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The Colombian connection

Conspiracy theorists like to make things out of connections. I must not be one because I found a connection, but I don’t know what to make out of it.

The web site Alexa.com computes statistics about web site traffic. They do this through a sampling process involving people who install their tool bar. Today I was looking up stats on this web site and that of Mario Apuzzo, and just for grins I looked up Orly Taitz’s site (that historically does just a little bit better than this site at Alexa) The analysis had this curious entry:

Orlytaitzesq.com is ranked #251,665 in the world according to the three-month Alexa traffic rankings. Compared with internet averages, the site appeals more to users who are over the age of 45; its visitors also tend to consist of high-income, childless men browsing from home who have attended college. The site is relatively popular among users in the city of Orlando (where it is ranked #2,578). While we estimate that 63% of Orlytaitzesq.com’s visitors are in the US, where it is ranked #68,859, it is also popular in Colombia, where it is ranked #4,448. The site has a bounce rate of about 84% (i.e., 84% of visits consist of only one pageview)

Here are the 3-month rankings for some of the birther blogs (best ranking first):

image

Obama Conspiracy Theories  (at 72,173) ranks a little behind Orly Taitz (at 68,859) in the rankings. I have always thought that Alexa statistics are significantly biased by the the demographics of who would install a toolbar and who would not.

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44 Responses to The Colombian connection

  1. avatar
    Northland10 July 28, 2012 at 5:20 pm #

    Referring back to “We Win” artcle

    Dr. Conspiracy: Obamaconspiracy.org’s three-month global Alexa traffic rank is 424,156. It is relatively popular among users in the cities of Dallas-Fort Worth (where it is ranked #7,804) and Chicago (#19,032).

    Northland10: Just doing my part to help…

    I suppose, in fairness, I should mention.. I am not helping since I do not have the toolbar.

  2. avatar
    JPotter July 28, 2012 at 5:33 pm #

    Orly’s site is very repulsive, but 84% is higher than I would have guessed. But after some thought, it seems low. Tons of people pop in occasionally just to see what today’s rant is, and that’s on page 1. The site design / structure / coding is horrendous, new visitors probably can’t figure out how to get past page 1!

    I agree, Alexa is tracking … um … a certain kind of user. But it’s a great stat if you’re targeting a … ahhh … certain kind of user.

    Confirmation of her demographics is just sad. Interesting, tho, and thanks.

  3. avatar
    Andrew Vrba, PmG July 28, 2012 at 6:11 pm #

    JPotter:
    Orly’s site is very repulsive

    It really is, in both appearance and content.
    It looks like a 1990s Geocities page, full of hate speech.

  4. avatar
    Thinker July 28, 2012 at 6:16 pm #

    I wonder if the birfer spectragator reaches Orly’s site through a proxy server in Colombia. If this is the way it works, then every time the spectragator queries her site, it would register as a web hit from Colombia. Just a thought…

  5. avatar
    donna July 28, 2012 at 6:48 pm #

    have you ever looked at quantcast?

    i just put in your site

    http://www.quantcast.com/search?q=obamaconspiracy

    i used to look at quantcast to check out glenn beck’s demographic fox

    http://www.quantcast.com/glennbeck.com

    if you scroll down, there are others under: Audience Also Likes

  6. avatar
    bgansel9 July 28, 2012 at 6:52 pm #

    I don’t need no stinking toolbar. :P

  7. avatar
    Rickey July 28, 2012 at 7:03 pm #

    It would be interesting to know if any of the regulars here use the Alexa toolbar. I don’t.

  8. avatar
    JPotter July 28, 2012 at 8:21 pm #

    Andrew Vrba, PmG: It really is, in both appearance and content.
    It looks like a 1990s Geocities page, full of hate speech.

    Now, now, Orly isn’t that outdated … Geocities wasn’t nearly sophisticated enough to support that level of dysfunction!

