Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Bloggery

A few quick notes. The Lenin's Tomb mailing list has about 160 subscribers, who receive some irregular notice of posts I want to draw attention to. It is not a discussion forum, although people very occasionally use it to pass on information about campaigns or whatever. And it can be quite useful for spreading info. It can easily handle more subscribers, so feel free to sign up using the box in the sidebar to your right if you want.

The second thing is, the Sitemeter at the bottom of this page is inaccurate, and not in the good way (ie, it doesn't inflate the numbers). I've only recently discovered that Sitemeter and other similar services have a reputation for seriously undercounting visitors. It is true that another service that doesn't appear on the site gives me an extra hundred unique visitors a day, Google Analytics ditto, and a system that used to exist but went out of business gave me a couple of hundred more. However, some say that no free service really tells you how many page views, or unique visits, you get. The professional services that you pay for, or get free with certain packages like Wordpress, apparently describe five or six times more unique visits. Now, since I don't have advertisements on the site, I would generate no revenue from having five or six times more visitors - this is entirely an ego issue. As such, I'm not going to change the hosting service or pay for some package or other. But I am going to piss and moan about it. And perhaps find some way to get a proper counting device free.

The third matter is the breakdown of visits that are picked up. Over the last month, according to Google Analytics, the numbers of people visiting the site from from the US and the UK were almost identical. Canada was the third largest supplier of Tombsters, with Australia, Ireland, Germany, the Netherlands, France, Italy and Sweden picking up the rest. I am surprised by the ratio of American visitors, since in the past the main readership has been British, but you are all welcome as long as you leave your guns at home. The next step is to conquer China and India, both of which need more and better Leninism. According to sitemeter's continental breakdown, only 6% of my readers are in Asia (3% from Israel, if you can believe that), and only 1% in Africa (almost all Egyptian readers). I am a bit tied up at the moment, but clearly an intercontinental push is called for. Fourth, the comments facilities continue to be moderated, which is a mild pain in the arse, but it does prevent those rapid-fire comment-wars that usually degenerate rather quickly, and it weeds out trolls who make the comments unreadable. For that reason, until I can come up with a better solution, moderation has to stay on. As the amount of recent pro-Israel bile indicates, this doesn't mean that political adversaries are unwelcome. But it does give yours truly a tiny sense of what it's like to be God (a lot more boring than people imagine).

And the final point is on submissions. Yes, it's time you did your fair share, you bastards. Ask not what your blog can do for you, ask what you can do for your blog. If you have something to get off your chest that isn't a sticky residue, then why not send it to the Tomb (e-mail in the sidebar) as a candidate for a guest post. We've had guest posts from 'elpresidente', Guy Taylor, 'Strategist', John Brissenden, Leon Kuhn, K-Punk, Andy Zebrowski, Gareth Dale and others on topics as diverse as the environment, the Cairo Conference, the teachers' strike, mass protests in Mexico, etc etc. They have all been well-received, and often provided info that wouldn't be available through the corporate media, so it's an important part of Tomb culture and I want more of it. Don't make me send out a requisition for it.