Back in 2003-2004, ComixTALK ran a series of articles under the banner of "Most Read" trying to work through how to measure the respective audience shares of various webcomics. More recently, T Campbell borrowed the idea to generate a list of such webcomics for the former version of webcomics.com.
I've pulled together one more Most Read list, this time relying fairly heavily on Project Wonderful data. Mostly though I went to the trouble of compiling this to point out how someone else could do a better job of it in the future.
Itâ€™s been almost a year since our last effort to measure the webcomic audience. While in a perfect world we would have spent that time developing proprietary measurement tools capable of providing a highly accurate list of webcomic audience numbers this, in so many ways, is not a perfect world. Plus, we spent the development money on Mexican vitamins. But that alas is another story.
Time once again for another edition of Measuring the Webcomic Audience. Last month our list relied on visits, page views, and links data derived from Ranking.com and Alexa.com. This month we drop links data from our methodology, and instead rank webcomics based on Ranking.com data for visits and page views and for Alexa.com rankings.
Once again Penny Arcade topped our chart and also dominated all categories of data we reviewed in our methodology. Overall, however, there was a much greater number of webcomics moving on and off the Most Read List this month.
Time once again for another edition of Measuring the Webcomic Audience. Last month we explored some of the tools and methods developed by the blogging community, in particular the use of links between sites to rank blogs.
For this month's edition of our measurement project we again rely on information from Ranking.com and Alexa.com. We calculated a score for each webcomic based on their rankings for unique visitors, page views, and new for this month, links. For example, Penny Arcade ranked first for unique visitors, page views and for the number of sites linking into the Penny Arcade website.
According to the mainstream press, it's the year of the blog. And in many ways that's absolutely true. To name just one example, political blogs are making an impact beyond just providing the kind of thoughtful commentary no longer found on screaming-head talk shows; arguably blogs helped to keep the Trent "We Would Have All Been Better Off" Lott scandal alive until he resigned as Majority Leader of the United States Senate; Howard Dean, candidate for the Democratic nomination for President of the United States, has used his blog as a means to inform, organize and raise significant funds; and we can read Andrew Sullivan and Tom Tomorrow exchanging witty quips as if they were at a virtual table at a virtual Algonquin Hotel.
There are two issues of interest to explore here. First, why are blogs with significantly smaller audiences than webcomics having an exponentially larger impact on popular culture? Second, why are blogs doing a much better job of building community and drawing attention to other worthy blogs than webcomics?
In May, Comixpedia published a "most-read" list based largely on information obtained through comparative traffic rankings from Alexa and Traffic Ranking. For July, we present version 0.2 of our audience measurement project. Remember that this project is still in beta mode, and that we welcome your feedback.
Let's cut to the chase. Quantity does not necessarily equal quality. Of course, it does not necessarily preclude quality, either. In fact, some might argue that 50,000,000 Elvis fans canâ€™t be wrong. It's certainly a well-worn question in every medium of popular entertainment: "how'd you do last night, kid?"
In almost every other medium there's an established mechanism for counting the audience and providing information on what the audience is watching or buying or reading or clicking on. So why not a bestsellers' list for webcomics, an Arbitron system focused on our particular universe? Regardless of whether we love, like, hate, or are indifferent to the most popular webcomics being produced today, it is information that ought to be available to the interested members of the reading public. It could provide some clues as to where the online audience is today versus six months versus two years from now. It could help to keep score of the growth (or decline) of our overall webcomic reader audience.