WordPress.com or WordPress.con?


Sometimes I worry about WordPress.  Is it all a big con?  Are those of us who use it, coming up with new material and spend hours preparing, reviewing and posting all collectively part of a huge high school joke?

Why do I say this?

Well consider this:

In the early hours of 30th December I received 124 hits in one hour on a post about the film ‘Shirley Valentine’ and the Greek Island of Mykonos on my archive blog ‘Another bag, more travel’ http://anotherbagmoretravel.wordpress.com/2011/12/19/the-greek-islands-mykonos-and-shirley-valentine/.

WordPress even sent me a congratulatory note to say that my hits were booming – up from an average of 3 an hour to over 130 in this short snapshot!

I was delighted of course but suspicious.  Unbelievable – that’s exactly what I thought.

What is interesting is that the film ‘film ‘Shirley Valentine’ was shown on UK television late the previous evening and the search engine terms feature seemed to suggest that this might be a factor especially when linked to the fact that most of these hits apparently came from the UK.

Of course I was almost ecstatic about this but when I checked the post I began to become sceptical.  I checked the search engine terms through Google and none of them led to my blog.  Out of 124 hits there was not a single comment, no additional likes, no clicks and no new post ratings and I find that rather strange.  124 people allegedly came to my post and not one of them left a single footprint.  Don’t you think that is odd?  Usually when I visit a post I leave a comment or a like (unless I really don’t like it) because it just seems to be good manners.  Is it possible that 124 people visited this page and none of them liked it, none of them wanted to leave a comment?  Not even to say that it was rubbish?

So now I am getting very suspicious.

This probably shouldn’t be a surprise but when I search the site I have noticed that the same few bloggers appear over and again.  Perhaps this is inevitable because, after all, I am fishing in a big pond for people and blogs with similar interests to my own, they comment on mine, I comment on theirs, they like mine and I like theirs and so on.  So where do all these other hits come from and why do they leave no apparent trail?  Maybe there are really only a couple of hundred of us here banging out daily posts and looking at each others posts, commenting and liking!

Do you think I am being paranoid, am I a conspiracy theorist?  Well now consider this:

According to WordPress stats my most popular post is https://apetcher.wordpress.com/2011/03/02/norway-haugesund-and-the-vikings/ with a massive 24,048 (well, I think it is massive) hits since I posted it on March 2nd 2011 but despite that huge number it has only 16 comments (and 6 of these are mine in response to others) and only 34 likes – just .14%!

On a second blogging site ‘New Light through Old Windows’ I have a post about the Robin (the bird not the Reliant or Batman’s pal) and WordPress tells me that it has 27,477 hits (3,000 more than the popular Vikings post on ‘Have Bag, will Travel’) and I think you will agree with me that that is a lot but this has only 9 comments and 4 of them are mine and only 13 likes (only .05% of all the people who stopped by here).

I have raised the issue with WordPress through the support forum but whilst some topics get an immediate response to all sorts of dopey questions my enquiry has been left hanging without a reply.  Somebody just got a response after 3 seconds to the question ‘features not functioning’.  Or did they? Have I uncovered something sinister?

Makes you think doesn’t it?  Are we all wasting our time?  I would be interested in your views…



46 responses to “WordPress.com or WordPress.con?

  1. This surely made me think. My major concern is the number of followers I get but when I click their avatars, they lead me to some ad and/or odd sites. I hope WP gives you an answer soon cuz I’m also curious.


  2. I don’t pay all that much attention to stats (and still haven’t made the time to check out the search terms), so I didn’t actually follow all your reasoning. What I have discovered through blogging here are some good friends. I’ve even met a half dozen in real life. I enjoy reading the posts I follow and I’m not too shy about commenting when I feel I have something to say. I love sharing my photos and having folks comment on them. So, to me it’s not really about the numbers, but the connections made and those are special even if the statistics aren’t. Blogs like yours and others have opened up new worlds for me. So, what’s not to like?


  3. I have been thinking about this myself for a while. I have even noticed that some bloggers I follow write posts but I never get to see them unless I log onto their blog. I thought the idea was to be able to share with others your thoughts. I am looking forward to hearing what WP has to say about the hits on your site.


  4. I agree with Gunta. And I agree with you. I find those stats very suspicious, very weird. How does something like that happen? I guess that’s what we all want to know. WordPress claims it hosts 60 million blogs! Really?
    I’m like Gunta in that I enjoy the whole blogging process and have made some wonderful new friends. I used to be checking numbers, but don’t bother with it now, and the few times I’ve looked at my stats I haven’t found anything too weird. However I understand your blogging about your travels, like many of us, is something of an entrepreneurial venture so accurate stats matter.
    Hope they give you an answer soon.
    Happy New Year!


