Bits and Pieces

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

A Statistical Analysis of Instapundit, or, Where's My F*cking Instalanche, Reynolds?

I've been looking at the link patterns of Instapundit in the past few days. I counted every link given from the start of April until around 5pm GMT today, April 6th - a total of 192 links.

To begin, I'm well aware that Instapundit isn't a king-maker. An Instalanche won't suddenly rocket you to the top of the blogosphere overnight, and you won't suddenly find crazy blog advertising money pour into your bank account. However, a sudden rush of readers, however fleeting, is always nice. The biggest rush I've ever had was about 3,000 in a few hours from IMAO. Mmmmm... readers.

Now I'll contradict myself. A link from Instapundit can be huge. Since many thousands of readers use Instapundit as a sort of blogosphere base camp, almost 100% of an Instalanche is made up of fresh readers unfamiliar with your site. There is the potential there to impress a few of these readers enough to keep coming back. Write a few good posts during an Instalanche and you can hook dozens of new regular readers - some of whom will go straight back to their own sites and link to you.

Anyway. What brought this on is that I noticed that Austin Bay Blog seems to have been getting an awful lot of attention in the past few weeks, and I wanted to take a look at the diversity of his links.

Of the 192 links so far in April, 92 have been repeated at least once. Bearing in mind the brevity of the sample set, the fact that almost 48% of Glenn's attention (and traffic) goes to the same 29 sites in just 6 days tells us a lot about the site's diversity.

Based on Instapundit's SiteMeter data, an average of 156,920 readers visit Instapundit in each 24-hour period. All things being equal (ignoring the fact that name recognition may drive more people towards any given link) this means that a single link from Instapundit during the past 6 days (discounting the expected lull in weekend traffic) equals 4,903 visitors. This means that just 29 sites shared 451,076 visitors, while the balance was spread over the 100 remaining individual sites.

And so, Instapundit suddenly becomes even less accessible for the aspiring blogger than before. While at first glance it may seem to be a hugely generous link farm, distributing thousands of readers around the less travelled avenues of the blogosphere every day, it appears that the site is in fact a much more closed system.

Not that I blame the guy. If I was asked to write dozens of posts a day, each requiring me to seek out quality posts to link - even with the promise of Blogad revenues and other benefits - the answer would be 'thanks, but no thanks'. The fact that Glenn has kept it up for several years, including holidays, shows just how dedicated the guy is.

What I'd like to see, though, is a similar analysis on a month-by-month basis since Instapundit's inception, to see if the linking policy has always been this limited or whether I'm just bitter about never getting a link.


Instapundit Links 01-06 April 2005

2 links
Daily Pundit
Tech Central Station
Hugh Hewitt
My Aisling
Small Dead Animals
Winds of Change
Washington Times
Q and O
Spirit of America
The Volokh Conspiracy
The Belmont Club
Inside Higher Ed
New York Times
Democracy Arsenal

3 links
US News
Chris Nolan
Opinion Journal

4 links
Publius Pundit
Roger L Simon

5 links
Trey Jackson
Austin Bay

6 links
National Review
Ann Althouse
Captain's Quarters

10 links


Dean Esmay, with almost supernatural timing, argues against the insular nature of blogs - also mentioning Instapundit. Meanwhile, Simon argues for it.

'Nother Update

I think the important point to note here, as Dean and others note in the comments, is that there's nothing at all wrong with the fact that Glenn goes through spates of linking a particular site heavily for a while. Moreover it would be churlish of me to bemoan the fact. Looking at my own reading habits it's clear that I fall into the same habit. In the two years I've been blogging my only two religiously daily reads have been Dean's World and Wizbang, with several others falling in and out of favour on a seemingly random basis. Recently I've been spending a good amount of time at Basil's blog, and most of my day in and out of Itsapundit.

For about 18 months between 2003 and 2004 James Joyner's Outside the Beltway was my first daily port of call, but in the past year it's been relegated to a weekly visit - and no, there isn't a good reason for that. James and his co-bloggers still do a great job, but its just one of those things.

'Nother Update

On a semi-related subject, I'm amazed at the speeds of Glenn's email responses. These past two weeks I've notified him of the posting of Tim Worstall's Britblog Roundup, and within two or three minutes he's linked it. Considering the number of emails he must get every day that's pretty remarkable. Yakes me the best part of a day to reply to an email, and I only get abot 5 or 6 related to the site each day.
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