This website is hosted by a service called Weeby. By and large, they do a very nice job, with a few slip-ups here and there. Last week, though, I noticed something strange on the Statistics page. A lot of this is long and convoluted -- and crammed with figures -- so I won't go into details, but just give you the reasonably short version.
It starts with seeing the number of "Unique Visits" to the site plummet. I mean like "Wile E. Coyote going over the cliff" plummet. But just as oddly, the number of "Page Views" skyrocketed. As in "Fourth of July is here early" skyrocketing.
(Unique visits are the number of individuals who come to a site during the day. If you come 50 times, you only counts as one. Page Views are simply the number of pages people read.)
I wrote to the Support Desk, and they said they'd discovered that Unique Views had been counted incorrectly for a long time, and corrected it. Page Views were unaffected, though. In a long series of exchanges -- all polite on both sides -- I basically expressed two things. 1) An executive from Weebly should have sent a note to subscribers explaining the problem, and 2) I thought that something was still screwed up, because not only were all the statistics acting bizarrely, but the law of averages weren't remotely working out in any rational way.
No, the guy insisted to me that things were fine. And I kept replying that that may be, but...man, it just looks screwy on my end. And in a long series of emails, I kept sending him samples of stats that just didn't add up. And I mean "didn't add up" almost literally.
(Just one example: their new statistics were telling me that -- on average -- every person coming to this site was looking at about 10 pages every day. That's just not how blogs work. People tend to read one page, see if there's a new post, and that's it, and go browse somewhere else. Sometimes, sure, there are people who don't come to a site every day, and check up on four days of material. But even that might only be two or three pages. And as the law of averages goes, for each person who only looks at one page a day, another person must look at 19 pages. Like most any writer, I think I do an okay writing here, but even I don't think there are people loony enough to read 19 pages of material. Every single day!)
I told my correspondent that I simply didn't believe that all was well and resolved. And he kept telling me, just as politely, that I was the only one commenting on this supposed anomaly. I said that it might be because the issue just happened and no one else had noticed it yet. Or no one wanted to write in about it, or everyone was figuring the numbers were right because that's what it showed. Or who knows what reason?
And that's where it was left. The Weebly Support Guy saying that they believed everything was right, and the Elisberg Industries Guy saying, geez, I don't know, this just looks all screwed up to me and I simply don't believe it.
Yesterday morning, I got the following note from my Weebly pal --
"Between yesterday and today, we've actually received reports from some other Weebly users who are reporting the exact same statistics issue. I've reached out to our developers to see if they can explain and/or fix the issue."
I wrote back to say: "I don’t know if I should be happy knowing that what I’ve been suggesting may be valid – or sorry to know that what I’ve been suggesting may be valid..."
(By the way, I was being very polite about this, rather than dancing around in circles shouting "Nyah, nyah, nyah, I told you so!!!" But I am certain that this is not a case of "may be valid" -- I am certain I'm right, The numbers are just too completely out of whack. And I didn't need other reports to confirm that to me. But other reports DO confirm that to me.)
Oh, and I also politely said that I can't believe that no executive from Weebly has still yet to write a note to subscribers explaining that there's a problem, which is borderline irresponsible. My use of the world "borderline" was being very polite, too. Because there is nothing remotely borderline about it.
I still have no idea what the resolution of all this will be, but I'm glad that they're now getting other reports, because it means they'll look into it and hopefully get things resolved.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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