Monthly Report, May-June 2006

 Posted by (Visited 38810 times)  Misc
Jun 012006

I missed doing a report last month — I don’t remember why. I hope that means you all pined for the monthly dose of goofy search terms!

It looks like the torrid growth of the site has slowed down somewhat. Phew, I was getting worried there for a bit. Here’s a bit of a graph showing how it’s going:

Graph of website stats

This is enough to land the site at around 60,000 in Alexa and to give it a Technorati rank of 4245 today, though I have seen it as high as 3709.

The giant traffic spikes you see on the graph are all attributable to Slashdotting and BoingBoinging. (I put in a two week moving average in the graph for real tracking purposes). The largish bump is from the posting of the Lessons.

Some aggregate stats: 1.3m hits in April and 1.2m in May; 126,000 visits in April and 138,000 in May; around 4450 average visits a day in May. Bandwidth was almost 17gig in April, and around 15.5 gig in May. It’s actually a bit of relief to see these slightly lower than the peak month of March, which had insane traffic loads.

Google AdSense earnings are still pathetic. I think I only need another $90 before they will cut me a check.

The top countries: US, the ever-popular “unknown,” Australia, Canada, the EU, Great Britain, China, Japan, Germany, and Singapore. Clearly, I hve not yet penetrated the MMORPG consciousness of South Korea, which is somewhere down around 18th, with only around 3400 hits.

The ongoing campaign to have people listen to the music linked on the site is finally seeing traction! In May 438 people listened to an MP3 file, and 2842 saw the little Flash player. In April it was 322 people on the music, and 385 on the Flash player.

Most popular pages on the site this past month:

  1. Small Worlds still holding at #1.
  2. The Online World Timeline up from #2.
  3. Contact/Email page surging onto the charts! More and more mail is coming in this way, and remember — webmaster is the default, if you want to write to me and maybe get answered, make sure you click the right checkbox.
  4. About Raph still needs updated, which may be why it has slipped from #2.
  5. Laws of Online World Design are down from #4 because of the contact form appearing
  6. How to Manage a Large-Scale Online Gaming Community also slips a spot
  7. A Story About a Tree up from #9
  8. Online World Design Patterns slips to #8
  9. Declaring the Rights of Players slips to #9
  10. Moore’s Wall holds at #10

That means that March’s #6, Running Massively Multiplayer Games, and March’s #11, What Does It Take to Make a Successful Persistent Online World didn’t make it back on.

The stuff nobody read this past month: the ChinaJoy talk and this little bit on virtual sociopaths.

A snapshot in time of the overall most popular posts, so that we can all gawk at what happens when an Internet meme happens to spawn:


34085 What are the lessons of MMORPGs today?

9382 The Healing Game

8392 Do levels suck?

7746 OGLE

7572 Where does popularity come from, or the Wisdom of Crowds revisited

6708 Do levels suck? Part II

6150 Leaving SOE

5332 A guild trademarks its name

5120 The
next next gen

4837 Are single-player games doomed?

But that’s all time. The popular posts this month, in case you missed any, were these:

  1. Thoughts on the Metaverse Summit — see, more Prokofy means more readers!
  2. The journey is the reward is a f—–g lie
  3. Exceptionalism
  4. Metaverse Roadmap roundup
  5. Not again…
  6. The new book: A Grammar of Gameplay, and I still haven’t started actually writing the damn thing…
  7. A bit of an absence which goes to show I am running out of interesting things to blog about!
  8. Enter your VWPIN
  9. Yellow Mustangs, crossgender avatars, and Victoria’s Secret, hopefully based on the title
  10. SDForum: Joi Ito’s keynote

There’s a lot more folks reading via feeds these days. The peak is 641 in a day, and 150 of those come in via BlogLines. Weekends are much much lower than weekdays, which leads me to suspect that people spend their workday browsing the Internet. I am shocked, shocked, I tell you. The peak day is usually Wednesday, but sometimes it’s Thursday.

What was the most contentious post? That’s easy. Again, hello there, Prokofy Neva!

  1. Thoughts on the Metaverse Summit
  2. The journey is the reward is a f—–g lie
  3. Horses and the user-governed world
  4. Exceptionalism
  5. Private clubs or public parks
  6. Not again…
  7. First sale
  8. The new book: A Grammar of Gameplay
  9. From the Mailbag: Breaking In
  10. Metadatamania
  11. Enter your VWPIN

Internet Explorer continues to gain ground against Firefox. This month, the stats stand at IE with 49% and Firefox at 37.9%. This despite the fact that things do not draw right on IE; all you IE users, each post title is supposed to have an icon next to it, didja know that?

