Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Still not buying Hiltzik's claim

I got Hiltzik's reply, and still can't see things his way. My rejoinder pointed out that Site Meter hasn't been on Hewitt's site for a year, so we must allow for seasonal fluctuations. For example, Hewitt's traffic dipped for three months, reaching a low in December, then rebounded sharply in January. I'd guess the holidays played a role.

Hewitt's traffic has dipped for two months now, February and March, but has not fallen below the December low. And of course, April, on the far right side of the graph, isn't finished yet. If April's numbers fall below the December low, Hewitt may have something to worry about. (And note that September has been Hewitt's biggest month so far in page views.)

My caution comes from interpreting Multiple Listing Service records of home sales. These follow a notoriously seasonal pattern. You need year-over-year data to spot a trend. Web traffic is even more volatile. Of course, many other factors impinge on Web traffic.

Hiltzik asked if I am saying he made up his data. I am not. But as far as I can tell, Hiltzik appears overly eager to draw conclusions based on artificially constrained measurements.

Until the next update . . .

P.S. - People have had trouble reaching my bradley (at) sandiego.com address due to overly aggressive spam filters. I have turned down the settings.

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