Star Tribune, City Pages web numbers

For those of us who keep score, a couple of new data points in the web “ratings” game.

Editor and Publisher, relying on its corporate sibling Nielsen Online, ranks startribune.com the 18th-biggest newspaper site in March, with 2.36 million unique visitors. That’s a 34 percent jump from a year earlier. 

Side note for the print-must-die crowd: E&P notes that the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, which abandoned its paper incarnation March 17, saw uniques fall 23 percent from a year earlier. Its still-in-print competitor, the Seattle Times, racked up a 70 percent gain.

Meanwhile, local alt-weekly City Pages, labeled by some a lagging web property, responded its first monthly report on page views: up about 10 percent from a year earlier, to 2.53 million. That roughly doubles MinnPost.com’s page views, by the way.

The rather breathy update from CP web editor Jen Boyles — who managed to get “whirlwind month” and “explosively growing” into her copy — says 40 percent of the growth is local, but the overall in-state/out-of-town mix is unclear. Boyles notes “news blogs” netted 385,000 views, led by the tale of a CNN anchor twice saying Northwest Airlines is “now serving penis.”

Your humble scribe, who is shy about whipping out such terms in print, can only envy such numbers, as Braublog racked up 140,000 March page views. 

Boyles also reports that CP’s food blog totalled 115,000 page views, and the music blog held steady at 180,000 page views. There’s no specific data for T.D. Mischke’s new webcasts, or CP’s slideshows, designed as page-view honeypots.

Given that web design can inflate page views (think the Strib’s annoyingly paginated stories), it would be good to have “unique visitors” numbers in April. (That’s the number critics were comparing.) Still, CP deserves praise for responding to the web chatter with data. Hopefully, the cycle of information openness will explosively grow.

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Comments (4)

  1. Submitted by Karen Cole on 04/21/2009 - 12:59 pm.

    I’ve noticed that in the last week or so the ads on the star tribune site are a lot more “aggressive.” It seems like if your mouse even comes close, the ad expands. And then the only way to get rid of it is to click on the web background (or wait what seems like forever.) I’ve wondered why they made this change — it’s so annoying that it seems like it would alienate readers from advertisers. Is it possible that the goal is to bump up page clicks? Since that’s the easiest way to make these ads shrink out of the way.

  2. Submitted by Mark Gisleson on 04/21/2009 - 04:18 pm.

    Admittedly 12,000+ daily readers for City Pages doesn’t sound like a lot and it isn’t. But take a look at the “news” City Pages claims is drawing that traffic and suddenly that seems like a huge number. There simply isn’t that big a market for news that’s almost entirely rehashes of other publications’ stories. Especially not with CP’s quota-driven news process that insists on X number of daily posts regardless of how newsy a day it was.

    I’ve been having a phony traffic spike lately. I’d love to take credit for it but the stats show me that I’m getting 50 uniques a day who got to my blog by searching for the word “symbol.” For me that traffic doesn’t count because it isn’t measuring readers, just wrong turns on the internet.

    CP’s numbers are inflated because, as Ed Kohler has documented, they play games to inflate their traffic. Google won’t respond to a query as to whether or not CP is being punished with their new pagerank of 4, but I think it’s pretty obvious that’s the case.

  3. Submitted by rachel sheridan on 04/21/2009 - 05:00 pm.

    Partial to the print version myself, but I can believe how many people the Strib reaches each day online! So much for no one reading the newspaper anymore.

    I didn’t even know City Pages had a website of any consequence. I am partial to the Stribs for news and WCCO’s for the weather.

  4. Submitted by Stephanie Dickrell on 04/22/2009 - 12:16 pm.

    Just curious if anything about time spent per site was released…anyone can click through but are they actually reading anything?

    I wish I had the hard numbers, but the Strib does pretty well for its size in this category.

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