Monday, 22 July 2013

Ted Atchley's counter-hypothesis

Two months ago, Gevlon wrote a short series of articles on, the makers of World of Tanks, where he discussed the possibility that they were hoodwinking their customers. Part of his reasons for writing the series was that two earlier articles had sparked a lot of page views, and Gevlon felt that those articles resonated with's customers, which accounted for their popularity.

Ted Atchley had an alternative theory: the two articles got a lot of hits because people were googling for cheat codes for world of tanks.

I created a page to test Ted Atchley's counter-hypothesis, and promised to report back on the results. Well, it's now two months since I published that page, and since then it has become the 7th most-read article in these diaries (it doesn't take a lot of hits to get to 7th best here, though!)

It's interesting to review my top 10 articles, and of course I'll be doing it in reverse order.

10. My old friends, Spidersilk Boots and Drape
9. Sunsong Ranch
Those two were part of Cold's Blogging Carnival, which I think accounts for their popularity.
8. Golden Lotus Notes - this was a guide to what to do after reaching level 90 in Pandaria, which was popular a few months ago when most people were just dinging 90. Not so much now.
7. The aforementioned World of Tanks Cheat Codes. I think this provides some support for Ted's theory.

So what was more popular than this? Well, the next most popular post in the Dàchéng Diaries is:
6. Toys and Games, an argument with Tobold over the nature of virtual worlds. Its high hit-count, I think, stems from Tobold linking to it.
5. Problems with Commenting on Wordpress Sites. This one falls into the problem-solving category. Some people are having comments that they make on Wordpress sites fall into a black hole, and this article presents a possible solution.
4. A Draenei in the Deadmines. Published two days after the number 3 contender, I think this one benefits from the afterglow effect. People coming to read the number 3 article also read this.
3. Gevlon the Bully. For a long time this polemic aimed at the lying, cheating, sociopathic bully of Azeroth was my number one article. To use Gevlon's words, it "resonated with something my readers found themselves". More likely, it benefited from crosslinking from the JMTC forums, and then reddit. It still is the article with the most comments.
What could beat "Gevlon the Bully" out of top place? Two rather more prosaic articles:
2. Black Lion Trading Company, which is a short article on what to do in GW2 if you get a particular error message. Like the "Problems commenting on Wordpress" article, it falls into the problem-solving category
1. Doomsday is a comin' which is an article on the shenanigans Garrosh Hellscream was getting up to a while back. Now it's certainly an entertaining read, but so are many of my articles that have only a tenth as many hits as this one. So what is driving people to this page? I can't find any search terms or back links that might explain it (the main search terms are ones driving people to entries 2 and 7), so I'm pretty much bewildered by this one With my tin-foil hat on, the only thing I can think of is a reference in the first sentence of the fourth paragraph to a munition that can destroy stuff massively. Which of course does not show up as a search term, according to Google. Maybe my Iranian readers aren't really from Iran.

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