Tag Archives: unique users

Lies, damn lies and Wings Over Scotland statistics #1

ANOTHER BLOWHARD trumpeting of “readership-stats”, another con-trick from Bath’s fatuously fraudulent ‘reverend’. According to Stuart Campbell, editor of Nationalist Front blog Wings Over Scotland, the site had 293,753 unique visitors in October 2015. Rejoice and raise the saltires, hang the Unionists, beseech the MSM etc. AhDinnaeKen finds itself asking the questions: Can we trust those figures and what benefit are they to Campbell?

Don't believe everything you read in the Nationalist Front media.

Don’t believe everything you read in the Nationalist Front media.

By Longshanker aka @ergasiophobe – Temporary Google Analytics expert

NEVER SLOW to blow his own trumpet and maintain the myth of a massive readership, Stuart Campbell of Wings Over Scotland recently confirmed to his ‘alert readers’ that just under 300,000 unique visitors or “readers” – as he often refers to such numbers – visited his blog in October 2015.

Very impressive and a potentially powerful political influence if the figures were to be believed which, according to web traffic and internet specialists and user analytics experts Incapsula, they can’t.

According to Incapsula’s findings, 62.3% of traffic to medium sites like Campbell’s – with 10,000 plus visitors per day – are bots. Or non-human traffic in human speak.

Doing the math, the impressive figure of 293,753 unique visitors for the month of October, suddenly whittles down to a less impressive 95,400.

Campbells published figures instantly reduced by one info-graphic ©Incapsula

Campbells published figures instantly reduced by one little info-graphic ©Incapsula

It’s still a formidable figure in anyone’s language but, unfortunately for Wings, it’s exponentially less than the 300,000 claim.

Then, of course, the method of recording and reporting those numbers has to be further taken into account.

Each “unique user” or “unique visitor” is actually a little computer cookie known as an _utma Cookie which is recorded and reported by a Google tool known as Google Analytics. According to Yehoshua Coren, a Google Analytics expert, unique visitors are not commensurate with unique people or readers.

He said: “We use the term “visitor,” but technically this means “__utma Cookie.” Cookies are browser specific. So if I, Yehoshua Coren, visit example.com in a 5 minute span from 3 different browsers, GA (Google Analytics) reports that 3 “unique visitors” came to the site. Similarly, if 3 different people in my household visit example.com at different times throughout the day, this is 1 “unique visitor.” Lastly, if I visit a website repeatedly using Private Browsing (Firefox) or Incognito Mode (Chrome), etc, my cookies are cleared on browser close so I’ll be an additional “unique visitor” (with a ‘new visit’) on every subsequent visit.”

Wings has a noisily notable hard core “fringe” following of assorted cybernat oddballs, expatriates, geek loners, paranoid conspiracy theorists, adolescent gamers, ‘superior intelligence’ IT coders, dribbling media illiterates, barren ‘genius’ cat people and intellectually starved SNP politicians.

Many of them will view the Wings blog using anything between 3 to 10 devices such as home computers, mobile phones, work computers/tablets etc. To be generous, we’ve also factored in random different browsers set to varying states of privacy – as referenced by Yehoshua Coren above.

Cutting Wings some slack and opting for the smallest likely average figure of viewings to 3 separate devices/browsers per actual person, that gives the blog a monthly real human being readership of around 31,800.

It’s still relatively impressive in a not really impressive at all kind of way – given the blog’s tediously repetitive ad nauseum formula of; mainstream media bad, Labour party bad/, SNP criticism bad, and anyone and everyone else not on board, a “stupid f**king c**t” bad etc.

But the more realistic figure of just under 32,000 unique readers pales compared to the trumpeted 300,000 readers figure.

There’s a thing.

DDos attacks can add

DDoS attacks can add “unique user” figures in multiples of thousands depending on the sophistication of the attack. Any old Rogue Coder could implement such a phenomenon.

Also, when you further factor in Campbell’s own claim that the Wings blog site is under almost constant DDoS attack – cyber attacks which aim to shut sites down through swamping them with “unique user” hits – then it begins to look positively paltry considering the hype which precedes it.

It also somewhat undermines the alleged authority which a “readership” of 300,000 is intended to convey. So there’s another thing.

