Well, this is sure to be an interesting morning

Posted by Tim Ireland at April 3, 2008

Category: The Political Weblog Movement

This entry was posted on
Thursday, April 3rd, 2008
8:28 am and is filed
under The Political Weblog Movement.

For the best laugh you’ve had in ages, watch Dale and Staines lay into me with their usual bluster and bullshit, not knowing that they’d both dumped themselves in it last night.

Both Paul Staines and Iain Dale have been playing us for a fools for months. Possibly years.

They’ve been taking the figure for the number of visits to their site and regularly presenting this figure as the number of unique visitors, thereby giving the impression that they have 5 to 6 times the number of visitors than they actually do.

The reality is that they have a much smaller audience than most of us thought, and that audience clicks ‘refresh’ a lot (probably more so now than in the past, as Dale and Staines have had comment moderation on full-time for months now, and people do get impatient waiting for their comment about Gordon Brown’s rocking horse to appear).

In Iain Dale’s case, he’s claiming 250,000 unique visitors a month, when in reality it’s closer to 50,000

In Paul Staines’ case, he’s claiming 350,000 unique visitors a month, when in reality it’s closer to 75,000

If you’re having difficulty with the terms/concept, imagine me popping by your site and either visiting 5 different pages or refreshing a single page 5 times. You and I would say that I am 1 person; Dale and Staines would say I am 5 different people.

Alternatively, imagine what the singles chart would suddenly look like if a couple of mediocre artists started claiming that the number of times a track was played was in fact the number of times it had been purchased/downloaded. Picture them getting those juicy MSM interviews and mentions that go with being a perceived success and actually selling a few tracks off the back of that as they declare themselves the kings/queens of pop… and you’ll begin to understand just how pathetic this whole sham is, and how this revelation makes the audience they have gained looked even more insigificant.

I can’t wait to see what they pull out of the hat to explain or try to divert attention away from it. They certainly can’t admit to fudging their figures, as this would totally undermine MessageSpace’s claim that; “Publishers on the MessageSpace network show 4 million adverts a month, to more than 700,000 unique readers.”

UPDATE – Westmonster – You say visit, I say visitor: Now, we’ve been in many meetings over the years with clever people in suits whose eyes glaze over at statistical definitions, but suffice to say: Dale is completely wrong, and Ireland is completely right.


  1. Nosemonkey says

    Hmmm… Those figures certainly sound more plausible. After all, though Guido and Iain may get linked from the big boys of the press a fair bit, we all know that such linkage doesn't do that much for traffic (Guardian, BBC and Telegraph all worth a spike of an extra c.200-300 visitors, if that).They also don't have many links from the other side of the Atlantic, where all the real blog traffic lies – unlike leading Eurosceptic blog EU Referendum which, according to its public Sitemeter stats, gets 2,500 unique visitors a day – putting it on a par with Guido by your revised figures.I'd also guess that the long-running likes of Samizdata (10,640 Technorati blog reactions vs. 10,834 for Dale and 6,549 for both of Guido's addresses combined) and Lenin's Tomb are up there (Lenin averaging 1,950 daily unique, judging by his Sitemeter).Still, if they can con enough advertisers to part with their cash then good on them. They're both in blogging for profit at least as much as pleasure and party politics, and massaging your readership figures is a long tradition in the British press. Quintupling them may be a bit excessive (assuming your figures are correct), but still…

  2. Manic says

    "Still, if they can con enough advertisers to part with their cash…"I'd normally moderate something like that for legal reasons, but you're spot on and there's not a damn thing that Staines can do about it. MessageSpace's suggestion that they reach 700,000 unique readers a month is total bollocks, and from the moment they play that trick, the con is on.

  3. Professor Paul says

    So Dale & Staines are a sort of bloggers Milli Vanilli?

  4. Manic says

    Actually, more like Posh Spice, having her flunkies rush around buying copies of her rubbish single 5 at a time from different record stores so she could get to No. 1 ahead of Groovejet.

  5. irritant says

    IMHO Ian & Guido's content is too Westminster-specific to be of interest to any but the most anglophile US politico.

  6. Manic says

    I think that's fair to say.Mind you, from 2003-2005, there was a *lot* more crossover between interest in Westminster and Washington. Even John Howard got a look-in from time to time.

  7. Professor Paul says

    The latest comments over at Iain Dale's Dungheap are getting heated,to say the least.Check this out.https://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=6214838&…The simple fact is that both Guido & Iain have been exposed as making fraudulent claims about their site visitors.If I were paying for an ad on either site I would be decidedly pissed off by the blatant lying that has gone on by these two.And Dale shows,by his responses,just why we rejected him in North Norfolk.He's not a serious politician!!!!!

  8. Manic says

    PP: My apologies for not welcoming you to Bloggerheads the other day. It was hectic, as you know.Your not knowing about Paul's 'redirection to t-shirt shop' ploy tells me that you're relatively new to Bloggerheads as a reader, so I really feel that I should warn you that Iain will play the wounded fawn at a moment's notice and he now has an audience (of unknown size) that indulges him in this and other deceits.As a result, most of us have gotten into the habit of being exceedingly polite to Iain while revealing what he gets up to.It helps keep things civilized, and it makes those moments when he explodes with childish anger and/or personal attacks all the more revealing:http://devilskitchen.me.uk/2008/04/march-statpr0n…:o)

  9. Professor Paul says

    ThanksI have browsed some of your stuff before,but not really thought about posting.I am familiar,however,with Master Dale & his carryings on.The one thing I am grateful to him over is the fact that I found this place!

  10. ian says

    "imagine visiting 5 different pages or refreshing a single page 5 times. You and I would say that I am 1 person; Dale and Staines would say I am 5 different people."At the risk of boring people, I think Dale would say that was one visit. However, if you popped in again tomorrow, that would be a different visit, but the same visitor. For instance, if I can resort to the staple of british humour, my mother in law is the same visitor, no matter how many times she visits.

  11. Scaryduck says

    Heh. I only EVER count my unique visitors, even though I'm a complete stats whore. Funnily, I get 22,000 a month talking about shit, while Mr Dale only gets about double this figure talking shi… nah – too easy.

  12. Manic says

    Professor Paul: Your familiarity with the subject is sure to be appreciated.Ian: No, by declaring a 'visit' to be the same thing as a 'unique visitor', he thinks its 5 people.

  13. Professor Paul says

    I just left my office & came back in five times.But my boss won't pay me five salaries,which according to Iain Dale's stat projections,he should do.Life is so unfair.I just read the whole of the thread at Devil's Kitchen,I'm finding so many interesting places on the web!Nice use of the Monty Python there Tim.

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