Life in Hollywood, below-the-line

Life in Hollywood, below-the-line
Work gloves at the end of the 2006/2007 television season (photo by Richard Blair)

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Hell-o Broooooomfield....

Uh, Sarah – is that you?

According to my Google Analytics tracking software, Colorado recently came out of nowhere to take over second place as the state contributing the most visitors to this blog. In the past month, a hundred and sixty-two hits came from the Centennial State. This seems rather odd. Film and television production has been going on in Colorado for a long time (including a series of Perry Mason TV movies back in the 80’s), but I'm not aware of any recent surge in production that might account for a heightened interest in Industry blogs, nor had I noticed more than a handful of (very) occasional hits from Colorado up until now. Very early on in this blog, New York supplanted Texas in supplying the most readers (after my native state), but Colorado has suddenly driven New York into a distant third.

As for Texas, maybe my tales of Hollywood life just weren’t tall enough for the hardy denizens of the Lone Star State. Truth may occasionally turn out stranger than fiction, but it’s not always so entertaining.

This being but a flyspeck on the dark side of a distant moon circling a small planet lost in the far reaches of a minor star cluster amid the vast enormity of cyberspace, we’re not talking big numbers. The three-to-five hits/day I started out with back in 2007 has since grown tenfold, but many (most, I suspect) are semi-regulars who keep coming back for more. In absolute terms, I doubt more than a hundred or so people stop by every month, with the occasional newbie balancing out those who’ve grown bored with my constant bleating about the sorry state of the Industry in general, and Hollywood in particular.

Sorry about that folks, but Tinsel Town isn’t all sunshine and rainbows these days.

Puzzled by Colorado’s sudden prominence on the chart, I took a closer look at the Google numbers. Five hits came from Denver, but those people skipped away like flat stones hurled upon calm water, spending exactly zero seconds checking it out. Littleton was next with four visits at an average of forty seconds viewing time. Then came Ft. Collins, also with four visits – but these averaged a full four minutes and thirty-four seconds/visit.

My first thought? Ft. Collins – dudes, you rock!

Then came Parker and Golden (home of Coors beer, according to all those endlessly glowing slo-mo commercials on TV), who combined for another four visits. But they hated it too (zero seconds logged), instantly jumping back through the wormhole of cyber-space to greener Internet pastures.

The mother lode turned out to be Broomfield, a suburb of Denver boasting 45,116 upstanding citizens (as of 2006, according to Wikipedia) -- a hundred and forty-five of whom danced upon this blog in the past month, where they viewed 1.02 pages during visits that averaged ten seconds.

Ten seconds per visit – what the hell did THAT mean? What happened in Broomfield to bring this about – did a kitten wander across a computer keyboard out there? Were bored ADD-afflicted kids careening through cyberspace on a desperate quest for something – anything – different, or had some slave-bot malware galvanized computers in Broomfield to march in lock-step across the wide open spaces of the Internet on a quest for.... what?

Damned if I know. Baffled by these numbers, I checked the “bounce rate” – meaning the percentage of viewers who immediately bounced away rather than stay on the blog for any length of time. Here, the mystery deepened. Denver, Parker and Golden came up with a 100% bounce rate – all of those viewers were just passing through, windows rolled up, eyes fixed on the road ahead, and the cyber-pedal firmly planted to the metal. Littleton came through with a 75% bounce rate, which means three of those four viewers hit-and-ran, leaving one who stayed long enough to spend 40 seconds looking at 1.25 pages.

Ft. Collins – my erstwhile heroes – came up with the same bounce rate (and the same conclusion), except that one actual reader – God bless him/her -- spent four and a half minutes reading those same 1.25 pages.

Broomfield, however, came up with a 97.93% bounce rate. If my math is correct, that boils down to three readers of the original one-forty-five – three people who stayed for ten whole seconds...

Assuming my analysis is correct (dubious, that...), what first appeared to be a veritable tsunami of new readers turned out to be five individuals scattered through the great state of Colorado, who spent a grand total of five and a half minutes on the blog.

Then again, I flunked statistics way back when, and have no fondness for any form of numbers-based accounting. There's a reason economics (largely a study of numbers) is called “the dismal science.”

True, I have a cousin living somewhere up there in Colorado’s suburban high country, but she’s known about this blog for a long time, and never seemed particularly intrigued -- nor should she, being that she doesn’t toil in any aspect of the Industry. There’s no reason I can think of why she would start clicking my blog URL like a spastic on meth.

I suppose this will remain my own very minor mystery unless and until one of you three Broomfieldians out there chooses to enlighten me. So please, do tell.

Meanwhile, a big shout-out to Ft. Collins, for that one reader in the great state of Colorado who’s actually paying attention...


Alex said...

Indiana doesn't have much of a film scene, but that just makes reading about a "real" industry location more interesting. Granted, nearly any place is more interesting than Indiana....

Any idea of Google tracks the number of people that read your site through an RSS Reader?

