Nate Silver’s Blog Is A Huge Traffic Driver For The New York Times

Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight blog is bringing lots of eyeballs to The New York Times:

The Times does not release traffic figures, but a spokesperson said yesterday that Silver’s blog provided a significant—and significantly growing, over the past year—percentage of Times pageviews. This fall, visits to the Times‘ political coverage (including FiveThirtyEight) have increased, both absolutely and as a percentage of site visits. But FiveThirtyEight’s growth is staggering: where earlier this year, somewhere between 10 and 20 percent of politics visits included a stop at FiveThirtyEight, last week that figure was 71 percent.

But Silver’s blog has buoyed more than just the politics coverage, becoming a signifiant traffic-driver for the site as a whole. Earlier this year, approximately 1 percent of visits to the New York Times included FiveThirtyEight. Last week, that number was 13 percent. Yesterday, it was 20 percent. That is, one in five visitors to the sixth-most-trafficked U.S. news site took a look at Silver’s blog.

According to Alexa, a Web information company, “538” is the eighth-most searched-for term that led visitors to the Times last month. And over the previous month, it grew more than any other referral term; other increasingly relevant terms were “nate silver” and “” Notably, no other Times staffers or brands appear on Alexa’s lists of top referral terms or rising referral terms.

Obviously, this is likely due both to interest in the election itself and to the attention that has been drawn over the past several months to Silver and his election forecasts. One would expect that traffic will drop off after the election ends. Nonetheless, I hope he’s getting paid well for all this traffic his bringing in for his bosses.

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Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. MattT says:

    People who visit news media sites are most interested in objective facts. Hoodathunkit?!?

  2. Franklin says:

    A lot of the traffic can be attributed to the folks who try to discredit him and the ensuing attention.

  3. C. Clavin says:

    Not his bosses strictly speaking. My understanding is that Silver is an independent producer who licenses his product to the Times.
    Having said that…I think half of the visits were by me!!!

  4. Tillman says:

    The tweet I read this morning is absolutely right: “This is it. Today is the day that decides Nate Silver’s fate.”

  5. Vast Variety says:

    It helps that his blog isn’t stuck behind the paywall that plaugs much of the rest of the Times.

  6. Davebo says:

    Nonetheless, I hope he’s getting paid well for all this traffic his bringing in for his bosses.

    As we hope for you too Doug! (No political concept was behind this comment. The author truly hopes that either James or the post’s employer paid well for this effort.)