DDoS attacks can produce what are known as ‘spikes’ in unique user figures. One site in a Google analytics discussion forum recently complained of a “sudden spike in direct traffic increase of about 30k (30,000)”. And the spike occurred in one day. Who knows how many DDoS “unique user” spikes are an integral part of Wings reported figures?

One thing’s for sure, Wings will never tell you because it would directly interfere with his duplicitous intention to con Twitter and Facebook users into thinking he’s part of some sort of “wonderful” Nationalist internet movement.

As recently laid bare in a Twitter conversation with Herald journalist, David Leask, Wings “hits” or “readers” as Campbell prefers to call them, pale into insignificance beside newspapers like the Herald.

As Leasky was the first to point out – in terms of accuracy and fairness – comparing Wings with the likes of the Herald, in terms of numbers, is “hardly a fair comparison”.

Typical Leasky: straightforward, accurate, factual and devastatingly understated.

Typical Leasky: straightforward, accurate, factual and devastatingly understated.

Readers can make up their own minds. But any Unionist or Nationalist or interested observer who thinks that Wings Over Scotland is a political player should think again.

If you believe that Wings trumpeted figure of just under 300,000 unique users is anything remotely close to individual readers then AhDinnaeKen has some plain and simple advice for you: take a long hard look in the mirror – that’s what a zoomer looks like.

30,000 to 60,000 false

30,000 to 60,000 false “unique user” hits in a day makes a mockery of Campbell’s claims. Maybe some independent corroboration and forensic analysis is needed there.

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Filed under Opinion, Wangs Watch

Wings Over Scotland: The facts behind the Financial Times profile

THE PRESTIGIOUS FT reported on the ‘phenomenon’ that is Wings Over Scotand today. According to the FT – and Google Analytics – the Wings Over Scotland blog reaches 1.7 million unique users. That’s more than half the Scottish electorate. Is Wings Over Scotland the unrecognised gamechanger which the Yes campaign so desperately needs? AhDinnaeKen soporificates:

"The internet media is the message and the message is ME!" said a Jedi Reverend recently.

“The internet media is the message and the message is ME!” said a Jedi Reverend recently.

By Longshanker aka @ergasiophobe

WHATEVER YOU think of pro-independence blog, Wings Over Scotland (WOS), it can’t be denied that it is a phenomenon – of sorts.

To a particular type on the Yes side of the independence campaign, it is a beacon of hope, a debunker of mainstream media bias, an oasis of refreshing truth in a desert of unquenchable lies. In effect, Stuart ‘Charlie’ Campbell is seen as a righteous herald in the vanguard of Nationalistic ‘Tribune journalism’.

To almost everyone else, who is aware of it at least, the blog is a relentlessly aggressive Nationalist Front diatribe of hate-preaching, false accusation, paranoia, evasiveness, polarising invective, risible inaccuracies, extreme intolerance and “creepy as f**k” coordinated surveillance.

But whether you’re for the blog’s hate preaching demagoguery or against it, it can’t be denied that the monomaniacal ego driven individual behind it has attracted a certain type of attention during the Scottish referendum debate.

A sketch based profile in today’s Financial Times is an accolade of sorts and one which might encourage the Nationalist hierarchy to officially embrace the blog and the blogger behind it.

For the Nationalists to do so would be a strategic mistake. Many of the reasons why are embedded in the FT profile itself. There are many others, but for the purpose of this piece we*’ll stick to the Financial Times sketch.

Consider this from the second paragraph in the FT piece:

“Stuart Campbell, a video game designer and writer, uses his website Wings Over Scotland to demand an end to the 307-year-old union with England, attacking what he sees as the “lies” and patronising tone of the anti-independence movement.”

He’s a writer alright and he definitely knows how to construct a sentence. We*’ll concede that one.

Video game designer is maybe taking things a bit too far though. According to a prominent games industry insider: He always takes lots of credit for Cannon Fodder 2. Jon Hare, his boss says he just did some level design. But most of those levels were submitted by entrants to a competition. So Stu did little but takes credit for a lot.”

The 24th mission of Cannon Fodder 2 is to find out how many of the previous 23 missions Mr Campbell actually designed himself.

The 25th mission of Cannon Fodder 2 is to find out how many of the previous 24 missions Mr Campbell actually designed himself. The toughest misson of the lot.

Further investigation revealed that Amiga Power magazine did indeed run a competition in August 1994 for its readers to design levels for Canon Fodder 2. Campbell allegedly took direct possession of those competition entries from the magazine and used them for the game whilst employed by Sensible Software. ‘Alert readers’ can come to their own conclusions.

