Heath Ledger spikes my website, Day 6

Traffic Graph for 2008-01-29 showing traffic decline slightly reversed yesterday

Yesterday I reported that traffic for The Heath Ledger Experiment had declined across the weekend. Today I can tell you that the decline has been reversed and we’re slightly up again. Across 6 days, we’ve seen a total of 6,407 unique human visitors to the jokes page.

I have no real explanation for this yet, and it may just be statistical noise. Still, my gut feeling is that we’re moving past the initial feeding-frenzy. Perhaps the early visitors are people who actively seek out a forum for this sort of thing, because that’s how they gain the attention they seek. Later, others stumble across the site once those early visitors have seeded it with content.

One old friend, who I hadn’t heard from in years, emailed me across the weekend to say:

I stumbled across your site after someone sent me a Heath Ledger joke and I couldn’t think of a witty comeback, so decided to resort to a websearch and let the internet do my thinking for me. I never did find one good enough to send, but I did enjoy a productive half hour rooting around in your website.

I’m also starting to see inbound links from forums where people are discussing whether what I’m doing is tasteless or not, or reflecting on the way we feed on celebrity news in general. Is this perhaps the natural cycle of such things?

What I have learned is that it’s very easy to generate a few thousand inbound visitors. But why you’d want to do that, and what you do with those visitors, are completely different questions.

More soon…

3 Replies to “Heath Ledger spikes my website, Day 6”

  1. Back @ ya:
    Why do people seek out such sites early in the process? Is it an attention-getting ploy. Perhaps. And, not just on an on-line forum.

    Here’s my theory:

    Let’s face it, most of the jokes about Heath aren’t funny. They aren’t clever, they aren’t worth repeating.

    Heath’s death now seems more of a tragedy than a chance to make jokes.
    And, as time passes, it will seem more so.

    So, why was I one of the first to enter into the discussion?

    – Time on my hands.
    – A co-worker offered me $50 if I could come up with a joke funnier than his. (After I responded, “that’s not funny” to his attempt)
    – Jokes like the ones on the pages prior, are only a teeny-tiny bit funny if they are, timely, and delivered in the right context.

    When someone mentions something about Heath and you respond with a timely, supposedly off-the-cuff quip, it’s kind of humourous. It’s blatantly in poor taste, and that’s why people laugh. Hey she’s quick…

    A week later – it’s shown to be the lame effort it really is. Not clever, not timely, not funny.

    And, that’s my 3 cents worth. I’m out of the race!

    Having said that, I have found other content on your website that I may return to read later in the future.

    (Particularly if some other celebrity passes soon. Speaking of which, anyone seen Britney today….?)

  2. @muppet: Ah, the commercial incentive! That explains everything! I think your observations are spot-on, and they’ll doubtless find their way into my final wrap-up of this little experiment — which will happen once there’s been a couple of days in a row with no interesting new data coming in.

  3. Stil, I think that @muppet‘s second-last paragraph is the kicker here.

    Having said that, I have found other content on your website that I may return to read later in the future.

    People found you through the Heath Ledger stuff, but people are returning for your other content.

    I haven’t returned to the HL Jokes page in 3 days, but viewed your site each day for other items.

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