    ______________

    No, no toolbars here, Rickey, tho that thought did pop an idea in my head …. install a new browser, make if primary “just for now” and cruise web loading up on every toolbar I can find, just to see how screwed up a browser can get! Could make for some awesome screenshots …

    …. maybe I’ll try this on someone else’s ‘puter! ;)

  9. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy July 28, 2012 at 10:38 pm #

    Alexa is not measuring where a site’s hits come from. It measures what web browsers with its plug-in access. The aggregator wouldn’t be running a browser at all. Alexa would see the aggregator site from the user’s browser.

    Thinker: I wonder if the birfer spectragator reaches Orly’s site through a proxy server in Colombia. If this is the way it works, then every time the spectragator queries her site, it would register as a web hit from Colombia

  10. avatar
    Andrew Vrba, PmG July 28, 2012 at 10:49 pm #

    JPotter: Now, now, Orly isn’t that outdated … Geocities wasn’t nearly sophisticated enough to support that level of dysfunction!

    ______________

    No, no toolbars here, Rickey, tho that thought did pop an idea in my head …. install a new browser, make if primary “just for now” and cruise web loading up on every toolbar I can find, just to see how screwed up a browser can get! Could make for some awesome screenshots …

    …. maybe I’ll try this on someone else’s ‘puter!

    Well I was meaning it looked like a Geocities page in that it looks like a teenager in 1994 made it.

  11. avatar
    Slartibartfast July 29, 2012 at 2:03 am #

    Doc,

    I’ve been keeping an eye on the P&E’s Alexa ranking since they put up the pay wall. When I first started paying attention they had a 6 month high (a single brief peak in October) of just above 80,000 (worldwide-I don’t remember the US rank) and a current 3 month ranking of ~125K. After the change Rondeau’s ranking plummeted, eventually stabilizing in the 700K-800K range. I find it hilarious that she’s still light-years ahead of Mario.

  12. avatar
    G July 29, 2012 at 3:18 am #

    ROTFL! ;)

    Slartibartfast:
    Doc,

    I’ve been keeping an eye on the P&E’s Alexa ranking since they put up the pay wall.When I first started paying attention they had a 6 month high (a single brief peak in October) of just above 80,000 (worldwide-I don’t remember the US rank) and a current 3 month ranking of ~125K.After the change Rondeau’s ranking plummeted, eventually stabilizing in the 700K-800K range.I find it hilarious that she’s still light-years ahead of Mario.

  13. avatar
    Great Kim July 29, 2012 at 7:10 am #

    Doc, please look into your “colombia” finding

    many US companies have registered with the internet suffix “.co”. Which is actually Colombia but is used to emulate a non existing “company” suffix

    In Colombia nobody cares about Orly. The .co addresses you are seeing are US sites

  14. avatar
    Great Kim July 29, 2012 at 7:13 am #

    here is all you need to know about the abuse of the .co suffix
    http://www.usatoday.com/tech/news/2011-01-16-godaddy-domain_N.htm

    “Before its July launch, the .co domain was restricted for use by the Colombian government, much like the United States has the “.us” domain, Wardi said.

    The decision to expand the domain name for public use last year follows the example of other country-code names that have become more popular in the mainstream, such as Tuvalu’s “.tv” and Montenegro’s “.me.”

  15. avatar
    Thrifty July 29, 2012 at 7:51 am #

    JPotter: Orly’s site is very repulsive, but 84% is higher than I would have guessed. But after some thought, it seems low. Tons of people pop in occasionally just to see what today’s rant is, and that’s on page 1. The site design / structure / coding is horrendous, new visitors probably can’t figure out how to get past page 1!

    Yeah I pop in from time to time to see what she’s up to. I sometimes check the comments sections too. I saw one comment where a Birther fan of hers was saying “Orly, none of your links at the top of articles go anywhere! They just link back to the same article I’m already reading.” Orly’s response was “You have to double-click the link. I’ve explained this hundreds of times.”

    >.>

    I don’t think I’ve once heard of a hyperlink you had to double click. I even tried as Orly suggested, and it did the exact same thing as the conventional single click.

    Is this woman competent at ANYTHING?

