Breakdown of @HackerNews Visitors

Ever wondered who else read HackerNews? You might have made friendships, found new business partners or got great amounts of traffic from HackerNews. I was interested in what the average HackerNews reader runs on their computer, where they are living and how engaged they are when a HackerNews reader clicks on a link. To satisfy my interest, I pulled the numbers for Slashdot and did some analysis... Here it goes:

Since August 1st, in the last 6 months, more than 115,000 people came to visit Slashdot from HackerNews. Several stories featured and discussed on Slashdot made the homepage of HackerNews, of which the top 3 were:
1. Rob ‘Cmdr Taco’ Malda resigns from Slashdot (13,828 pageviews) (HN link)
2. Canonical drops CouchDB from Ubuntu One (5,185 pageviews) (HN link)
3. Sopa creator in tv/film/music industry pocket (4,839 pageviews) (HN link)

With 115,000 visits, I believe I have a big enough sample to analyze the HN users to find some commonalities and to profile the tech set up of their computers. For the analysis I used the Google Analytics data from Slashdot. For simplicity sake, I created an Advanced segment, which will generate all reports in fast-mode. This means the reports are based on Sampled data in GA! Learn more about fast mode in GA at the Google Support pages.

HackerNews visits to Slashdot for the last 6 months in 2011First, let's breakdown the traffic, these 115K visits, a little further.

  • 115,812 Visits
  • 63,956 Unique Visitors
  • 155,569 Pageviews
  • 1.34 page/visit
  • 2.51 Ave time on site
  • 75.22% bounce rate
  • 41.49% New visits
Compared to the average numbers of the Slashdot visits in that same period, HackerNews visitors were spending half the amount of time on the site, there were twice the percentage of new visitors and all these people were just passing through, bouncing back with a much higher rate than the average Slashdotter. I guess we can say that Slashdot has a very loyal, sticky audience, on average!

Where are HN users from?

Off course it would be interesting to see where these 115K HackerNews readers are living. In Google Analytics the location report is a great tool to see where your website visitors are coming from.

Which countries do these HackerNews visitors coming from?

The majority of HN visits to Slashdot came from people located in the USA. There is a large gap between the US and the #2.

World map of HackerNews visits

Which countries do HackerNews visitors come from?The top countries with the visits are:

  1. United States 70,524 visits
  2. Australia 10,099 visits
  3. India 4,839 visits
  4. United Kingdom 4,148 visits
  5. Canada 3,457 visits
  6. France 2,074 visits
  7. Netherlands 2,074 visits
  8. Germany 1,728 visits
  9. Norway 1,037 visits
  10. Argentina 691 visits
I would like to mention here, that the fast-access mode in GA is rounding up the total reported visits in some cases. This is causing a large number of countries to report same amount of visits. Number 10 to number 24 all report 691 visits in the last 6 months. As this number is so small, it's insignificant to the overall analysis. So if you live in Brazil, Italy, Israel or Pakistan, consider yourself lucky to share the #10 spot with Argentina!

Which Cities do these HackerNews readers call home?

The outcome of which city was sending the most visits from HackerNews to /. in the last 6 months was surprising to me. Based on the US sending the most visits from HN to Slashdot; I would have expected a city in the US to have the top spot on this list. Some would say this pends how GA slices the data, where the Bay Area is a good contender for the first spot based on the high concentration of high tech. However, would you have thought the #1 spot would be a shared nomination between an Australian & US city: Brisbane and San Antonio?
City map for HackerNews visits to Slashdot
Not as I expected, but the #1 spot for cities HN came from is shared between two cities. One is Brisbane, the other is San Antonio.
  1. HackerNews visitors city Brisbane 9,679 visits
  2. San Antonio 9,679 visits
  3. San Francisco 8,988 visits
  4. Redwood City 6,222 visits
  5. Oakland 5,531 visits
  6. Bangalore 4,148 visits
  7. New York 2,419 visits
  8. London 2,074 visits
  9. Bellevue 2,074 visits
  10. Paris 1,728 visits
Number 11 & 12 have the same number of visits as Paris. Both Los Angeles and Sydney were reporting 1,728 visits in the last months to Slashdot from HackerNews. If you would add up all the Bay Area cities, San Francisco; Redwood City and Oakland, the Bay Area would have been #1 with 20,741 visits! 

