Nick Berg Traffic Surge

Blog traffic tends to surge when hot news events send everyone scrambling for information. My first traffic spike came from the onset of the Iraq War, which occured only a month into OTB’s existence. I’ve had other spikes for the Janet Jackson halftime incident and the Abu Ghraib prison scandal. However, I’ve never seen anything like the deluge that’s hit from the Nick Berg tragedy. I went from averaging 4,000 or so unique daily visits (as calculated by SiteMeter) to over 11,000 yesterday, starting with a huge surge around 9 last night. For some reason, this OTB post is the #2 result on Google for “Nick Berg.” I’ve had over 22,000 today and it’s not even 7 a.m.

Apparently, this spike is widespread. Jeff Quinton is getting so much traffic that he’s worried about his bill for excess bandwidth charges. If you can help him out, please do. Kevin Aylward, which has a direct link to the video, is experiencing so much traffic that he’s experiencing technical problems with the site. Kate McMillan is getting a ton of referrals and didn’t even mention Berg by name in her post.

Update: Wizbang guest-blogger Paul has some interesting thoughts on how this impacts the blogosphere as a whole.

Update: Even HostingMatters, the site host for Wizbang and OTB along with others you may have heard of (InstaPundit, VodkaPundit, PoliBlog, and others) is getting slammed.

Update: Paul e-mails that Wizbang received half as much traffic Thursday as in the entire previous history of the site. Considering that the site had a similar flood of traffic with the Paris Hilton video craze and has had numerous InstaLanches, that’s just amazing. Unfortunately, SiteMeter crashed on me yesterday and never caught up. It showed me with 497,000-odd total visits as of 7 Thursday morning and only shows 510,000 now, despite my getting well over 100,000 visits yesterday and another 10,000 as of 7 Friday morning.

FILED UNDER: Blogosphere, OTB History, , , , , , , , , , ,
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. Paul says:

    In a bizarre twist, everyone is looking for the video. Everyone linked to Wizbang (45 trackbacks last I looked) but that post is well down in the google rankings.

  2. James Joyner says:

    Even the post of mine that’s #2 for “Nick Berg” links the Wizbang video. And it’s not like my post was the first one out there, either. I don’t get it.

    Wizbang is getting far more of a traffic surge than OTB, anyway, so go figure.

  3. Annette says:

    The server your site is on, for the past week to today around 4 PM Eastern:

  4. Debbie says:

    I saw the video Tuesday evening, when it first came out, i am still in great shock over what i saw, and have nightmares because of it. I had no idea anyone on this earth, could be so evil, that they make satan look good. I want to say they are as bad as animals, but animals do not kill for no reason at all. Its a shame, that we have to lose a human being in this manner. My daughter is in Iraq in the army, and when i think of Nick, i think of her. My heart goes out to Nicks family and friends. I put myself in their place, and i cringe at the thought of what these people have to live with for the rest of their lives. Noone should have to endure something this evil, from another human being. But, in my eyes these murderers are not human. My prayers are with you Nick, and perhaps your death this way will wake alot of people up, and see what true evil is all about.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Why do the hooded men look like they are standing in US military? The only thing missing is their hands behind their backs and in the video it looks like they don’t know what to do with their hands.

  6. dana says:

    I could not bear to watch the video – i don’t think I would ever be the same. This is so tragic, so awful that it is nearly impossible for me to comprehend. I have children and can not possibly imagine the anguish of his family and those who love him. So many prayers are out there for this family and I hope that God will somehow ease their pain and give them strength and faith that there is still some good in the world. No one deserves to die this, except maybe those who committed this horrible, nightmare-ish crime.

  7. Chris Short says:

    Thursday morning I received a link to the video downloaded it, watched it in horror, then wrote an entry in my blog about it.

    Within that entry I also linked to the video and decided to host it from my web site. Within five minutes of posting my article my web server was slammed with traffic. Everything was maxed out.

    After toiling with numerous solutions to ease the onslaught I decided to allow downloads only during the first ten minutes of every hour. Even today my web site is still getting astronomical traffic and the first ten minutes of every hour are resulting in grueling pperformance.

    I won’t take the video down but the ultimate idea is to eventually setup some kind of BitTorrent solution for things like this in the future. Once things calm down I will offer unimpeded downloading of the video but that looks to be several days off.

  8. Kiril says:

    Thank you so much for clearing up what for me was a little bit of a mystery.

    Over at The Maceyugoserbulgarigreekadonian Compound, aka Sneakeasy’s Joint, I wrote 2 pieces.
    1 was My initial reactions to the Video, and another a linkfest pointing to many other blogger reactions, and to WIZBANG for the link to the video itself.

    I was absolutely floored by the respomse.

    According to my webalizer Stat Tracker
    24,000+ visitors one day, 10, 000 the next, and they are STILL COMING. While many came due to links and trackbacks, I knew they had to come from other ways as well, and my stats gave me a clue that your story now confirms, and explains.

    The best thing about all the attention for any of us is that thousands are reading our essays, hundreds are engaging in discussion, debate, and near fisticuffs in our comments, and dozens may actually come back to visit on a regular basis, and a few may add us to their blogrolls.

    This is a cool thing to have happen to ones blog, especially when you have a lot to offer visitors who explore the place.

    I have begun to actually read the comments, and join in, and have unleashed my BOUNCER ( regulars will know who this actually is, heh, heh ) more than a few times, including once with a “2 by 4”, and a “boot out the door”.

    Aside from the usual wackjobs, and trolls, the overwhelming number of comments from both sides of the issue have been civil, or at least semi-civil.

    Who would have thunk that my 3rd year would get off to such a rousing start? 🙂

  9. Claudia says:

    I saw the video on Nick Berg’s beheading today and was horrified. They knew exactly what to do to make him suffer longer. My heart goes out to his loved ones. I pray that Kerry does not get into office for I believe he will bring our boys home and this horror can than go on in this country. We need more than ever to avenge all our fallen heros and see this war to an end. We cannot afford to have done all that we have done for nothing and have another Viet Nam.