February 28, 2006

Slate's Bogus Readership Numbers

In self-serving news, Slate claims it has more than 4 million readers, here http://www.slate.com/id/2136936/. Its nonsense.

As the article admits, Slate can only count two things, page views and unique browsers. And WOTSies, as you surely know, unique browser hits and “readers” are not nearly the same thing. Think of unique browser hits like a person walking through the magazine rack of a local book store and eyeballing the particular magazine. Think of a reader as someone who opens the magazine and reviews some of the articles (one who regularly does so would be even more accurate). Slate has no way to know who fits into the latter category, because “readership” cannot be measured absent some form of sign in access (which is why many print media require it online). In Slate’s case, Slate really can’t equate readership with unique browser hits because of The Fray, where probably thousands of users venture without ever “reading” Slate’s content. If WOTS were to guess how many people regularly read a majority of Slate’s articles each week, WOTS would collectively guess (excluding Percy’s “just us” guess from the average) less than 20,000.

Besides, why read Slate when you can cuddle up with WOTS?

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