Statsaholics Anonymous

For years I’ve known about my
addiction to site stats. Watching that trend line fluctuate, hoping for an
upward curve. Now I’m willing to step forward and come clean. I’m not alone with
this affliction; the world is covered with web
statsaholics. Alisa Bowman, Jason Jaeger and Geoffrey Golden being some of the brave souls to admit their problem.

It made me think, is search the new
crack cocaine? Could search’s success be largely thanks to the human race’s
inherent need to see a graph with growing trend lines that continuously look
better than they did the week before. Take the below week from one of my

Check out the peaks on that! They’re
growing and getting bigger. But wait, a week later and an influx of traffic from
a social network caused a mega spike:

Suddenly those peaky peaks seem
crappy and the mega peak is what I’m after in future. It’s a continual battle to
up your own game. Don’t even get me started on Ebay auctions.

Has anyone been able to go cold

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  • Hi Jack
    I went cold turkey when I realised that, in my case, it was totally counterproductive. People visiting my site from search engines were mostly coming in via completely unrelated keywords and bouncing immediately. While the easiest way to get a spike in traffic seems to start a flamewar or write a list. I’m now happy to check my stats once every so often to ensure that the nice upward trend is, generally, continuing.

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    Hi Jack,

    Stats are addictive reading by their very nature.
    However, like the man standing at the one-armed-bandit doing the same thing again and again and expecting a different result, it’s good to break off them from time to time and look for the opposite viewpoint. That way you get a more balanced empirical result of reality than a hoped-for outcome by spike fishing.