Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Election Year Scandals for Traffic
I have recently been interested in the way smaller sites with which I was not previously familiar hit my radar as I observe traffic surging to them for one particular article relating to some scandal or other in the presidential election. Whether it's a confession, a funny image, or a fake interview, one well placed election-related item can put a site on the map.
Such was the case, for example, when Christopher Buckley, the son of the late uber-conservative William F. Buckley, posted a column on The Daily Beast announcing his intention to vote for Barack Obama, the Democrat. As he explained, he chose The Daily Beast because he thought it would be safer than his regular gig at the National Review Online--he was certain he'd receive tons of hate mail if he posted it there. Well, it did result in the National Review dropping his column. But it also resulted in many people visiting, for the first time, The Daily Beast. Scoop!
Another recent site that came to my attention while I was chasing traffic spikes was Street Prophets, a relatively small blog (and part of the Daily Kos community) on politics and faith. What appeared to drive the increase in traffic to the site was an image that alleged of Republican Vice Presidential Candidate Sarah Palin, "Finally, a beauty queen who doesn't want world peace."
Similarly, I had not personally been aware of the news blog African Press International, which saw a jump in traffic after publishing an allegedly fake interview with Michelle Obama.
I suppose my all-time favorite spike in traffic related to an election-year scoop of sorts was that in early August to the website Funny or Die. While the site frequently has a viral hit, the surge to a scripted announcement by Paris Hilton of her own political aspirations in response to John McCain's ad about Barack Obama's celebrity. Putting that one on the graph makes the others seem like mere blips.
Posted by Kelly Dragoo at 5:57 PM