web analytics

Sitemeter is broken – no Open Parachute stats.

Written By: - Date published: 1:35 pm, May 20th, 2017 - 6 comments
Categories: blogs - Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

I see that Martyn Bradbury finally noticed that I dropped the public accessible statistics about The Standard in April at Open Parachute.

He characteristically titled it with his usual humility as “Blog Rankings: TDB second largest blog in NZ”. I thought that maybe we should start a movement to label him as “New Zealand’s Trump”. But I think that one of the big swinging dickheads locked in a current defamation trial already has his head stapled to his scrotum using the much larger Whaleoil sleaze and clickbait blog.

The reason that The Standard dropped on Ken’s list was quite simple and one that Bomber should have spotted himself earlier if he was less interested in bombastic self-promotion and more interested in how his site operates. Over the previous 4 months, the readings from Statcounter for page views had gotten increasingly inaccurate. Since Sitemeter had already displayed unexplained wild variances in recent years and most of the other public site stats packages have significiant other flaws on highish volume sites, we stopped running any.

As well as Statcounter, this site runs Google Analytics, WordPress Stats, and most accurately a slow analysis using the Apache logs. I tend to use Google Analytics as the usual, reference as it always closest to my occasional checks running the exhaustive Apache log analysis.

You can see the problem off the graph and the table below. Page views on Statcounter is got way below Analytics in February and never recovered. Over the last few years, the maximum variation between Statcounter and Google Analytics page views has been within +/- 15,000 for the range of page views per month of 300,000 to 600,000. Normally it is +/- 10,000. Even when we hit election peaks of more than 800,000 it is typically less than +- 20,000. Roughly 5% at the worst case.

Those are acceptable variances for something that is as tricky as measuring page views using questionable javascript, client side browsers, and various network filters and firewalls. When it consistently kicks up over 15% over a number of months then you know that something is going wrong.

Monthly Page Views Statcounter Google Analytics Difference
September 2016 369,540 364,647 4,893
October 2016 351,423 343,547 7,876
November 2016 379,565 387,904 -8,339
December 2016 402,218 479,215 -76,997
January 2017 344,060 396,006 -51,946
February 2017 376,092 404,807 -28,715
March 2017 366,486 438,881 -72,395

I noticed it in December and made time to look at the coding for problems. I couldn’t see any. I thought that there was a possible issue that would come right. January was less worse but on a smaller holiday volume. I started mentioning the issue to authors in the internal discussion posts.

In February there was a funny spike when it looked like someone at Statcounter dumped a pile of numbers into the page views in one hit – about an extra 30 thousand for us.

The Standard daily page views from Statcounter for February 2017

We weren’t alone. The same thing happened at the Daily Blog (an extra 22k) and a number of the other NZ sites that use Statcounter.

The Daily Blog daily page views from Statcounter for February 2017

March brought a lot of issues with slow page loads specifically related to statcounter. See the conversations here and here and here. I was somewhat busy that week at work (being a blogger and doing 60+ hour working weeks doesn’t always mesh), so I didn’t start tracking it until the weekend. But I got no useful responses from Statcounter.

Anyway, April was still bad. So when I had a break at work, I cut the connection to Statcounter and fixed the links in the mobile and desktop sites.


On a complete side issue, the other problem with the blog rankings is that it orders the ‘rankings’ on the wrong statistic. What Ken and Sitemeter calls ‘Visits’ is completely different to Sitemeter’s ‘Unique Visits’ and Analytics ‘Sessions’. Despite them trying to measure the same thing (how long a person is actually reading pages in a visit or session) and having very similar published parameters, they vary a lot. This shows up in the page views per visit or session.

Roughly speaking for our site in the same month,  the differences are stark. On our site and apparently on Kiwiblog, Sitemeter shows a consistent ratio of between 1.3 to 1.7 page views per ‘visit’ over a number of months. Statcounter shows 2.0 to 2.2 page views per unique visit over the same months. But Google Analytics shows 2.9 to 3.6 page views per session over the same months.

Bearing in mind that Google Analytics can show you pathways of each anonymous individual through the site visit including time stamps, then I’d say that google is correct. When I look at both Statcounter and Sitemeter logs, I have absolutely no idea where they cut off a ‘visit’. I suspect that is because they don’t post-process their logs.

But these are monumental differences, The effect of ordering on uncorrected ‘Visits’ from different stats packages is to make the ranking pretty useless. They don’t measure the same thing. Page views are a whole lot more similar between packages. However they can be affected by page design.

I don’t have the Sitemeter for the same period, but here are the visits and sessions for sitemeter and google analytics. Notice the big bump in February when Statcounter dropped that day’s extra visits in.