    • Hi Alison
      My blog is not entrepreneurial at all, just a hobby but like most people I would like to think people read some of the posts. If I thought that they weren’t then I would stop and go outside and play more golf. I just wonder if WordPress manipulate statistics to use us to keep building content for their own entrepreneurial objectives.
      Still no answer by the way!
      Happy New Year.


  5. Hi Andrew, I am very new to word press and very few followers so would not be able to intelligently comment on the questions you raised. But I like your post and it definitely grabbed my attention… So keep writing 🙂


  6. It is really a mixed bag…I too am distressed when the people I enjoy reading don’t even appear in my ‘reader’. On the other hand, the ‘booming stats’ notices seem to correspond when I link with Facebook/ Twitter. It is hard to parse it out. I am not sure what I hope to gain as I change my format to more writing, but I know there is a core group of people who follow along. There are the unfortunate ‘non-bloggers’ who want to sell services, but I try and ignore them. I have found that complaints/ pleas for help seem to fall on deaf ears until I make a huge racket and find someone to help rid me of a bad hacker…(happened twice)… good comments and great post!


  7. The stats you describe do sound suspicious but with my limited experience I am not sure I can add much to the discussion. Thus far my stats seem to correspond pretty accurately to what I post, how much I am reaching out to other bloggers on their posts, etc. Should I get 20,000 plus hits on a post I might just bask in ignorant bliss for a bit 🙂


    • I did too but now I wonder if WordPress simply randomly inflate hits to support their advertising and expansion business plan. Take a look at Freshly Pressed – most of it is rubbish and then look at WordPress Top Posts most of which seems to be spam. I like it here but is it real?


  8. I use WP for it’s ease and functionality. I did a lot of research when deciding which one to use. Some of them are very difficult and don’t even allow a “like”.
    I also got a message last week saying that my hits were up. I do know that everyone once in a while someone will find my blog through searching for Dukan Diet info and will sit and read dozens of the posts and not respond, although I have gotten responses via the “contact” button to my email.
    Thought provoking post, Andrew! I’m interested to see if WP actually responds to your inquiry!


  9. Andrew, we’ve had the same thing happen, and after much research we decided that it was still a total mystery. We couldn’t figure it out. It must be above my pay grade. 🙂 Happy New Year to you! ~Terri


  10. I’m what you might call technically challenged but even I am scratching my head. There must be something broken seems the most logical answer but now to find the root.
    If nothing else, you are entitled to a logical explanation even if the answer is, “We don’t know.” At least it would be honest.


  11. My stats definitely correlate to my posts but I don’t get huge amounts of views so it’s fairly easy to read. I’ve not looked at WP top posts so will check that out. Frankly it’s all a bit of a mystery to me although I do feel some of the WP prompts are designed to keep the whole spiral going but I write my blog because I enjoy it and to have a personal online journal of my travels. The people I’ve ‘met’ along the way are a lovely bonus.


  12. Well, one thing I think might be true is that many people read posts, articles without either clicking like or commenting. I have noticed that if I write a post on a “hot” current issue in Croatia (that’s what my blog is about/political + historical issues) then the stats spike like mad 😀 and so do comments either on blog or on facebook/ a kind of a reflection of what’s occupying readers minds??? I think the regular followers of blogs are different to general public and make an effort to keep abreast of what bloggers they follow have to say – they follow them because they’ve found in them topics and ways presented interesting and useful. Having said all this suspicion is always good – keeps the grey cells active 😀


    • I remain suspicious. I think WordPress may have a problem with spamming in general. Also, it will have an objective of increasing market share and advertising revenues so it would be very easy to artificially inflate post hits but I am in to conspiracy theories again now.


  13. Wow Andrew !! I don’t know what to say !! I see you have 1364 followers but only 18 Likes so far on this post. It is strange. Maybe your tags are really good that Google searchers find interesting. Have a happy New Year. Ralph 😀


  14. Thanks for reminding me to comment more and not just read and “like” posts! 😀 I like WordPress for the structure and ease of use. Occasionally I get spam comments but it isn’t too often. I can’t imagine what would cause a 124 hit spike but that doesn’t actually seem like a lot. If you’re going to doctor the numbers, you should be going for bigger numbers! (10,000 in an hour?)

    Thanks for sharing your travels!!