Looks like Nodwick‘s dominance as a referrer has faded. Instead, I am getting stumbled upon a lot.

  1. StumbleUpon
  2. BlogLines
  3. Scott Jennings’ Broken Toys
  4. GamaSutra, presumably the Blogged In column Jim Rossignol writes
  5. Donews, which appears to be in China and linked to the article on what the Web and games have to teach each other
  6. Damion Schubert’s Zen of Design
  7. PocketWatch Games
  8. Brian Green aka Psychochild
  9. Jay Is Games
  10. the SWG Forums

This month will be the last time we see search engine terms from the blog’s search engine, because I retired it in favor of just using Google, so that the whole site could be searched. As a bonus, it’s already doubled my ad click rate. 🙂

Anyway, blog engine searches… “mmo,” boring. “Theory of fun,” boring. “Player rights,” boring. “SWG,” boring.

  • galactica. I don’t even know what to say to this one.
  • business beyond the box. A metaphorical box? The literal retail box? Schrodinger’s box? Who let the cats out? (meow, meow, meow meow meow meow).
  • Mario. But not Luigi, who is really developing a complex.
  • offempare. And onempare.
  • ludeme leading into lude me which perhaps should immediately become a blog title of its own.
  • heterarchy which I really don’t think I have ever used as a word in my entire life.
  • poema avó. Is that Portuguese? Or Italian?
  • game code. Here’s some: void main() { while true do { … } }. You will need to fill in the rest yourself.
  • what I’ve learned is that writing this post gets really tiring.
  • Phat exercise:How young adults enjoy and sustain physical activity, which sounds like a marketing campaign put together by a culturally tone-deaf school board
  • gold dust buyers address in germany. Hmm, if you want to get rid of gold dust…
  • skulls/funny looking. Have you tried the one here?
  • arcade fire. Indeed, it was a tragedy. Baby Pac-Man was trapped on the second floor, but didn’t have any arms to climb down…
  • rest of the world. You have to search for this?
  • understand polish. But is it Polish or polish?
  • polish quality. Hmm, probably the latter, then.
  • arrousal. Well, they have the grrr part down.
  • The DaVinci Code hardcover. Try here.
  • Die gleiche Geschlechtverbindung, which I assume one of you German readers will translate for me.

The ones from outside included

  • gaia online and entropia universe, which goes to show mentioning games that people are playing and therefore searching for drives traffic. I suspect we may hgave discovered the secret to all those spam blogs mining Google Adwords.
  • jake shimabukuro because ukuleles are cool again.
  • cooking games, which proves that it’s not just me, there is an audience for this
  • oblivion female lower body, which is odd to search for, because it’s easy to find. Stand in front of a character, female of course, and then look below the waist. That would be it right there. Honestly, the things people can’t find on their own.
  • deal or nodal games, which is a really interesting dichotomy. On the one hand, you have games with decks of cards, and on the other you have games played on graphs. Hmm.
  • google tarth. Have we discovered Google’s next business model?
  • juegos asimetricos — did my term stick?
  • pontificating. OK, so that one is a valid search term for this site, I admit it.
  • criss angel step by step lessons on levitation small objects clips, because I believe we can fly.
  • raph drug rehab. Never been, I’m high on life, baby!!!
  • hot new haircuts 2006. Meanwhile, mine hasn’t changed since college, when I cut off my ponytail.
  • mu server game working error causes conclusion. I thought Mu Online was still running.
  • britney spyer cd. You mean, her paparazzi have a recording contract?
  • practical nakeds. I suppose there are impractical kinds too.
  • playmate february 2006 because we just can’t forget her.
  • catherine mcphee oops. Soul Patrol!
  • coordinate based movement system game mud. Yes, there are. It’s not hard to implekent either; just add x and y to every object and character and mobile data structure, insert a max x and y into the room data structure, and add commands to navigate. You can make it functional in about ten minutes. Of course, if you want more complex spaces within the coordinate system, you’ll need to allow for collision and maybe the Z axis.
  • tess perko. Tess, Craig, something you’re not telling us?
  • post by users on websites that can be accessed by anybody that tell cheat on how to get xp in cov. Does anyone ever get results with searches this specific?
  • life lessons learned. Let me know if you find them.
  • second life 2006 brothels. Because last year’s brothels are just SO over.
  • free downloadable music for baritone ukulele, because ukuleles are cool again.
  • how old is when she was rescued by bruce wellis in the begining of the movie. You have to narrow it down more for us, yippee kai-ay!
  • celerygoblin. See, now that’s a cool monster type. It dies when you dip it in peanut butter or ranch dressing, and it costs more mana to fight it than not.
  • what factors helped cortez and pizarro in thier conquest of two great indians empires. Guns, germs, and steel. There’s a book about it, actually.
  • secret solutions to rid geese from my pool. The celerygoblin. He hates geese. There’s also guns, germs, and steel. When all else fails, ukuleles are cool again.

