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T Campbell Takes A Crack At Most Read List for Webcomics

T Campbell takes a crack at compiling lists of popular webcomics based on Alexa and other publicly available data. This is a lot like the Comixpedia Most Read lists from 2003-04, with about the same level of reliability. For the most part the comics on the lists are popular but you really have no way of knowing much more than that. And purely based on my gut reaction, the lists compiled based on Compete and Quantcast look even less reliable to me than the one based on Alexa.


Dana Darko's picture

I have also been torn between KNOWING my stats and having the creative security of NOT KNOWING. There is something to be said for not knowing - in webcomics - there is always someone bigger than you. Rather than focusing on accuracy, I want to just say "I know how you feel" when it comes to traffic tracking... I have seen come cartoonists lose their way to pander to a near-voiceless readership, or become discouraged by low numbers. Personally, I think I would opt for not knowing the traffic until I was ready to pull figures for a serious business plan or to decide what advertising to repeat. But for creative purity, ignoring the numbers can be a blessing.

Honestly? Isn't this really

Honestly? Isn't this really a lot of hubbub over nothing? All the comics you'd expect to be on any "most popular" list are on all the lists T. shows. And if they made a traffic tracker that everyone agreed got it right everytime, the very same webcomics (Penny Arcade, PvP, etc) would be on that list too in more or less the same positions as they hold on all the other "flawed' lists. I mean, it's not like they're gonna find a better way to track web traffic and we find to our utter shock and amazement that Penny Arcade, PvP, etc, aren't the most popular comics on the web and little known "Herbies homemade comics" really is. So ultimately this seems like little more than something to go "Hmm" about because you can't find anything good to watch on TV. Dee G.A.A.K: Groovy Ass Alien Kreatures It's like The Goonies meets The Invaders from Mars. Updates on Mondays.

G.A.A.K: Groovy Ass Alien Kreatures It's like The Goonies meets The Invaders from Mars. Updates on Mondays.

I enjoyed the article, T

Tony Esteves's picture

I know a diehard Xplosm fan and a diehard Penny Arcade fan. I can't use my personal knowledge of these two people to make a statistical analysis but from my perception of them- they are two very different types of fans. Smile



...Yeah, that was the point...

I'm always happy to be linked, Xaviar, but one small complaint: your post reads like I was setting this up as the new Definite Top Rankings, when actually I was saying pretty much what YOU'RE saying, that there is no reliable system, and all this can produce is "the statistical equivalent of rumor." Those charts do indicate that is PROBABLY pretty popular, but not definitely, and not definitely more popular than Penny Arcade.

(But I would caution against making such judgments based on one's gut, too!)

I'm worried sick that people are gonna skip the point of that essay and go straight to the charts, but the alternative would be to tell people "I believe that these sites' wild performance variations mean that they'd never agree on any traffic relationships that are important to comics, but I'm not going to actually test my theory and show you the results or anything."

It's not an ideal test, to be sure. The best test would be against individual sites' results with Extreme Tracker, Google Analytics and Webtrends, but like I said, people have very good reasons not to be forthcoming with that information.

And DJ, I don't think proxyhits are aimed at PW, but I use Project Wonderful, and I do put the same banner ad at the top and bottom of my forum pages, so those get counted twice. I consider this ethical because the PW statistics are supposed to be AD-views, not PAGE-views, and because forum users tend to scroll from top to bottom, but I know not everyone observes that distinction.

Mind you, this sort of data is always always ALWAYS flawed. There is no perfect system, not from Diamond, not from Nielsen, not from nobody. But the flaws are still at a level for webcomics that is, to my mind, unacceptable. And yet, it sort of has to be acceptable, because except for the end of the piece, I don't have a really good answer for this problem. Maybe someone else does.

And maybe I should shut up now and let them talk about it. I'll still be reading, but I won't be posting here-- I've already written about 2,658 words on this, now it's your turn.

Ah, I see. I didn't know it

Coffman's picture

Ah, I see. I didn't know it counted them twice, I thought it was akin to like a statcounter program install that was tracking traffic to the page the script was on. That makes sense.

DJ Coffman- cartoonist -

All of this traffic talk and

Coffman's picture

All of this traffic talk and page numbers is interesting, but all of it seems to be flawed. I was just looking at some sites on Project Wonderful that say they have like umpteen billion pageviews for their ads, but if you check out the other data, things don't match up. Even some strips who were struggling for audience some time ago, have greater pageviews there than established strips.

It leads me to believe that some sites are being less than audience or using proxyhits to inflate that. Well, at least on ProjectWonderful, and hey, I guess it's working out great for them, but it ends up hurting the advertisers who think they're getting a good deal for 25 bucks a day or something. Strange.

Too bad Firefox or IE dont collect data to see how many sites are bookmarked or something

DJ Coffman- cartoonist -

Browser privacy

Too bad Firefox or IE dont collect data to see how many sites are bookmarked or something

There would probably be a big stink about privacy, similar to the Alexa toolbar fuss but worse. Microsoft wouldn't want another round of bad publicity for IE, and Mozilla won't want to kill Firefox's safer-than-IE reputation, so they'd have more to lose than gain.