Matt Asay is a veteran technology columnist who has written for CNET, ReadWrite, and other tech media. Asay has also held a variety of executive roles with leading mobile and big data software companies.
I've been blogging for CNET for nearly two months now, and wanted to take stock of readership. Volume of page views (and length of time on the site) is strong, but that's less interesting to me than the quality of readership and the conversation that it sparks.
On that front, The Open Road (OR) seems to be doing even better.
Here are some interesting factoids:
Who are the top employers of OR readers? (Clearly, I need to start saying nice things about some of them.... :-) Sun, Red Hat, Microsoft, IBM, Novell, Oracle Germany (??), Intel, and HP. Microsoft and Red Hat were nearly equal. Novell was half of both of them, and Oracle can't be bothered to read it here in the US (well, not very much). The only reason Oracle Germany was happy to read it was because apparently "fork" translates into something positive in Germany. "Gabel? Zeit für Abendessen!!"
59% of OR's readership comes from the US, which is not surprising, nor that a full 77% come from English-speaking countries. Indians spend the most time reading the site, per capita, with Europe (Germany, France, others, in that order) in second and the US in third. Is the US in a hurry or something? (People spend an average of 3 minutes, 20 seconds on the site per visit.)
London and New York provide the top-two cities for readership, with San Francisco not far behind. But London was much higher than either New York or San Francisco, which surprises me. Of course, when I looked at how long each city stayed on the site, London and San Francisco were tops, whereas New Yorkers could barely skim the page fast enough. Clearly, they're in a big hurry in the Big Apple. :-)
A few of you spend a lot of time on the site. You've read all 200+ posts. Thank you. I think. These must be related to those people who routinely spend 30+ minutes reading my blather. I'm actually frightened thinking of how far astray you may go now....
Not to worry, since most people visit once and never come back (85%). For a blog that focuses so deeply on a still relatively esoteric subject (open source, not Arsenal, mind you), that's not surprising. I just wonder how to convince those people to come back, though perhaps the trend toward loyalty is increasing, as page views are up significantly month-over-month...?
Turning to technology, 61% use the FireFox browser, while 24% slum with Internet Explorer and 7% use Safari. So, it's not your average consumer on the site, but a comparatively techie audience (meaning, in the software/hardware industries).
This is made a bit clearer by other data that shows 17% of readers running Linux, though 68% run Windows. Maybe they don't come back to the site because their systems crash and they can't remember the URL...? :-) 14% live in a state of nirvana (also known as Mac OS X). Shockingly, there were 31 visits from someone(s) running on the Nintendo Wii. (Javier: Turn off the Wii for a few minutes and use a real machine!)
So there you have it. I'm just grateful that anyone reads this at all. I'd write, regardless, as that's what I've always done. But it's nice to think that people enjoy reading it. If only once. :-)
P.S. For what it's worth, it's clear to me that location matters on the web as much as elsewhere. I don't write differently than I did over at Open Sources or AC/OS, but the number of readers has risen dramatically each time I've moved to a new publication platform. There was 5X growth from AC/OS to InfoWorld, and 4X growth (and rising) from InfoWorld. I can't take any credit. CNET has been a great place to blog.
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