Monthly Statcounter ‘Unique Visits’ Google Analytics ‘Sessions’ Difference
September 2016 171,606 125,860 45,746
October 2016 162,311 111,866 50,445
November 2016 166,188 113,463 52,725
December 2016 192,890 143,339 49,551
January 2017 160,201 111,431 48,770
February 2017 186,268 107,771 78,497
March 2017 173,902 120,332 53,570

6 comments on “Sitemeter is broken – no Open Parachute stats.”

  1. Ad 1

    What about Tweets?
    Is that still going?

    • lprent 1.1

      The gear ships off for EMC testing at the end of next week. I can start taking holidays and not working on weekends.

  2. Slim 2

    Craig v Slater
    Williams v Craig
    Standard v Daily Blog

    Nappies at dawn.

  3. lprent 3

    I seldom notice TDB, or Kiwiblog, or whaleoil. I simply don’t have time. However I needed to put up a post for the inevitable questions. When I was researching it I noticed Bomber being bomber again from the TDB link-back on the Open Parachute.

    Basically TDB needs to have a look at this problem as well. Otherwise it is likely that they will show in public a steadily decreasing readership. Unlike this site, they depend on being able to sell space and convince people that the site it worth putting money into.

    So Bomber got several mentions because like Donald Trump you appear to only be able to catch his attention if you make sure that his name is mentioned as many times as possible in a document. It doesn’t matter if it is a good mention or a bad mention. I have found that if you want information to be acted on, just mention the name.

    Umm can’t find the link for that. It did amuse me. Ah here – Reuters)

    Conversations with some officials who have briefed Trump and others who are aware of how he absorbs information portray a president with a short attention span.

    He likes single-page memos and visual aids like maps, charts, graphs and photos.

    National Security Council officials have strategically included Trump’s name in “as many paragraphs as we can because he keeps reading if he’s mentioned,” according to one source, who relayed conversations he had with NSC officials.

    Trump likes to look at a map of the country involved when he learns about a topic.

    Try this summary as well.
    https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/05/all-the-kings-men/526980/