  22 Responses to “Monthly Report, May-June 2006”

  1. Inspired by both Raph Koster’smonthly reports and Google’s Zeitgeist, I decided to drop in some information for last month’s common search terms that led people here to Nerfbat. As I think Google’s word, “Zeitgeist,” is awesome, I am shamelessly stealing it for my own use until such a

  2. , which seemed to spring out of nowhere, he said the next time he gathered his statistics that article was the one with the most hits, and that drove up his overall traffic, and that drove up his kachinging ads on that web page.”More Prokofy means more readers,” he said. Really, I should be paid for this…and of course that’s exactly what some would like to do, buy me, pay for me, and get paid themselves. The Harvard guy, of course, was primarily interested in the intellectual discourse around his

  3. That would be a nice birthday present…

  4. I’m the #8 referrer to your blog, but you’re only #18 according to my referrer logs! This seems to be a one-sided relationship, Raph. 😛

    And, those weren’t terribly interesting search terms. You’re growing boring in your old age, Raph. 😉

  5. Hey, made it in at #7 for Pocketwatch/Qatfish. Glad to be referring… See you at the IGDA meeting, assuming you are still in SD!

  6. This site has grown so cluttered that I only read the RSS feed (and lately, I don’t even read it). I don’t know why you wanted to turn your blog into a sort of geek online shop / Web 2.0 feature showcase… but it has become exactly what I would expect a game designer’s site NOT to be like. Are you ever going back to the business of actually making games, or is this trip to elsewhere final?

    (Hope I didn’t offend anyone, just trying to give a honest opinion)

  7. […] Comments […]

  8. Jare, I’d love to hear more. I sent you email inquiring.

    What do others think? Sidebars too cluttered? The vast majority of the actual posts are games-related, so I doubt it’s that… but maybe I’m wrong.

    As far as getting back to making games — I hope to be able to say what I am doing publicly sometime later this summer.

    I haven’t done a lot of game design posts lately, certainly — mostly industry commentary, I think.

  9. The search terms always crack me up.

    I too think the sidebars are too cluttered — either that or the font’s too small. It took me ages to find the Timeline the other day for a Geek Resume I posted on another board (I couldn’t remember the years that some of these games came out, and knew you’d have them).

    I’d probably read via feed as well, but how long has this RSS thing been out, and I still can’t figure out how to use the Feed thing. I miss USENet. :/ Life was so simple then.

    I haven’t done a lot of game design posts lately…

    Why not, do you suppose?

  10. I read the RSS feeds instead of going to the blog (unless I’m leaving a comment like now), but it has nothing to do with design. It’s just easier to get told when there’s a new post rather than try and go to a page over and over again only to see nothing new.

    I’m sure I’m missing valuable discussion and some websites that don’t syndicate by going almost entirely RSS, but there it is: passive content aggregation wins, hands down.

  11. Raph wrote: What do others think? Sidebars too cluttered?

    Less is more! I always thought your website cluttered and too "portal"-like. The portal was cited as one of the most poorly designed websites several years ago by web design authorities. Their design really hasn’t changed much. Too much information. Too little direction. I think you might want to consider a formal redesign for a user-focused website that provides information to users in the most productive manner. “Information when you want wherever you want.” (I know you have a lot on your plate already. Delegate. Hire someone!) 😉

  12. I use the RSS feed for posts, but I come to the site and glance at the Recent Comments section. *shrugs*

    I also don’t read any other part of the sidebars, unless I’m looking for something. =P

    Last, less is more only if that’s your object. Presentation is communication, and well, I gotta ask: is what you want to communicate “simplicity”? This isn’t Google. It’s not supposed to be. Right now, I come to this site purely for the blog. Partly, this is because I’ve read just about everything else that interested me, and I doubt he’s added new things, esp. without announcement. You know… on the blog. =P

    As long as that’s there, I honestly couldn’t care less what the site looked like (unless it’s really, really ugly, which I don’t expect).

