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2008 Year-End Statistics

Before we roll into February, we should probably issue some year-end statistics for 2008.

It was a fun and exciting year, what with the presidential election and all, and traffic to WashingtonWatch.com grew at a healthy clip. We had just over 1.1 million unique visitors, and served them just over 2.1 million pages of information. That’s a growth rate of 100% in visitors, and about 70% in pageviews. (The difference between the two growth rates means we were less interesting in 2008 than 2007. We’ll work on that!)

These good growth rates compare unfavorably to the rates in 2007, when monthly visits grew by more than 350%, and the number of pages served grew by more than 400%. But it’s easy to get big growth numbers from a really small baseline, so . . .

In 2007, visitors to the site cast more than 50,000 votes on the bills pending in Congress, and they posted more than 11,000 comments. (Here’s our year-end release for 2007.) In 2008, that leapt to a whopping 205,000 votes and more than 19,000 comments. (It turns out we were only able to count total votes cast on the site from after August 2007, so the count from that year was artificially low. An annualized voting figure using data from the latter part of 2007 is about 160,000 votes.)

Now, that year-end release we just showed you? It was done in a clunky old “press release” format. No longer . . . . In July, we started a blog to “bring it all to life.”

Success? Who knows. But we delivered about 64,000 pageviews of the 247 posts on the blog in 2008, the most popular post being “Bailout Scandal: Undisclosed Sums Paid to NY Mellon Bank.” (OK, public: more scandal in 2009. These are the incentives the mainstream press lives with too . . . .)

Now, who are you people?

As in 2007, the largest population of visitors came through the big ISPs, but 15 of the top 100 networks bringing visitors to WashingtonWatch.com in 2008 were government networks, including the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, the Veterans Administration, the Department of Defense, USDA, the Department of State, and FEMA.

The biggest state for visitors was California with 121,000 or about 12% of the total. It’s a big state, but no more or less interested in policy than average. Twelve percent is almost exactly the proportion of California’s population to the national population.

Thirteen percent of visitors to WashingtonWatch.com were in the DC/VA/MD area, down slightly from 13.8% in 2007. These areas represent about 4.5% of the national population, so they’re visiting at more than triple the average rate. You’d expect that, of course, because national politics and most government agencies are centered in this area. In fact, about 5% of WashingtonWatch.com’s traffic in 2008 came from the District of Columbia, with just 0.19% of the national population.

You’d expect these percentages to drop as more and more ordinary Americans get involved in public policy through our site. The closer that number gets to the proportion of those states (and D.C.) to the national population, the better!

As always, somewhere around 100% of visitors to WashingtonWatch.com were interested and active in politics and public policy. Sorry to you visitors who came here looking for quilting info, or podiatry.

It’s the right thing to do, looking after the well-being of your country – along whatever dimension matters to you. Thanks for caring, and thanks for visiting.

Now, could you do us three favors?: Let us know how the site could improve; if you haven’t already, subscribe to our email newsletter and stay involved week over week; and spread the word about WashingtonWatch.com. We could stand to improve on our numbers in 2009!

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