Statistics and assumptions

October 20, 2008 | Leave a comment

By far the most popular photo on my Flickr photo stream is this one:

Megalodon

It’s a picture of my sister in Cornwall, where she was a warden on Looe Island for a summer. It’s had somewhere in the region of 6300 views, accounting for over a sixth of the views on my Flickr account (which has 1800 photos) overall. Perhaps naturally, being a slightly overprotective brother, I thought, “the Internet is full of ratbags; clearly this is popular because it’s a woman in a swimsuit”. In fact, I came this close to deleting it entirely, but at the last minute I thought I’d better double-check.

I’m glad I did: thanks to the title I gave it, it’s on the second page of image search results for “megalodon” on Yahoo! Search. Bizarre, but far less icky.

Having access to visitor metrics is a useful thing. I now know, for example, that one site I run is inexplicably huge in China; I’ve also got a much better idea of Elgg’s main user hubs (something that we’ve previously had to guess at). Although I’m not keen on precise geolocation, or my details being kept in an identifiable way, it’s useful as a site owner to determine what I should be concentrating on, and the rough locations of the people who find the things I do interesting.

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