Friday, June 27, 2008

Mid-Year Review

Click Here for a statistical overview of Aberdeener.com
Click Here for a statistical overview of the most-read articles


Reading last December’s Year End Review, I’m amused by the measurements I used in measuring success. “[O]ver 400 unique visitors and nearly 4000 pageviews.” Truth is I was using the numbers that put me in the best light. Six months later, Aberdeener.com has accumulated over 4,000 unique visitors and over 50,000 pageviews. To be honest, I have no idea who these 4,000 unique visitors are. Half of the pageviews are the index page. My best guess is the blog regularly reaches 250 homes in Aberdeen of which only 150 are dedicated readers. How am I doing? I think I’m doing fine.

Rather than play pretend, I’ve posted screenshots of the most relevant stats. To this day, over two-thirds of visitors arrive at the site through a search engine or a link on another website. Despite recurring stories of people hearing about the site, or at least its contents, through the grapevine, I’d bet over three-quarters of the residents have never heard of Aberdeener.com. Even among our readers, less than half return to the site on a regular basis.

But this website isn’t a business. I don’t measure its success by readership, revenue (zero), or brand recognition. The blog has a simple mission – To be an arena of ideas for improving our quality of life and lowering our cost of living. I measure success by the impact the blog has had on the township.

There’s no way of knowing whether the blog has prevented something from occurring but we can certainly see the things it hasn’t prevented. Soaring expenditures in the school district and the township, giveaways to CME Associates, and a business-as-usual mentality. The school district’s single success, appointing a capable and reform-minded superintendent, was due solely to a temporary change in leadership and is now opposed by a majority of the school board. Even the Greater Aberdeen Garage Sale owed most of its success to our local reporters, in particular Erin Stattel of the Independent.

Since the new policy requiring comments be posted under an alias, there’s been a dramatic drop in the number of comments. I have also been a bit less aggressive in my reporting during the lazy hazy days of summer. However, I hope to lift the new policy and resume my normal reporting by the end of July.

Yet, there’s no denying the potential to effect next year’s elections. With $5,000, this blog could likely defeat any incumbent candidate in next year’s elections through newspaper ads, mailings, and signage, plus highlighting the most damaging articles on the homepage. Wrong or right, does any candidate seriously want to challenge the notion?

Even my adversaries have stopped criticizing me. In the early days, there was name-calling and attacks on my competence as a blogger (some of it warranted). Today, however, I try to stick to documented malfeasance and post the source material. You can argue with my opinions but who can argue with the facts? Even on the Ciaglia story, the most read, most commented, most heated article on the blog, not one person tried to suggest the builder did not receive preferential tax treatment.

Despite the low readership among the locals, each one of our elected leaders reads this blog. Like myself, they too recognize that times have changed and what was once commonplace will soon be rebuffed.

I do have one regret – to a large extent, this blog has become the voice of one person. Our town is fortunate to have people far more knowledgeable and capable than I and I wish they would be more pro-active and share their ideas on how we can improve our neighborhood.

I believe change is in the air. I believe in the people of Aberdeen and our neighbors in Matawan. I’m proud to be a resident. And I’d like to thank everyone who has helped me be a part of this neighborhood. Lots of room for improvement but I’m confident we’re moving in the right direction.

As for this blog, I think it’s doing fine.
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4 comments:

brianinthebeach said...

Any candidates in mind?

Aberdeener said...

Personally, I would like to see Stuart Brown run for mayor and Tom Aljian and Alice Osipowitz run on a unified Republican/Green ticket.

Aberdeener said...

A friend recently objected to my stating that "The school district’s single success, appointing a capable and reform-minded superintendent, was due solely to a temporary change in leadership and is now opposed by a majority of the school board."

After all, how can I claim that a majority now oppose the superintendent's appointment when a majority of current BOE members voted for his appointment?

I stand by my statement. I have no doubt that the current board would never have appointed Dr. O'Malley as our superintendent.

mrsb said...

I am forever grateful to this blog for opening my eyes up to what's really going on in my community and spurring me on to take more action in what's going on.

Even for those who do not always agree with what you have posted, I bet they can't deny that the blog has inspired them to act, in one way or another -- if only to start talking about what's going on.