  16. avatar
    JPotter July 29, 2012 at 9:11 am #

    Thrifty: Is this woman competent at ANYTHING?

    When it comes to ignoring feedback, she’s unparalleled. Probably more passively oblivious rather than actively ignoring. No indication that she has any capacity for getting outside her own headspace.

  17. avatar
    ASK Esq July 29, 2012 at 10:01 am #

    Ah-ha! Orly’s site is listed as being popular in Columbia, and many birthers doubt that President Obama actually attended Columbia.

    This means something. I just know it.

  18. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy July 29, 2012 at 4:13 pm #

    I remember the time when a web site was one page, some extremely long. There was this one site, that was billed as the world’s worst site. I think it’s gone now. It had purple text on black, and images that were too big, and some of the text blinked. All sorts of broken things. Back in the days of dial up, it had a link described something like “here is a 48 MB movie of the kids in the back yard.”

    The current “World’s Worst Web Site” isn’t a fraction as bad.

    http://www.angelfire.com/super/badwebs/

    Andrew Vrba, PmG: It looks like a 1990s Geocities page,

  19. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy July 29, 2012 at 4:28 pm #

    This is a conceptual problem working with WordPress.

    When you finish uploading a file to a WordPress blog, a dialog is presented with a nice hyperlink to the file just uploaded. This is what one should use link to it in an article.

    The WordPress admin page that lists all the files available has a little link for each file called “view” and this will bring up a blog page with the image embedded in it; or a blog page with a hyperlink, if the file is a document. This or something like this is what Orly does. and so creates extra work for her visitors.

    So, for example, I can use this hyperlink, and WordPress will create a page with just a hyperlink on it (like Orly’s site)

    http://www.obamaconspiracy.org/2011/07/wnd-document-expert-says-not-quite-accurate/zatkovich-obama-pdf-report-final/

    or I can use this hyperlink that goes directly to the document:

    http://www.obamaconspiracy.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/Zatkovich-Obama-PDF-report-final.pdf

    What Orly does is annoying to some (like me who know what’s happening) and confusing to others who get a page that looks like where they came from sometimes. There’s no excuse for it being the way it is.

    I personally recommend for most users not to use the WordPress editing tools, but get something else like Microsoft Live Writer which is free for Windows users, much faster, easier to use, and can compose offline.

    Thrifty: They just link back to the same article I’m already reading.” Orly’s response was “You have to double-click the link. I’ve explained this hundreds of times.”

  20. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy July 29, 2012 at 4:33 pm #

    I don’t see how this has any bearing. Alexa toolbar users provide demographic information about themselves, and when they go to a web site, Alexa knows who they are and where they have gone. It has nothing to do with domain registration.

    In a month where I get 50,000 visits from US browsers, I get 5 from Columbia (same as Ecuador, Greece, Bangladesh, Argentina, Dominican Republic and Uganda).

    BTW, that’s not “my” finding. That text was generated by Alexa: it’s their finding.

    Great Kim: Doc, please look into your “colombia” finding

  21. avatar
    bgansel9 July 29, 2012 at 4:53 pm #

    Great Kim: The decision to expand the domain name for public use last year follows the example of other country-code names that have become more popular in the mainstream, such as Tuvalu’s “.tv”

    I was watching the opening ceremonies of the Olympics the other night and they mentioned that Tuvalu was given the ‘tv’ suffix and they sold it for like several million dollars which significantly helped the financing of their country. I can’t verify that, it’s just what I heard.

  22. avatar
    y_p_w July 29, 2012 at 5:01 pm #

    bgansel9: I was watching the opening ceremonies of the Olympics the other night and they mentioned that Tuvalu was given the ‘tv’ suffix and they sold it for like several million dollars which significantly helped the financing of their country. I can’t verify that, it’s just what I heard.

    Absolutely true to some degree. I don’t think they “sold it” outright, but rather partnered with a company to market it as a “cool” domain suffix for companies to use instead of .com.

