2005 Blog Year-in-Review

By Eric Goldman

I generally avoid overly self-referential postings, but this post is a glaring exception. In this post, I’ll recap some of the blog highlights (and lowlights) of the past year, covering both this blog and my personal blog. I hope you find this at least mildly interesting.

Top 10 Blog Posts (excluding category pages)

1. What Happens to BitTorrent After Grokster? (by Mark Schultz). This post got 50% more page views than the next closest post.

2. Sony, DRM and Trespass to Chattels

3. Important 2d Circuit Adware Case–1-800 Contacts v. WhenU. This is one of my favorite posts of the year.

4. Grokster Supreme Court Ruling

5. Steinbuch v. Cutler Update–Cutler’s Motion to Dismiss. This one got unexpectedly large traffic from a Wonkette link (Its tagline: “Politics for people with dirty minds”).

6. Artists’ Rights and Theft Prevention Act–New Criminal Copyright Infringement Standards

7. Adware Witchhunt Gone Awry

8. Is Sony’s DRM Spyware?

9. Grokster Ruling Commentary

10. Wikipedia Will Fail Within 5 Years. I think my statistics generally were distorted by referral spam, comment spam and other robotic activity, but this post’s top 10 placement may be due to robots because it got 225 robotic comments in 3 days.

Undiscovered Gems

Some of my favorite blog posts that you may have overlooked.

* Faculty Activity Reports

* Product Placement and the Apprentice TV Show

* Infomediaries–Where Are They?

* Spyware, the Pew Report, Anti-Terrorism Efforts and Coping with Spam

* Taxes, Attention Consumption and Competition

There were some fantastic posts from guest bloggers that may have been overlooked as well–check out Mark Schultz’s Stealing Mickey’s Mojo, Mark McKenna’s Branded Products as Ingredients, John Ottaviani’s Federal Circuit Refuses to Register Pennzoil’s Clear Motor Oil Bottle as a Trademark and Judge Patel: Maintaining An Index of Downloadable Files is Not “Distributing” the Files, and Ethan Ackerman’s Law Enforcement Collection of DNA.

Lowlights

With almost 600 posts this year written at “blog speed,” not surprisingly the bottom 1% of posts aren’t that great. Among my least-favorite posts: low-value-added posts (e.g., here and here), inflammatory posts, and error-riddled posts (e.g., here, here and here). By definition, I’ll always have a bottom 1% of posts, but in 2006 I’ll endeavor to avoid such obvious mistakes.

Some Blog Statistics

* 573 posts this year, or about 2/day since the blogs began in early February. The most common topical categories include copyright (87 posts), adware/spyware (85 posts), search engines (77 posts) and trademarks (77 posts).

* Visitors from over 140 countries, some obscure (e.g., Burkina Faso, Moldova) and some tiny (e.g., Faroe Islands, with only 25,000 Internet users in 2002).

* 78% of the search engine referrals came from Google. The next closest was Yahoo with 10%. The top search keyword used to find the blog? “Law professor salary.”

* Reflecting the blog’s techie audience, about 10% of readers use a Linux OS instead of Windows, and less than half use Microsoft Internet Explorer as their browser.

AdSense (this also covers my personal website)

For the year, the websites had a clickthrough rate of 0.5% (i.e., 1 out of every 200 pages with ads generated a click) and an ECPM of about $3.75 (i.e., every pageview containing ads generated less than half a penny).

I’m not complaining too much about my modest AdSense earnings, but at the same time I think the websites have a lot of untapped revenue potential being obscured by AdSense’s poor automated assessments. In particular, I’m frustrated by the omnipresent “Smart Link Marketing”/www.Text-Link-Ads.com display ads that are just not relevant or useful to this audience. I understand that presumably these ads generate more total revenue than other ads that Google might display, but this is because AdSense’s algorithms are missing a lot of good keywords. For example, ads for anti-spam or anti-spyware/adware products would be very high CPC and relevant to the audience, but AdSense figures that out pretty rarely.

Thanks for Reading

If you’ve read this far, you’re either a loyal reader or a voyeur (if you’re the latter, sorry to omit the juiciest stats like total visitors, pageviews or AdSense earnings, but I don’t want to embarrass myself by confirming that the blogs are small potatoes). Either way, thanks for reading in 2005, and I look forward to your continued readership in 2006. Have a wonderful new year!

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