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The Monkey Cage’s First Anniversary, Part I

- December 2, 2008

The Monkey Cage had its first birthday last week — on November 26, to be precise. This date slipped by me, and perhaps my co-bloggers, but I didn’t want to leave it unremarked.

This post will focus on statistics from the first year. The second will provide some of my thoughts on how this first year has gone.

In our first year — that is up to Nov. 26, 2008 — we wrote 807 posts, for an average a little over 2 per day. These posts received 1,961 comments, for an average of over 2 per post.

There have been almost half a million pageviews (463,964) of this blog as of Nov. 26, 2008. There have been 170,205 “absolute unique visitors,” which roughly translates into 170,205 different people who have viewed some content at The Monkey Cage.

Here is a graph of the number of unique visitors by day:


Within most every week, the trend is cyclical, with readership higher on weekdays than weekends. If we ignore the spikes for a moment — by eliminating the days with more than 1,500 unique visitors — a simple regression of the number of visitors on the age of the blog suggests that we gained approximately one additional visitor for each day the blog existed this past year. As of these past few months, a typical weekday earns us about 1,000 unique visitors.

The spikes on the graph derive from a sudden influx of visitors who came upon Monkey Cage posts via links on other, more popular websites. I’ve denoted the largest spikes with the numbers 1-4. The numbers correspond to these particular posts:

1. Headscarves (37,041 pageviews, extending for several days past the initial spike)
2. Who Is the Most Powerful Member of Congress? (9,942 over a few days)
3. Nixon and Elvis: The Rest of the Story (4,385, almost all in 1 day)
4. Sarah Palin favorability rating (8,502 in about 2 days)

All praise is due to these websites for these, and other, links. #1 was placed on Stumbleupon. #2 was mentioned at Marginal Revolution. #3 was mentioned by Andrew Sullivan. #4 was discussed by Matthew Yglesias and Kevin Drum. A consequence of these spikes is that about 54% of our visitors have visited The Monkey Cage only once.

As for geography, we have received visitors from 181 different countries. Of course, most of our visits come from the United States (~260,000). (Note: visits are different from visitors. See here. Google Analytics will not give me visitors by country.) Canada and the UK are next, with about 10,000 apiece. Australia and various countries in Western Europe round out the top ten. We have also received 338 visits from Iran, but none from Turkmenistan, Niger, Chad, Angola, Suriname, Papau New Guinea, and a few others.

Because many of our readers are from academia, I also looked to see which schools supplied the most visits. Google Analytics can tell us the “network location” of visits. Most come from network locations denoted only by the internet service provider, such as Verizon or Comcast. This means that I am undercounting our academic audience here, as many no doubt view us from their homes. But leaving this aside and counting only those visits from an academic network location, here are the top 5:

1. GW (8,986 visits)
2. Princeton (3,603)
3. Columbia (2,701)
4. Harvard (1,977)
5. Cal State Fullerton (1,454)

#1 and #3 are no surprise, given our contributors. As for #5, most of the thanks is likely due to reader and occasional commenter Matt Jarvis.

More to come. Maybe next year we’ll have some cake to celebrate our second anniversary.