    I remember hearing radio ads trying to sell people on the .tv domain names. The pitch was that it would paint a website as providing rich content that was “more TV like”.

    http://www.salon.com/2000/07/24/dot_tv/
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/.tv

  23. avatar
    JPotter July 29, 2012 at 8:32 pm #

    y_p_w: I remember hearing radio ads trying to sell people on the .tv domain names. The pitch was that it would paint a website as providing rich content that was “more TV like”.

    Radio ads … pitching net domains … to be more TV like???

    That’s one tortured media philoophy!

    Whatever happened to “.biz”? Too dorky? Too blatant?

  24. avatar
    y_p_w July 29, 2012 at 8:43 pm #

    JPotter: Radio ads … pitching net domains … to be more TV like???

    That’s one tortured media philoophy!

    Whatever happened to “.biz”? Too dorky? Too blatant?

    I hear radio ads for TV programs often. I suppose it creates some sort of conflict if the radio station would prefer that people listen as much as possible. For that matter, what about movie ads between TV programs?

    As for .tv, there are quite a few streaming content providers who use it. I think one of the better known ones is Justin.tv.

  25. avatar
    justlw July 29, 2012 at 8:49 pm #

    I saw a plumbing company truck the other day with signage that prominently featured both a .com URL and a .tv URL. I didn’t bother to check whether they routed to the same site. If so, it seems like a waste of domain registration fees to me. If not, it seems like a lot of extra work to maintain two web sites.

  26. avatar
    y_p_w July 29, 2012 at 9:07 pm #

    justlw:
    I saw a plumbing company truck the other day with signage that prominently featured both a .com URL and a .tv URL. I didn’t bother to check whether they routed to the same site.If so, it seems like a waste of domain registration fees to me.If not, it seems like a lot of extra work to maintain two web sites.

    Not necessarily, unless the owner really wants to make things difficult. One domain name could easily be mirrored to reflect the main site or possible simply redirect.

    I remember there was a particular case with UCLA. They had of course properly registered the ucla.edu domain name. However, they hadn’t thought of others, and there was a ucla.com domain name that was registered by a cybersquatter with a “for sale” message. After UCLA sent a cease and desist letter, it quickly became attached to an “adult” website. I don’t recall exactly how they got it back, but I’m thinking attorneys were involved. Now if you go to ucla.com, it redirects to the main website.

  27. avatar
    JPotter July 29, 2012 at 9:11 pm #

    y_p_w: I hear radio ads for TV programs often. I suppose it creates some sort of conflict if the radio station would prefer that people listen as much as possible. For that matter, what about movie ads between TV programs?

    You’ve got to get the word out however you can …. often the advertisee, advertiser, and what’s advertised are ultimately the same corporate family. Cross-promotions figure in too. And audience affinities are a must. So hearing about one media on another media is common.

    What struck me about your anecdote was advertising one media on another while referencing a third. That’s odd!

  28. avatar
    JPotter July 29, 2012 at 9:19 pm #

    justlw: If so, it seems like a waste of domain registration fees to me. If not, it seems like a lot of extra work to maintain two web sites.

    Not at all, it’s an essential brand-protection strategy. The bigger the web presence, the more variations they are likely to have locked up … .com, .net, .biz, etc, etc, along with all common misspellings.

    It may seem extreme for a local small business to employ the practice, but it isn’t at all. All it takes is one unfortunate association to lead to unnecessary and unwanted attention and questions.

    Do you remember the old whitehouse.com? Now it’s a generic redirect site ….. it didn’t used to be!

    All that said, listing 2 separate URLs is message dilution. All advertising should be as concise as possible. Roadway ads triply so. I’m sure they probably(!) had a good reason to do so.

  29. avatar
    justlw July 29, 2012 at 9:41 pm #

    JPotter: Do you remember the old whitehouse.com? Now it’s a generic redirect site ….. it didn’t used to be!

    I do remember that. Also, whitehouse.org was a pretty decently done parody site.

  30. avatar
    justlw July 29, 2012 at 10:04 pm #

    So yes, good points on domain coverage, JPotter and y_p_w .

