I just received the following email from a loyal reader in the Bay Area complaining about the manner in which Google Analytics counts readers:
I write in the spirit of the age-old outraged reader–though my particular complaint concerns a decidedly 21st century consideration. . . .
I will confess that I don’t know precisely what tool you’ve used to generate the data you recently reported concerning the geography of Lawfare‘s readership. But whatever it was, I strongly suspect that what it actually counted was not "people who read the stories posted to Lawfare," but instead, "people who read the stories posted to Lawfare by the embarrassingly archaic mechanism of actually going to the Lawfare website, rather than doing what any minimally technology-savvy person with a moderately busy schedule does, which is read blog posts via an RSS feed." Using the metric that I’m guessing you employed, it is of course no surprise that the technophobic NY-DC-Alexandria Axis of Inertia came out on top. Those of us in San Francisco who read Lawfare content would be mortified to find that our region boasted anything more than a negligible audience of technologically backward Lawfare fans who are so unburdened by other obligations, or digitally inept, or both, that they actually take the time to visit a third-party website to digest its posts. Going to a blog’s internet address to read its content? So 2009.
My correspondent is, in fact, correct. According to Google Analytics itself:
So yes, if you are part of the giant wave of San Franciscans who are reading Lawfare over RSS feeds, you are not being counted. Maybe that’s why San Francisco placed a pathetic eighth—with barely one percent of Lawfare readership.
That’s only slightly ahead of tiny Dunn Loring. Really.