Looking at my referal stats reveals some interesting, indeed, disturbing trends. The top search phrases that have landed visitors:

destiny stahl picture
picture of destiny stahl
alabama earthquake
bill bennett s gambling
bill bennett gambling
bennett gambling
mike price destiny picture
destiny stahl sports illustrated
townsend sexual offender
bob bennett gambling
mike price destiny sports illustrated
destiny stahl pics
dear prudie
sports illustrated mike price destiny
santorum parod
villepin knight
dixie chicks chicken feet tatoo
santorum nude
sars vs. aids
picture destiny stahl

Clearly, Destiny Shahl is one popular chick. And, those two people who came by looking for “santorum nude” . . . well, words fail me.

I also can not explain this phenomenon: I’ve received link mentions on a handful of really major blogs this past week. But the referral traffic does not necessarily correlate with blog bigness. I received a very prominent mention on Volohk Conspiracy and garnered only 20 visits. A mention by Megan yesterday yielded 226 (267 total visits from her site, including some from her comment section). This is strange, since Volohk is higher than Megan on the TTLB rankings and, according to their site logs, he also gets more traffic.

Stranger still is that I have gotten almost as much traffic from Possumblog as I have from Megan. Now, granted, I’m on his blogroll and not hers. But Terry is merely an “Adorable Little Rodent” in the Ecosystem.

All of which leads me to wonder: Does traffic equal reading? Do people simply “check in” to some sites out of habit but not really read them, whereas visitors to such sites as Possumblog, which is much less established and less blogrolled, actually read every word? Or, am I making big logical leaps from a too-small sample size?

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. joy says:

    I wouldn’t read into much about TTLB rankings because the blogs participating on it are only a small fraction of the blogosphere. Don’t get me wrong, I think TTLB is a great blog and Bear is a great guy, but the only people who have registered on TTLB are people who know about Bear.

    I think that technorati is a more dependable, but not perfect metric on blog popularity (since you still have to register for it.

    Consider this, by latest count, the latest metric for numbers of existing blogs is about half a million (I can’t remember where I’ve seen that number though). Technorati tracks about 284,000 blogs.

  2. James Joyner says:


    This is certainly a good point. One would think the results would tend to cancel one another out, but maybe not. I know OTB gets wildly different results on TTLB, Technorati, and Myelin. And I’m virtually off the radar screen on PopDex, which I finally quit checking because the results seem to vary so wildly.

  3. James Joyner says:

    Although, strangely, Technorati shows the results to be even more skewed:

    Volokh Conspiracy: 1218 links

    Asymmetrical Information: 475 links

    Possumblog: 63 links

  4. Bryan says:


    funny you bring this up, because I was linked by Reynolds, Right Wing News, and mentioned in the Friday bleat this week.

    One part of the equation you may need to figure as well is the nature of the referral post.

    For instance, the post Reynolds made regarding my site was very vague, so that people *had* to click the link to see what he was talking about (Instavis).

    Other times, when a blogger (Reynolds in this case) mentions the full context of the quote, readers might choose to stay away because they don’t find the topic interesting.

  5. James Joyner says:


    You make an interesting point. Glenn has linked me three times, although not lately. In each case, the thing was incredibly vague–including one that was merely “Heh.” Those got a lot of traffic.

    I’ve been mentioned twice on Volokh, both both bloggers other than Eugene, and gotten relatively little traffic from them. Both cases were fairly straightforward–it was obvious what the topic was and my general take on it.

  6. Part of the difference may be that Jane only puts up 2-3 posts per day, while the Volokh conspirators put up at least a dozen. So to get a good traffic metric for particular posts, you need to divide pageviews/day by posts/day.

  7. James, it’s obviously just part of our continuing efforts to extend the cultural hegemony of Alabama throughout the world.

  8. Hastyman says:


    I think I’m going to mention Destiny Stahl once a day, every day, until people stop looking for her pictures, or until some other coach does something equally stupid, or until I can no longer look at myself in the mirror. I got over 1200 page visits in three days! Some of those visitors are still coming back, too . . .

  9. James Joyner says:

    Hastyman: You must be the Official Destiny Stahl website. I’ve gotten a number of hits, but probably no more than 100.

  10. Hastyman says:

    “The official Destiny Stahl website.”

    Gosh, my my mom’s just going to be ate up with pride . . .