May 21, 2009 45 Comments
I love the URL shortening service bit.ly, as I’ve written before. It’s a tremendous service, provide wonderful analytics along with the basic URL shortening feature. The service recently moved to make click counts much more visible, which is really helpful to see at a glance what got the interest of people you shared the link with. Search Engine Land’s Danny Sullivan has a nice write-up about it.
But something isn’t right with the counts I’m seeing from bit.ly. That, or something is seriously wrong with WordPress.com’s traffic stats.
Here’s what I mean. On May 19th, I tweeted this:
The first bit.ly URL is to Dennis Howlett’s blog post. The second bit.ly URL links to my post Newsletters Are Still Viable? How I Approached My First Newsletter Email. This post was from last November.
Fast forward. Bit.ly dutifully tracked the clicks on my shortened URL. Total count? 125 in the past week:
Hey…that sounds pretty good, doesn’t it? Plenty of clicks to the ol’ blog.
But then check out the number of views WordPress.com recorded for this same blog post the past week:
Say what?!!! Bit.ly is telling me the post got 125 hits. WordPress.com is saying it got 11 hits. Let’s do the math:
How can the numbers be so far apart? I mean, that’s not a rounding error. That’s a canyon of difference. Is bit.ly borked? Is WordPress off? This isn’t the first time I’ve seen these kinds of differences.
If you’ve got any hypotheses or have seen this yourself, I’d love to hear about it. Particularly if you’ve seen the same thing for a different blog platform, like Blogger or Typepad.
Update: There’s a discussion of possible causes on FriendFeed.
I’m @bhc3 on Twitter.