I'd suspect that's far harder to track.

Michael Taylor said...

Alex --

I don't see anything on the Google Analytics page relating to RSS feeds, but my ignorance of the digital world is profound. How they track any of this stuff is a mystery to me, nor do I know enough to have any real faith in the numbers.

Scott said...

What about countries? How many different countries do your readers come from? I know you have at least one in Australia.

BrigittaV said...

How about Wisconsin? It's second only to Indiana with respect to the "boring" factor, so it's fun to read about what other people do for a living, and what their trials and tribulations are. It kinda puts my own into some perspective.

Unknown said...

Woo! New Zealand!

Nathan said...

Two things Michael...

1.)Take heart. If someone comes to your blog and they either don't click to somewhere else within your blog or don't exit the blog by clicking one of your links, they show up as a "Zero seconds" visitor. Google (and the other trackers) have no way of knowing how long they were there unless the next action takes place within your blog. So the truth is that they may have said, "Ow! MY EYES!" and clicked their back button as soon as humanly possible or they may have been engrossed in your front page for 12 hours straight. There's just no way to know. (I find that delusions of grandeur come in handy with these.)

2.) I'm sure more than one person lives in Parker, CO, but one of my friends (and regulars) lives there. I'm totally taking credit for all of you hits from Parker.

You're welcome.


Michael Taylor said...

Scott --

The list varies from month to month, but although international participation has been a bit down lately, here's Google's list of countries tapping in to this blog over the past month -- in order of readership:

United States
United Kingdom
New Zealand

Wolferiver --

Wisconsin is right in the middle of the pack, as you can see:

1. California
2. Colorado
3. New York
4. Pennsylvania
5. Illinois
6. Washington
7. Maryland
8. Texas
9. Tennessee
10. Virginia
11. Massachusetts
12. Florida
13. New Mexico
14. Georgia
15. Connecticut
16. Minnesota
17. North Carolina
18. Missouri
19. Michigan
20. Wisconsin
21. New Jersey
22. Idaho
23. Ohio
24. Oregon
25. Arizona
26. District of Columbia
27. Nevada
28. Indiana
29. Hawaii
30. Kansas
31.(not set)
32. Kentucky
33. Rhode Island
34. Utah
35. Wyoming
36. Alabama
37. Alaska

And no, I have no clue what #31 "not set" means... Remember, "boring" isn't all bad if you recall the old addage about "being cursed to live in interesting times." Earthquakes are extremely interesting, but believe me, you don't want to go through one. Via the internet, you can be in Hollywood without suffering the collateral damage of actually having to live here.

Marc -- New Zealand? Woo! indeed. Nice to hear from you.

Nathan -- thanks for clearing the digital fog, and for that one reader in Parker.

There are a lot of you out there (clearly this will have to be the subject of a future post...), and I very much appreciate all of you tuning in.


Joe Movick said...

...and Hell-o Hollywood.

As a current resident of Broomfield, I was hoping to fly in on a magic carpet of answers, explanations and free candy, but I am afraid all I can do is add to the speculation. And unless I spend my nights sleepwalking around the state with my laptop repeatedly refreshing this page, I do not believe I am the sole perpetrator.

I think you all might be onto something with the whole RSS feed thing, but RSS could mean RealSassyStatistics by all I know. I do know with the new apple browser: If your website is a recent visit of mine it will update a small icon on my home page every time I open up a browser window. Be this some RSS feed magic?

I have a couple huts out here in the cyberspace badlands and have given up trying to decipher the coded language of the google. Hits vs Visits vs Page Views? I dunno... All I know is some kid in Uganda is really diggin my website - the internet is so cool!

Needless to say, I stumbled upon this blog about six months ago and have really appreciated the smart insight and quick stories, but felt stupid writing a whole comment with nothing to say but "alright, yeah! good job..." So thanks for writing a whole post to weed me out!

I'll try to respond to more posts now that I'm out of the cave - and by the way, while we're at it, I'm totally taking credit for that reader in parker!

The Grip Works said...

Hi Michael,
I find it fascinating that you can track who enters and leaves you blog and what they read. Marvels of modern technology. I have always found reading your blog fascinating. Firstly for the great insight into the workings of TV production in America and how different and yet similar it is to us here in India. And secondly for your great writing!
I read every post, but write in only occasionally, because I dont have a lot to say about the subject matter.
It is always entertaining though !
Thank you.

Sanjay Sami

Michael Taylor said...

Joe --

Thanks for solving at least one of the many mysteries of Broomfield, but I guess you and Nathan will have to slug it out for credit on that reader in Parker, whoever he/she might be.

I checked out your blog, and will definitely go back for more. Interesting stuff, and very well written.

Sanjay -- always good to hear from you. I once worked on a Bollywood production that came here to LA, and am (slowly) writing a post on that unique adventure. Thanks for tuning in.

manoj said...

hey... that's nice blog... it remembers me of my school days.. thanks.... hope u'll keep doin it...!!!!
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