What browser is the favorite for HN users?

It has become clear from the visitor numbers I've analyzed, HackerNews readers use Internet Explorer very limited. The browser of choice for the HN visitor is Chrome. It's impressive how Chrome is seeing high growth in market share in the browser wars, especially in tech savvy communities. For Slashdot's HackerNews visits, the browser shares were dominated by Chrome to an extend I didn't expected.Browser of the HackerNews visitors to Slashdot

  1. Chrome 67,104 visits
  2. Firefox 21,434 visits
  3. Safari 21,088 visits
  4. Internet Explorer 2,765 visits
  5. Android Browser 1,728 visits
  6. Mozilla Compatible Agent 345 visits
  7. Opera 345 visits
You could say, based on these numbers, the role of Internet Explorer in the browser market is finished!

What Operating System is the choice for HN users?

The operating system of choice for the HackerNews visitor is not a landslide victory for Apple Mac OS, but there is a large gap before Windows appears on the #2. Linux takes a respectable third place, after which the mobile OS' are coming in on #4,5 and 6. Operating system of the HackerNews visitor

  1. Macintosh
  2. Windows
  3. Linux
  4. iPad
  5. iPhone
  6. Android

It would be interesting to see how the mobile operating systems take a larger share over time.

Of the Window users 84% is on Windows 7, while only 2% of HackerNews visitors rocking it on Windows Vista. Thirteen percent is still on Windows XP. Just 1% of Windows users are on Server 2003.

Screen resolution of the HN user?

And last, I wanted to see what kind of large screens HackerNews readers are using. The larger the screen resolution might indicate a very large screen!

  1. Screen resolution of the HackerNews visitors1440x900 20,051
  2. 1280x800 14,865
  3. 1366x768 14,174
  4. 1920x1080 13,828
  5. 1920x1200 13,136
  6. 1280x1024 8,297
  7. 1680x1050 7,951
  8. 1024x600 4,494
  9. 768x1024 4,494
  10. 1024x768 3,457

 

Engagement of the HackerNews visitors

As the image at the top shows, the Average HackerNews visitor to Slashdot was not very engaged. With a bounce rate of ~75%, and 1.4 pages per visit and an average of 2.4 minutes on the site. These engagement numbers are considerable lower than the average Slashdot visitor.

Conclusion

On my Chrome browser, I have HackerNews set as the homepage. Every time I start my browser I can read instantly what is happening in the technology industry. HackerNews can bring any website a large amount of traffic, but you should always pay attention to what kind of traffic you need to be successful. If you are running a media company, and get paid based on CPM's, HackerNews can be a great source of traffic.

Let me know if you would like to see these kind of analysis more often on different referrals.

Data: The data showcased in this post has been derived from the Slashdot Google Analytics for the period of August 1st - December 20th.

Disclaimer: The data presented in this analysis has been derived from Google Analytics on Slashdot. It represents a small subset of the total. The comments included herein are my own and don’t necessarily represent Geeknet’s opinions

Slashdot Popular Stories in Hall of Fame

Everybody who knows me a little knows I'm a data junkie and a Technology news addict. I love to dig into data, referrals for websites, and pull all this data into excel spreadsheets to see patterns, make sense of trends and find hidden gems in the data to learn what makes a website popular for the visitors. See my one of my last posts on how Slashdot got a lot of extra traffic based on top search rankings on keywords. One of the reasons for me joining Geeknet, was that I would get inside information on what stories do well on Slashdot, not only from a comments perspective, but more from a traffic point of view.

Slash Stats AKA Hall of Fame

I'm very happy that we just rolled out the Slash Stats pages last week, so I can keep track of the most popular stories on Slashdot on a weekly, monthly and quarterly basis. And not only the stories are highlighted based on a number of activity metrics, we also added the people who submitted the most stories or comments. You could brand these pages as a leaderboard, but we like to call it the Hall of Fame!

Slashdot Hall of Fame for statistics on popular stories on SlashdotFind the Slashdot Stats here:

Check Your Own Slashdot Statistics

Even better, when you have a Slashdot account, and you can log in, you can see your own statistics on Slashdot as well, where your recently submitted stories and comments. This way you can clearly track how much you are contributing to the discussions and the value to the overall community. More competitive folks can track how many comments they would need to break into the top commenters for that week.

