Case Studies: Traffic DataThesis
Following is a traffic analysis of the five case studies, taken from SEMrush.
The site tracks the traffic on a per month basis so the data is neither particularly recent, nor can it show precise movements in traffic though the site does provide some of the most detailed numbers and the monthly traffic numbers go as far back as April 2016.
Return of Kings
The following is a number of news sites not affiliated with the far right. These should be taken as control samples. The Guardian is a left-leaning publication, Daily Mail is a right wing tabloid and The Times is a right wing publication that has been in the business unwittingly repeating far right propaganda and publishing increasingly racist columns.
What is interesting about the results is that it shows the readership levels to be coming overwhelmingly, disproportionately from the US. Another point of interest is that all these sites show a huge spike in readership levels around October and November 2016. This is likely due to the US presidential election – though strangely, no such spike shows up for July 2016 and the Brexit referendum.
Another point of interest is that for most sites, this sudden spike in readership trails off after November, the only exception being The Daily Stormer, which seems to have retained its momentum up until September this year, when its original domain was shut down by the host. In fact, the graph of the last 18 months for Infowars and Breitbart is almost identical. Interestingly, the tabloid Daily Mail has noted a similar temporary spike in readership, though the more established publications like the Guardian and The Times seem to have been able to retain the increased numbers throughout the year.
Another interesting trend is the difference in traffic sources. The vast majority of views for Breitbart, Infowars and the Stormer comes from direct visits while the Occidental Observer and RoK also gained a number of views from search engine results. This is in sharp contrast to the control sites which have a more balanced proportion of direct hits, search result and social media referrals.