    Which reminds me of a pre-Web example. Back in the early days of telco deregulation AT&T heavily advertised 1-800-OPERATOR as their long distance gateway.

    One of their competitors (MCI?) quickly grabbed 1-800-OPERATER, and cashed in on a significant chunk of their business.

  31. avatar
    y_p_w July 30, 2012 at 1:16 am #

    justlw:
    So yes, good points on domain coverage, JPotter and y_p_w .

    Which reminds me of a pre-Web example. Back in the early days of telco deregulation AT&T heavily advertised 1-800-OPERATOR as their long distance gateway.

    One of their competitors (MCI?) quickly grabbed 1-800-OPERATER, and cashed in on a significant chunk of their business.

    There’s a whole industry based on squatters grabbing domain names that are typos of high-traffic websites, and JPotter alluded to the fact that many companies have already locked up common misspellings. Google has already done that. I personally tried the following, which all redirected to the main http://www.google.com website:

    gogle.com
    gooogle.com
    ggoogle.com
    googlee.com
    google.us
    google.tv

    I was thinking maybe other domain names, but google.org just leads to Google’s philanthropic giving website.

  32. avatar
    Great Kim July 30, 2012 at 2:44 am #

    Doc,

    All you have to do to verify that those visits are not from Colombia is perform a generic search for the .co domain suffix. The overwhelming number of these domains is domestic US, and many are political sites. So I stand by my view that attributing the domains “.co” to Colombia is a mistake

  33. avatar
    Keith July 30, 2012 at 3:15 am #

    Great Kim:
    Doc,

    All you have to do to verify that those visits are not from Colombia is perform a generic search for the .co domain suffix. The overwhelming number of these domains is domestic US, and many are political sites. So I stand by my view that attributing the domains “.co” to Colombia is a mistake

    Correct. Domain names, with whatever suffix, can be hosted in any country. I have several ‘.com’ domains (without any ‘national’ suffix) that are ‘theoretically’ American (does the suffix .us actually exist, I’ll have to look it up… later), but is in practice universal. Some of my domains are hosted in Australa, some in Canada. And I manage them from Australia, regardless.

    Any domain name is just a human understandable alias for the IP address, an index.

  34. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy July 30, 2012 at 7:43 am #

    Yes.

    Keith: does the suffix .us actually exist

  35. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy July 30, 2012 at 7:52 am #

    Web traffic location is determined by IP address, not domain. Domain has nothing whatever to do with web traffic statistics for a site.

    Great Kim: All you have to do to verify that those visits are not from Colombia is perform a generic search for the .co domain suffix. The overwhelming number of these domains is domestic US, and many are political sites. So I stand by my view that attributing the domains “.co” to Colombia is a mistake

  36. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy July 30, 2012 at 7:55 am #

    I’ve been trying to get obamaconspiracy.com since the start, unsuccessfully. It used be a birther site with one comment, Now it’s a domain squatter.

    JPotter: All that said, listing 2 separate URLs is message dilution. All advertising should be as concise as possible. Roadway ads triply so. I’m sure they probably(!) had a good reason to do so.

  37. avatar
    JPotter July 30, 2012 at 8:41 am #

    Keith: (does the suffix .us actually exist, I’ll have to look it up… later)

    Yes, but is little used. ‘.com’ took on such popular resonance, that the extensions (at least in America), other than ‘.gov’, often aren’t used as intended. ‘.com’ is the default, regardless of the site’s purpose. If you’re running a ‘.org’, better get the ‘.com’ and ‘.net’ if you can.

  38. avatar
    justlw July 30, 2012 at 9:50 am #

    JPotter: JPotter July 30, 2012 at 8:41 am (Quote) #

    Keith: (does the suffix .us actually exist, I’ll have to look it up… later)

    Yes, but is little used.

    For some value of “little.” It’s certainly nowhere near as popular as “.com,” but it’s used, for example, by California public schools (…k12.ca.us). (It also happens to be the TLD for my family’s personal email addresses, not that that swings the stats over very far.)