As for the “lies” and patronising tone of the indy debate”, if only Campbell could see hissel as ithers see him.

It’s worth noting that Campbell is a frequent user of the Thatcherite sounding term ‘WetNat’ which he uses with impunity to attack pro-Yes independence activists who don’t happen to agree with his hate-preaching tone or manner. Presumably, they are also part of the “lies” and “patronising tone”

When it comes to assertion based puffery, Mr Campbell can match and exceed anyone in the campaign – and that includes half witted politicians such as Pete Wishart MP. The FT further reported:

“With just over 100 days to go, Mr Campbell believes the internet has been one of the reasons the Yes camp is still in contention.” – nothing to do with the fact that the Nationalists have the full resources, power and expense sheet of a devolved government behind them then.

The emphasis above, of course, should be on the word “believes”. Tangible evidence is notable by its absence.

Campbell further asserted: “I think we would be absolutely nowhere without the internet. If this referendum was taking place in 1979, when we had the first devolution referendum, we would have no chance. But now people have somewhere else they can go and check the facts.”

The implication is clear, due to his blog, the Yes campaign is still in the running. Phrases such as “ye couldnae make it up” might be more fitting for such a risible assertion, but it’s worth looking at the evidence provided and the wriggle room it gives for Campbell’s ‘ego out of control’ hyperbole.

The FT reported Wings Over Scotland as the “biggest” politically dedicated website in the Yes campaign and cites a figure of 1.7 million unique users.

Impressive sounding stats indeed and, as Mr Campbell is more than keen to point out, that figure is more than half of the Scottish electorate, “If we got 1.7m votes in the referendum we would win.” he said.

But just how much credibility does that 1.7 million figure actually have?

Not much is the simple answer.

Like Campbell’s admission that he does not know the ‘political leanings’ of his ‘alert readers’, the 1.7 million is also a ‘known unknown’ which is effectively a stab in the dark at the true number of actual readers.

According to Yehoshua Coren, a Google Analytics expert, unique visitors are not commensurate with unique people.

He said: “We use the term “visitor,” but technically this means “__utma Cookie.” Cookies are browser specific. So if I, Yehoshua Coren, visit example.com in a 5 minute span from 3 different browsers, GA (Google Analytics) reports that 3 “unique visitors” came to the site. Similarly, if 3 different people in my household visit example.com at different times throughout the day, this is 1 “unique visitor.” Lastly, if I visit a website repeatedly using Private Browsing (Firefox) or Incognito Mode (Chrome), etc, my cookies are cleared on browser close so I’ll be an additional “unique visitor” (with a ‘new visit’) on every subsequent visit.”

These impressive figures are 'unique device' figures. Almost three times the population of the whole of Britain views the Daily Mail online. Wow! But how many real people does that actually translate into?

These impressive figures are ‘unique device’ figures. Almost three times the population of the whole of Britain views the Daily Mail online per month. Wow! But how many real people does that actually translate into?

In effect, the 1.7m figure is mostly meaningless if you’re trying to base a unique number of actual people visiting the blog. And it’s clear from reading the FT piece that the 1.7m figure cited is a cumulative figure from Wings first foray in the indy blogosphere in 2011. In effect, the 1.7m figure is as big a sham as Campbell’s thinly veiled claim to have helped keep the Yes campaign in the running.

It’s uncommon now for AhDinnaeKen to visit the WOS blog, but over the past three years it’s fair to say that I’ve used three different browsers on my laptop, occasionally I’ve browsed a page from my smartphone or my tablet and I’ve also looked at it from my NetBook.

According to Google Analytics data collation, that counts as at least six unique visitors. And given that I also have Private browsing switched on in Firefox on both the netbook and the laptop, that figure is likely to be exponentially higher.

AhDinnaeKen can make the claim that we*’ve almost reached a quarter of a million unique visitors since Feb 2012 – but the majority of them appear to be spammers. And the rest are visits by people mistaking us* for the “Onion” and finding out we* were “unfunny”.

So, for someone who claims to attack the “lies” and patronising tone of the anti-independence movement”, Mr Campbell really needs to get a better grasp of reality and stop lying to and patronising his own ‘alert readers’ with such questionably meaningless figures.