  13. And, glancing at the Recent Comments, I further suggest a captcha, though I personally like the way danah boyd does spam filtering. It seems to work. (I suspect some javascript involved, but I’ve never actually checked.) Her blog’s at; she requires that you type a cool word.

  14. Last, less is more only if that’s your object. Presentation is communication, and well, I gotta ask: is what you want to communicate “simplicity”?

    Presentation is definitely not communication, but I’ll stop there since I started writing more content for my article. 😉

  15. Everyone uses the RSS feed except me. Now I feel like I’ve been wasting precious seconds of my day by checking a few blogs manually! Oh no 🙁

    Also- the site layout could use some serious love. I hope Jare gave you some good advice. The sidebars being cluttered isn’t the entire problem, there is a serious lack of “white space” on the site, and it can make everything look too cluttered.

    Don’t place the whole blame on just sidebars though, removing the cafepress ads won’t fix it entirely.

  16. “Heterarchy” was mine. Perko mentioned you had posted something relating to different forms of game structures, along the lines of Puzzles vs. Rhizomes or Hierarchies vs. Heterarchies. I guess you didn’t, but you should.

  17. >Thoughts on the Metaverse Summit — see, more Prokofy means more readers!

    Gah, I should charge for this service! : )

  18. oblivion female lower body

    They were probably looking for my post. 🙂

  19. […] Inspired by both Raph Koster’s monthly reports and Google’s Zeitgeist, I decided to drop in some information for last month’s common search terms that led people here to Nerfbat. As I think Google’s word, “Zeitgeist,” is awesome, I am shamelessly stealing it for my own use until such a time that I come up with a better word myself. […]

  20. Quick question, Raph: What do you use to track the popularity of individual posts? I’ve looked around for a decent WordPress stat plugin but haven’t found one yet.

  21. I’ve been meaning to set up a page listing what plugins we use, because I get emails about it.

    We use:

    AudioPlayer for the embedded MP3s

    CG-Archives by year, which we just installed because the archives were so big

    Auto-Close Comments to close comments after 21 days to limit spam

    Get Recent Comments for the sidebar.

    IImage Browser for uploading images — fairly recent addition, did it manually until last week.

    Kramer basically makes pingback and trackback more robust by searching inbound links rather than waiting to be notified. They’re noted with the little K icon if they’re found this way.

    Live Comment Preview (which is the little Javascript preview under a comment)

    LMBBox Comment Quicktags (this adds the quicktags on the comment boxes)

    FeedBurner Feed Replacement, since we use FeedBurner for feeds.

    Related Posts makes the related posts section above the comments

    SearchHistory but we’re phasing it out since I put in the Google Search

    Subscribe Me puts the tiles for Yahoo, Bloglines, etc on the sidebar

    TextControl, which lets me format a given post based on different markup, so that I can do stuff like paste in code

    Top 10 Posts, Views per Post which is the one you want. Kristen hacked this a bit to generate top 100 onto a separate page.

    Translator for the machine translation.

    User Online to see how many people are on right now, which I check reflexively. 🙂

    Tiger Style Administration for a nicer admin panel.

    WP-Amazon makes it easy for me to add Amazon links into those review posts that burn in my Associates ID.

    WordPress Database Backup makes backups easy — I think this is included in WP 2.0 but we haven’t upgraded yet.

    Spoiler tags but I never use them because they apparently don’t always work, particularly in feeds.

    We hacked in the icon support for posts ourselves (and have a bug in the CSS, which is why they are not visible on IE). There’s plugins for that too, and we’ll probably move to that when we upgrade to 2.0. We also hacked the sidebar itself a lot, and custom built the theme so that it could resize to any window in three columns.

    Oh, and the contact form is also downloaded from somewhere, but I don’t think it’s a regular plugin.

    In addition to all that, I also have some stuff on FeedBurner (which rocks, btw): We run BrowserFriendly, SmartFeed, Feed Image Burner, Amazon ID Burner, FeedCount (displayed in the sidebar here), PingShot (notifies more aggregators than the default in WP) and Headline Animator, which is in place on the Theory of Fun website.

    We also have FeedFlares for Email This, Technorati,, Digg This, Slashdot This, Comments Count, and Subscribe to Comments. These get attached as links automatically in all feed articles, at the bottom.

    For stats, we use both Webalizer and awstats. Most of the monthly popularity data here actually comes from awstats and we extract it manually; the popular posts plugin is “all time.”

  22. Oh, and the contact form is also downloaded from somewhere, but I don’t think it’s a regular plugin.

    It’s actually a server host specific deal.

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