enough to pump up the numbers. Are online readers so drawn to porn that they aggressively seek it out? No wonder the amount of pornographic e-mail come-ons has been slipping. Why bother with spam? Just set up a porn site and the readers will seek you out.

Boing Boing points out that:

. . . terms like "bukkake" and "anal" rank disproportionately high in their stat logs . . .

It's a little sad that adding dirty words to articles and posts dramatically increases site traffic.  I'll be checking on the popularity of this post in my site traffic engines to see how much traffic it drives to the site.

I have seen some blogs that use pictures of half-naked women in some of their posts, and while it does catch my eye when I am reading via a RSS reader, I don't know that it necessarily drives traffic to those blogs.

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