    Ah the leaker of the free world. But I digress…

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • NZ concludes digital economy trade talks with Singapore and Chile
    A new trade agreement concluded today helps New Zealand exporters and consumers take advantage of opportunities from digital trade.    Minister for Trade and Export Growth David Parker together with Chile’s Vice Minister of Trade Rodrigo Yañez and Singapore’s Minister of Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing, have announced conclusion of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    12 hours ago
  • Provincial Growth Fund to fund Waipukurau cultural development and tourism
    The Ngā Ara Tipuna -  Waipukurau Pā Site Interpretation project will receive $2.798 million from the Provincial Growth Fund to create an authentic cultural tourism experience, Under-Secretary for Regional Economic Development Fletcher Tabuteau announced today “The project will inform visitors about the history of six pā sites in Waipukurau with a combination ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    22 hours ago
  • 21 new judges boost diversity, improve access to justice
    Twenty-one new District Court judges have been appointed in a move that will improve access to justice and boost diversity on the bench. The new judges include replacements for retirements and 10 new positions. Attorney-General David Parker today announced the 14 judges who can immediately be named, with the remainder ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    22 hours ago
  • Puhinui to Auckland Airport in 10 minutes
    Aucklanders are another step closer to getting rapid transit to the airport, with the start of construction to upgrade State Highway 20B to the airport, Transport Minister Phil Twyford announced today. SH20B will be upgraded with additional lanes in each direction, dedicated to bus and high-occupancy vehicles between Pukaki Creek ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Advancing New Zealand’s trade agenda focus of Europe meetings
    World Trade Organisation reform, agricultural trade and a free trade agreement with the United Kingdom will be the focus of Minister for Trade and Export Growth David Parker’s visit to Europe this week. David Parker leaves on Tuesday for a series of meetings in the UK and Switzerland that aim ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Minister of Defence to visit counterparts in US and Canada
    The Minister of Defence, Ron Mark, departed today for the United States and Canada where he will meet with his counterparts.  While in Canada Minister Mark will meet with his counterpart, Minister of National Defence Harjit Sajjan.  “New Zealand and Canada are close friends, and share an instinctive like-mindedness on ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Government to deliver family carers $2000 pay rise, expand scheme to spouses this year
    The Coalition Government is delivering this year the changes to Funded Family Care the disability sector has long-asked for, says Associate Minister of Health Jenny Salesa. “Today we are announcing the details of our big changes to Funded Family Care, including an annual average pay boost of $2,246.40 for funded ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Ko te reo kua mū: Piri Sciascia
    Minister for Māori Development Nanaia Mahuta joins te ao Māori in their sorrow as they learn of the loss of one of the great orators and spokespersons of a generation – Piri Sciascia.  “The son of Pōrangahau was a staunch advocate for Māori development and served his people for over ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Minister opens new ecosanctuary at Cape Farewell
    A new ecosanctuary with a predator proof fence on Golden Bay’s Cape Farewell, which will restore a safe home for sea birds, rare native plants, giant snails, and geckos, was officially opened today by the Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage. “There has been a fantastic community effort supported by the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Pacific partners work together to provide additional support to Australia
    The NZDF continues to support the Australian Defence Force (ADF) as it battles fires in Victoria and New South Wales, including by transporting Republic of Fiji Military engineers from Nadi to Australia, announced Defence Minister Ron Mark. On Saturday morning a NZDF Boeing 757 will depart New Zealand to uplift ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Kaikōura $10.88 million boost in tourism & business
    The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) is investing $10.88 million to boost business and tourism opportunities in Kaikōura, Parliamentary Undersecretary for Regional Economic Development, Fletcher Tabuteau announced today. As part of the Kaikōura Marina Development Programme, the following two projects will receive PGF funding: A $9.88 million investment to begin the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Govt accounts in surplus, debt remains low
    The Government’s books are in good shape with the accounts in surplus and expenses close to forecast, Finance Minister Grant Robertson says. The Treasury today released the Crown accounts for the five months to November. The operating balance before gains and losses (OBEGAL) was above forecast by $0.7 billion resulting ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Auckland focus for first Police graduation of 2020
    The number of Police on the Auckland frontline is increasing with the graduation today of a special locally-trained wing of new constables. Police Minister Stuart Nash says the graduation of eighteen officers from Recruit Wing 333-5 means that more than 1900 new Police have been deployed since the Coalition Government ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Wairarapa gets $7.11m PGF water boost
    The Provincial Growth Fund is putting $7.11 million into creating a sustainable water supply for Wairarapa, Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Regional Economic Development Fletcher Tabuteau announced today. The following two projects will receive Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) funding: A $7 million investment in Wairarapa Water Limited for the pre-construction development of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Progress with new Police station in Mahia
    Community safety and crime prevention in the East Coast community of Mahia has moved forward with the opening of a new Police station to serve the growing coastal settlement. Police Minister Stuart Nash has officially opened the new station, which was relocated almost 20 kilometres along the coast from the nearby ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Plans to protect the future of whitebaiting announced
    With several native whitebait species in decline the Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage has today released proposals to standardise and improve management of whitebait across New Zealand. “The need for action for a healthy whitebait fishery has never been greater,” Eugenie Sage said.  “Four of the six whitebait species are ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New resource for schools to increase awareness and understanding of climate change
    A new Ministry of Education resource available for schools in 2020 will increase awareness and understanding of climate change, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “The resource, Climate Change – prepare today, live well tomorrow, will help students understand the effects of climate change at a local, national and global ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Getting more out of our most productive firms
    Finance Minister Grant Robertson has approved the terms of reference for an Inquiry into the economic contribution of New Zealand's frontier firms. Frontier firms are the most productive firms in the domestic economy within their own industry. “These firms are important as they diffuse new technologies and business practices into ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • NZDF sends more support to Australia
    The New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) is sending an Environmental Health Team, a Primary Health Care Team and a Chaplain to Australia, boosting New Zealand support for the Australian Defence Force (ADF) as it battles bush fires in Victoria and New South Wales, Defence Minister Ron Mark announced today. The ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • New Zealand joins partners in calling for full investigation into air crash in Iran
    Acting Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Rt Hon Winston Peters says that developments suggesting a surface-to-air missile is responsible for the downing of the Ukrainian International Airlines flight in Iran is disastrous news. “New Zealand offers its deepest sympathies to the families of the 176 victims. It is ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Staying connected to Australian agriculture
    Agriculture Minister, Damien O’Connor, says the Ministry for Primary Industries is continuing to stay connected to federal authorities in Australia as devastating fires affect the country.  “The Ministry is using an existing trans-Tasman forum for discussions on the agricultural impact of the fires and the future recovery phase,” says Damien ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Investment in schools – a commitment to communities
    Thousands of school-age children, their teachers and wider communities are benefiting from the Government’s multi-million dollar investment upgrading and renewing schools, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “We want New Zealand to be the best place to be a child and that means learning in warm, comfortable and modern classrooms,” ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • New Zealand Defence Force sends support to Australia
    Minister of Defence Ron Mark today announced New Zealand is sending three Royal New Zealand Air Force NH90 helicopters and crew, and two NZ Army Combat Engineer Sections as well as a command element to support the Australian Defence Force efforts in tackling the Australian fires.  The New Zealand Defence Force ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Better access to books for blind and low vision citizens on World Braille Day
    "Today is World Braille Day and I am delighted to announce that an international treaty giving blind and low vision New Zealanders access to books and literary works comes into force today,” Minister for Disability Issues Carmel Sepuloni announced today. “Today the Marrakesh Treaty and the associated amendments to the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • New Zealand to send further firefighter support to Australia
    The New Zealand Government is sending a further 22 firefighters to help fight the Australian fires. “The devastation caused by these fires is taking a substantial toll on our Australian neighbours and we will continue to do what we can to assist as they deal with this extremely dynamic, dangerous ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago