Tuesday, May 15, 2007

How did you get here?

A couple of weeks ago, I installed a counter on this blog. This is free software which does essentially what the name implies - it counts the number of visitors to this page. No devious motives - just idle curiosity about the number of people who might read this blog - and it was free.

But sometimes you get more than you bargained for. It turns out that one feature of the counter allows you to plot recent visitors on a world map. A second feature is the ability to see, for those who reach the blog following a google search, just which search terms led them here (this ability may have something to do with the fact that blogger.com was taken over by google a while back).

The combination of these two features is sometimes food for thought. For instance:

  • the Serbian visitor who reached the site, following a search on the "word" wicissitude
  • the Moroccan surfer who ended up on this blog page after a search which included the "word" bisit

(I will have to stop making up my own "words"). Then there was my favorite -

  • the visitor from Canberra, Australia, who stumbled across the site after a google search on the words Dickensian workhouse fare.

Yes, gentle readers, I checked. You can google on the words mainly on the plain until morning and I doubt this blog will show up anywhere higher than 100 or so in the ranking. But type in the phrase Dickensian workhouse fare and it will pop right up, in 3rd place.

I can only hope that the Australian surfer enjoyed the visit. I may have to disconnect the counter. For, surely, this way madness lies.


The Agent of Entropy said...

I just did the same thing, it sooo fascinating.

Puzzled said...

What makes me weep is that it indicates that about 95% of my blog visitors spend 0 seconds there once they do find it. They must really be in a hurry to leave! Maybe it's haunted.

And on the subject of Dickens, my father writes:

In anything written by Dickens,
It's certain the plot always thickens;
with characters, themes
And digressions it teams;
As for sex, though, it's mighty slim pickin's.

Oh, damn...it's not one of my father's...I see now he credits Keith H. Peterson.

gaelstat said...


My understanding is that the "zero-second visits" are a bit misleading. Unless someone actually clicks around within your blog a bit, the counter has no way of telling how long they stayed. So it's possible that they read the entire "front page", but the counter could still register a zero-second visit.

But I am still thinking I may disconnect the counter shortly, because I think its effect is a bit insidious.

Excellent limerick!