The £50,000 or so that he raised from Indiegogo is laudable, but given that questions have been raised over whether the lottery winning Weirs had anything to do with it, it’s mostly moot – as well as somewhat diminished.

It was highly notable that Mr Campbell did not hold a press event with a big symbolic cheque proudly displaying the alleged figure of £150,000 raised emblazoned on its front – as suggested by political commentator Euan McColm.

This may or may not have happened. But given the general "evasiveness" and lack of tangible proof, 'alert readers' can make up their own minds.

This may or may not have happened. But given the general “evasiveness” and lack of tangible proof, ‘alert readers’ can make up their own minds.

Also worth remembering is the old proverb (in)actions speak louder than words. In this instance, for a struggling Yes campaign, such a press conference could have been a publicity coup and a clear demonstration of the alleged grassroots momentum and passion for the campaign.

As such, the money raised was more of a damp squib than a high flying firework.

Then we come to the real lacking in the whole outlook and persona of Mr Campbell’s Wings Over Scotland campaign: his undisguised anger toward and hatred of the ‘other’ side.

Campbell told the man from the FT, presumably with a straight face:

“I don’t want to find myself living in Scotland if it’s a No vote. I couldn’t bear it. I would feel I was living in the most cowardly nation on earth.”

AhDinnaeKen is incapable of seeing the logic, reason or sentiment behind such a fundamentally zealotous belief. Once you’ve stopped laughing, you realise that such a belief is the philosophy of the extremist. Condemning your nation’s people for taking a democratic decision with which you disagree is what is cowardly. It displays the monomania of the wee boy who takes his ball away because his team urnae winning. We* respectfully suggest that Mr Campbell should dry his eyes.

Such a person would also probably refer to allegedly fellow Scots as “cringing pitiful scum” for voting incorrectly. Er, haud on, Campbell already has.

Whether it’s a Yes or No vote, AhDinnaeKen disnae care. Just so long as it’s a convincing victory and we can all be protected from the raw and ugly forces which inevitably drive Nationalism – whether it’s disguised as ‘civic’ or ‘progressive’ or whatever snake skin oil it happens to be wearing that day.

Campbell and his labelling of non-Yes voters as “cowards” personifies that Nationalist ugliness. If the SNP or Yes campaign embrace Wings, or any of its proposed indyref events, then it will be a sure fire reinforcement of Professor Tomkins recent assertion that the Nationalists had stopped trying to win the referendum and were now merely trying to shore up their core vote. Tomkins

Wings Over Scotland is now officially recognised by the Electoral Commission as an official  Yes campaigner. It means that Wings should face some real and proper scrutiny rather than being mostly ignored by the media as an irritating irrelevance.

The FT alludes to what could come. When questioned on the “reverend” status the reaction of Mr Campbell was described as “sketchy“. Which it would be, of course. He claimed that he had trained for church orders – it’s worth mentioning that the Jedi religion refer to themselves as a church.

Most notably, the word “evasive” is also used by FT journo John Murray Brown in relation to Campbell’s alleged passion for independence and his irreconcilable adherence to living in England for almost half his adult life, referred to in the piece as “two decades”.

Derek Bateman said recently of James Naughtie and Andrew Marr: “The problem here is one of assimilation because after 25 or 30 years absorbing London culture and learning about it, embedding themselves there and bringing up families, they lose some aspect of what makes them Scots.”

Well said Derek. The same could just as easily be said of Wings Over Scotland's Stuart Campbell, could it not?

Well said Derek. The same could just as easily be said of Wings Over Scotland’s Stuart Campbell, could it not?

The same holds for Campbell. AhDinnaeKen doesn’t recognise Campbell’s aspect of Scottishness. It’s out of date, distant, nasty and not commensurate with anything remotely ‘civic’ or ‘progressive’. The vision of an independent Scotland put forward by Campbell conjures up an image of jackboots, state surveillance, authoritarianism and intolerance.

The SNP should bear this in mind. The unique reader figures cited for the WOS blog are a testable sham. The blog is undeniably popular, but do the figures stack up? The philosophy of Campbell is built on intolerance, ‘othering’ and hateful extremism. If the Nationalists embrace him in the lead up to Sep 18 then they will taint themselves with the same label.

And it will be an inescapably damaging label.

We* await with interest developments on the campaigning front.

Next!

* pluralis majestatis used throughout for illustrative unfunny comedy effect.

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Filed under Newspeak, Referendum, Wangs Watch