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Why did HN's traffic tank so hard recently? (alexa.com)
24 points by TekMol 6 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 26 comments

HN has the distinct privilege of not giving a single iota about traffic. That’s one of the things I like most about the site, a complete lack of monetization. It’s pure in this sense.

I wouldn't say HN doesn't care about traffic (half the reason HN exists is a marketing vehicle for YC/YC startups), but the HN staff would not make user-adversarial changes in the pursuit of traffic.

>That’s one of the things I like most about the site, a complete lack of monetization

Other than it being run by, and on behalf of, a SV startup accelerator, and being part of the SEO strategy for any number of startups and wantrepreneurs, and many posts (particularly in Show HN) being thinly veiled attempts at advertising, building hype or just trying to get money-senpai to notice them.

Other than that, sure.

I don't think the number of visits has dipped that much.

Only the rank relative to other web sites has dipped,

> HN has the distinct privilege of not giving a single iota about traffic.

If that was true, HN wouldn't exist.

> That’s one of the things I like most about the site, a complete lack of monetization.

But jobs are advertised here.

> It’s pure in this sense.

It's better than most, but it certainly isn't pure.

I don't believe anyone pays to advertise jobs here (correct me if I am wrong) but it is available for YC companies to post jobs

It monetizes. It’s a funnel for the incubator. It’s not run as a charity.

And that’s a good thing. I’m always concerned about using anything that I like that doesn’t have a profit seeking business strategy.

I’m wondering, is that a bad thing? I would think that the less traffic that HN gets via Google and the more it gets as a percentage from the prototypical tech crowd, the less comments/posts it would get that aren’t really conducive to intellectual discussions.

Alexa says that percentage of visits from a search engine has not dipped significantly. Maybe 15% to 13%.

Why do people rely on Alexa's traffic numbers?

Serious question - have they ever proven to be reliable?

They're excellent indicators yes.

Maybe it's all the posts about Erlang (https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=512145).

Similarweb doesn't show any significant change: https://www.similarweb.com/website/news.ycombinator.com#over...

Seems to be Alexa's bug, not HN's.

I'm also seeing a similar large drop in reddit traffic https://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/reddit.com

The Alexa chart is rank among other web sites. The Similarweb chart shows number of visits. Apples and oranges. It's possible that they are both correct. Similarweb shows a small decrease in number of visits.

It could be that there are thousands of sites with a similar number of visits. A small drop in number of visits might cause a huge drop in rank.

Also that other sites in the same 'bracket' increase number of visits. Even if HN's visits were increasing, they could still be rising faster.

Also when a site has been around for long you have to start taking into account the 'population growth'; how many new people gained access to the web this month? How many among those are tech-savy people? Does this proportion increase or decrease over time?

I'm not sure this is important at all for hackernews (benefit of people visiting it directly).

But there definitely has been a significant drop in keywords where HN is displayed on Google (probably because of the major algorithm “Medic” update on August 1st): https://i.imgur.com/qCTC0xd.png

What does the chart show?

Same trend for producthunt.com. Probably an issue of measurement, not actual traffic. Most likely due to ad blockers and the like.

Is there an estimate anywhere of how many people have browser extensions installed that report back to Alexa?

I note that for ycombinator it makes it clear figures are an estimate. To get proper stats you need to embed some JS, right?

I've had work to do.

I only just saw this, but HN's traffic hasn't tanked recently. Not sure what's going on with that Alexa chart.

Using it less to get more perspective outside of the startup bubble

google algo changes have been happening as well

Alexa says the number of visits from web searches hasn't changes that much.

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