Happy Hunting...

Slashdot popular statistics on stories and comments, also your own leaderboard when you are logged in

 

Thanks Hackers for the extra Traffic

Back at the end of August, Linux.com got hacked, Kernel.org got hacked. The sites were compromised and the Linux foundation took the whole linux.com site down to make sure no visitors were getting infected. Kernel.org was also taken down where the site showed a note with the following text:

'Earlier this month, a number of servers in the kernel.org infrastructure were compromised. We discovered this August 28th. While we currently believe that the source code repositories were unaffected, we are in the process of verifying this and taking steps to enhance security across the kernel.org infrastructure.'

It was silent for more than a month, until finally on October 5th it was reported that Kernel.org was back up. During that month of the site being down, Google actually took the site out of the index. The right thing to do, as there was nothing on the domain. A search for the exact domain did not return the homepage of the site? Or should have been there a link at the top of the SERP for the Kernel.org website, where a note was displayed discussing the situation.

Google SERP, Kernel.org removed

The two top stories showing up in the SERP because Google removed the Kernel.org domain were from Slashdot, where a lively discussion about the situation was being held. I was just focussed on the extra traffic on the Kernel.org keyword we were getting, which is clearly displayed in the traffic graph below here. You can see when Google took out the domain Kernel.org, and when the site got fixed.

Slashdot traffic on Keyword Kernel.org

So many times I've been happy I had taken the effort to make a screenshot of the SERP when I saw a peak in Keyword traffic and found the reason after a little investigation. How many times does it happen to you that you would like to explain something weird in the SERP's, and you forgot to make a screenshot of what you just have witnessed. Hard to explain my story on the Kernel.org position 1 & 2 if you only have this screenshot in which Kernel.org dominates the top of the SERP (Although the fresher story from Slashdot of Kernel.org being back online does make it to the first page):

Kernel.org dominates the first results on Kernel.org

As I have done SEO for a large e-commerce site for so long, I gain new insights into the SEO for News sites, where the story  is only relevant a short period of time, and your traffic volume is highly dependent on the competition for the positions in the SERP's, the search volume and the quality or your content.

Top Stories on Slashdot

Now that I have been able to look around behind the scenes and got my hands on the internal analytics for Slashdot, we are kicking around with the idea to expand the push of the most popular stories on Slashdot beyond the Popular page.

In Google Analytics you can easily put in a filter for the url of the individual stories, and see which ones were most popular in terms of page views for any given time. For instance, here are the top 10 most popular stories from last week (7-13 August)

1. Cancer Cured By HIV
2. Ask Slashdot Self Hosted Gmail Alternatives
3. 8 Grams of Thorium Could Replace Gasoline In Cars
4. S&P's $2 Trillion Math Mistake
5. New Drug Could Cure Nearly Any Viral Infection
6. Anonymous Vows To Destroy Facebook
7. Facebook We Have Proof Ceglias Contract Is Fake
8. Ask Slashdot Am I Too Old To Learn New Programming Languages
9. Science Fair Entry Shuts Down Airport Terminal
10. Macs More Vulnerable Than Windows For Enterprise

Or the most popular stories for the months of July

1. Zuckerberg Quits Google Over Privacy Concerns
2. Facebook Trapped In MySQL a Fate Worse Than Death
3. Microsoft Developer Made the Most Changes To Linux 30 Code
4. Why Your Dads 30 Year Old Stereo Sounds Better Than Yours
5. Watch Out Linux GNU Hurd Coming
6. Pastafarian Wins Right To Wear Colander In License Photo
7. Google Bid Pi Billion Dollars For Nortel Patents
8. Facebook Bans Google Ads
9. Dropbox TOS Includes Broad Copyright License
10. Chinese Officials Need a Better Photoshopper

These could include stories submitted in just the day before the time period started, as I only filter on the story URL. But as Slashdot does include the actual date of the submission in the URL, we can even do some more advanced filtering and only showcase those stories submitted in the period AND very popular. But I guess you would always favor the stories submitted at the beginning of the week this way.