I know this feeling. Back in 2003 I maintained The Lemon, an Onion-ish political site. I got several Instapundit links, as well as many links from other big-name bloggers. The site enjoyed a lot of positive traffic from political bloggers, but all of it was a drop in the bucket compared to the day when Slashdot and FARK both linked to this non-political bit I did on the history of the internet. It was a soul-crushing avalanche of traffic that eclipsed all previous links.
While Political blogs top the Technorati charts and the term “blogosphere” is often used to mean the political blogs, I think the above proves that political blogs are just a small but very active part of the ‘net. The political blogosphere (both left and right) is quite prolific and inbred. (By inbred I mean they have lots of links going to each other. I’m not saying anything about their families, which I’m sure are all fine, fine people.) It generates an incredible volume of traffic amongst itself, but for the most part I think they are ignored by non-political junkies.
Some other notes on the political bloggers vs. “everyone else”:
- Political bloggers are fairly generous. I had a tip jar, and I found that many people donated freely and regularly (usually between one and five dollars), netting me a tidy sum of less than a hundred bucks a month. On the other hand, while bringing me more than ten times the number of visitors of your average “Instalink”, the massive influx of traffic from FARK and Slashdot did not garner a single brass farthing in the ‘ol tipjar.
- The non-political types were far more rude than your average political type. They used harsher language when compelled to email me and let me know I’m stupid / racist / uninformed / a neocon / a brainwashed shill for group X, or othwise let me know that they did not appreciate what I had to say.
- Very few checked out the main site after reading my article, and fewer still hung around and became regular readers. The traffic for the other parts of my site didn’t go up very much, and after a couple of days (when the links to me were pushed off the front pages) my traffic had almost returned to normal. By contrast, visitors from (say) Jeff Jarvis or Cox & Forkum would usually read the site, dig through the archives, and come back later for more.
Now that I’m thinking about it: I should update that timeline, there is about 3 more years of history to add.
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