  15. A very interesting “conversation” Andrew (because the series above of comments/responses, is in a very real way just that: a conversation).
    Now, for once I feel some real trepidation here. I am not normally slow in coming forward, but I seriously wonder whether I am qualified to speak here, as I have done everything in my power to avoid my Daigressing habit of nearly 21 years, turning into a blog. I specifically do not want my words archived, and realise that the very transience of my words are their USP (in a world where even one’s second thoughts are thesedays on memory sticks!)
    I am well aware that most people just bin my Daigressing when it arrives in their inbox. Am I sorry about that? Not particularly: I rather arrogantly work on the basis that this is THEIR loss.
    In the final analysis, one’s readership is about QUALITY, not QUANTITY.
    In this life, it really is NOT about numbers. Mozart had nobody go to his funeral: contrast that with a despotic crazed political leader of all our memories, who got a million! That cruel blighter was not a better man than Wolfgang Amadeus.
    So manifestly, it is not about numbers.
    That said, I have always thought that I do have some clue as to numbers of viewings/hits I am responsible for, when I plug a YouTube link. And these totals always seemed most informative.
    Oh please do not wilfully misunderstand me: I am not talking here of YouTube links that have gone viral: they clearly are getting seen via a plethora of sources worldwide.
    But rather, I am talking about obscure links I have dug out: links that may have been up on Youtube for several years, and yet still not have amassed anywhere near a four figure total of hits. Sometimes not even three figures.
    Any change in these totals I can reasonably attribute to my Daigressing, if I check the total on the day of my mailing, and then again, a week later.
    At my best, I always reckoned that I can put 200 hits on a long-established YouTube link with a previous paltry total. I bet the poster of such a clip wonders where the dickens the sudden surge came from!
    However, at my worst … Ha!
    Take my latest mailing. About the 4th item was a riveting clip on The Gettysburg Address that the YouTube screen said had 41 hits when I mailed out on Dec 24. It now has a total of 90.
    Now even if all those 50 were down to my plugging it, I would still have thought it slightly disappointing, in that last year I made two separate – both month long – trips to America and met 12 different Daigressing readers there. But it gets worse: click on the stats feature under the YouTube screen, and one notes that the graph shows that it had got 40 hits within 4 days of posting on Nov 19, and that when I noted the figure of 41 views on Christmas Eve, the graph says it was actually over 80 on that date, (!!)
    So clearly it isn’t only WordPress.com who run suspicious totals!
    And to end my two pennyworth:on the matter, let me say something that demonstrates that it is proof-positive that one cannot equate numbers of responses to numbers of readers.
    I refer to newspapers.
    Here in Britain, the Sun has close on 2.5 million sales daily. In an average household of 3 people, let’s settle for 6 million actual READERS. To get one percent of readers responding, they would need a postbag of 60,000 letters a day. Of course they get nowhere near that …even with online responses.
    So if well-established newspapers have to settle for a largely blissfully lethargic audience, can we normal mortals in the blogosphere expect any different?
    Kindest, as always,
    Dai Woosnam


    • Hello Dai
      I lot of people seem to have misinterpreted the point of my post and I should have made myself clearer. What I found odd was that this one post received an unexpected spike in page hits that started and ended abruptly (within one hour) and rightly or wrongly I smelled a rat and this took my suspicious mind off in various directions.
      What I should also have said was that all of these hits came from the UK in the middle of the night when most people will have been in bed. It is an interesting coincidence however that the film ‘Shirley Valentine’ was on TV the previous evening.
      Happy New Year!


  16. Not sure why there were so many hits or whether WordPress has some sort of bug (or maybe is fooling us all!)–but I wanted to say that I don’t think it’s too unusual to get hits without getting many likes / comments. I assume that a LOT of people take a glance or land on a site without ever reading or bothering to do anything to validate their time there. I don’t have anything to back that up though…

    Anyway, I hope WordPress responds!


  17. One day, I have found a service “We can send you 1,000 visitors for only 1 dollar.” I tried. Yes, 1,000 visitors and now one like, comment, or following. If somebody do it, why can’t WordPress? It is not expensive.


  18. The statistic of WordPress is something “excellent.” Today morning, I had 1 visitor and 4 views, but (!) USA -2, Canada-1, Philippines-1. Ha-ha 🙂


  19. I don’t see anything strange about this. Only other wordpress bloggers tend to like or comment on a post, and fellow bloggers tend to have read a post within 3 days. So it’s quite normal for a post to get no likes or comments, no matter how popular it is, after that initial period. Anyone who finds your post after 3 days will likely not be bothered to log in to comment/like.

    You probably got some interest from someone who’d seen the film on TV and had a drunken search on the internet about how to find a Greek lover.


  20. Dear Victor,
    Thanks for telling me that Portugal is Andrew’s favourite country.
    I had always thought that if we were to put a gun to his head and suggest that he must choose one, Andrew would surely (albeit a trifle reluctantly) say Greece (or more specifically, “the Greek Islands”).


  21. Just haha. You knew I would enjoy this and get a laugh. Did you read Helen’s comment on my latest post?

    I cheerfully pass on this badge thing to you 🙂



  22. I think you are right to be suspicious, Andrew. It does seem fishy, both the one hour in which the hits occurred and the coincidence of the film being shown the night before. So, you have your very own grassy knoll and conspiracy theory now. I shall watch with interest and hope to see you write more about this.


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