    But that doesn’t negate your main point, that .com is overwhelmingly the first choice. Oh, and .edu for universities — dating from the early days when it probably rivaled .com for most common TLD.

    Back in the early days, anyone with a domain other than .com or .edu usually went to great lengths to clarify what their “peculiar” TLD was. I remember Ray Suarez very carefully spelling out “dot O R G” each day on “Talk of the Nation.”

  39. avatar
    Potter, J. July 30, 2012 at 10:19 am #

    justlw: For some value of “little.” It’s certainly nowhere near as popular as “.com,” but it’s used, for example, by California public schools

    I’ve been out of schoolworld for too long! Completely forgot about ‘.edu’, and you’re right, publish schools in many place use ‘.us’.

    Why is that? Universities were online from way back, and have ‘.edu’ domains, as the Net Gods intended. But why do public schools use ‘.us’, not ‘.edu.’? for the place name tie-in? Military, too (‘.mil.us’).

    Like many a beautiful plan, ICANN’s purpose-based extension scheme went *sproing* about 10 seconds after the general public logged on.

    And now it’s possibly blowing up completely, with all sorts of new extensions in the works. As goofy as the ‘.com’ default was, at least it kept one thing simple for new users. I think that will prove to have been a temporary phase.

    Adding .app to the Internet

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/14/technology/dot-app-is-most-sought-after-internet-address-extension.html?pagewanted=all

  40. avatar
    bgansel9 is not going away July 30, 2012 at 10:53 am #

    JPotter: Whatever happened to “.biz”? Too dorky? Too blatant?

    The biz suffix still exists. My last employer had a business with a biz domain. Still going strong.

  41. avatar
    Keith July 30, 2012 at 10:56 pm #

    Potter, J.: And now it’s possibly blowing up completely, with all sorts of new extensions in the works. As goofy as the ‘.com’ default was, at least it kept one thing simple for new users. I think that will prove to have been a temporary phase.

    The UK never used .com. They use .co.uk

    Australian Universities have their own domain within .edu.au for example Monash University is: http://www.monash.edu.au.

    Schools have their own subdomain off the state Education department. So Melbourne Grammar School is http://www.mgs.vic.edu.au Melbourne Grammar is a private school, not a government school. Glen Huntly Primary School, is a government school and uses http://www.glenhuntlyps.vic.edu.au.

  42. avatar
    justlw August 1, 2012 at 5:12 pm #

    Dr. Conspiracy: I’ve been trying to get obamaconspiracy.com since the start, unsuccessfully. It used be a birther site with one comment, Now it’s a domain squatter.

    It appears to have been controlled by parked.com , which I see went out of business at the beginning of the year, apparently turning over their squattery to “Domain Apps.”

    I knew that squatting was a thing, so I shouldn’t have been surprised to see that it’s become its own little speculative ecosystem.

    What clued me in, and cracked me up, was a post I found concerning parked.com’s demise:

    What a way to start off 2012: shutting your service down, not notifying your customers, AND, taking their money. That’s what Parked.com did to me, at least.

    [snip]

    your Parked.com account is gone. Actually, so is their website.

    [snip]

    I suppose the most angering part about it is that there was NO notification whatsoever about Parked.com closing down. Not a 30 day notice, let alone a last minute one. I had an account manager at Parked.com, of whom never mentioned a word about this.

    Let’s not forget the other two issues: 1) the earnings I still had queued up from domain parking revenue which Parked.com STOLE, and 2) about 4 years of invaluable domain parking data I had for almost 500 domain names, which is all gone.

    Can’t you just feel the outrage? Is there in truth no honor among thieves?

    He had 500 parked domains. He had an account manager at this parking service.

  43. avatar
    Paula Sweet August 10, 2012 at 5:01 am #

    parked.com left me out in the cold too. Seems we can’t make laws fast enough to keep up with high tech.

  44. avatar
    LW August 10, 2012 at 11:42 am #

    Paula, if I may ask, what were you using parked.com for?