Skip to comments.Is Google Blocking FreeRepublic.com?
Posted on 02/22/2009 5:58:58 PM PST by Richard Poe
CONSERVATIVE COMANCHE blogger David Yeagley is enjoying a record surge in Web traffic, following the redesign of his BadEagle.com Web site. But you'd never know it from reading our Google Analytics report.
While most traffic counters show Yeagley's readership skyrocketing since the January 14 relaunch, Google Analytics shows Yeagley in a nose-dive. Part of the problem appears to be that Google is ignoring any traffic we get from the popular, conservative discussion board FreeRepublic.com.
As the designer of Yeagley's new site, I was pleased to see a big traffic spike on January 31, two weeks after our relaunch. The spike came largely from FreeRepublic.
The charts above -- both from WordPress Stats -- indicate that David Yeagley's BadEagle.com blog got a spike of 1,078 page views on January 31, at least 413 of which came from FreeRepublic.com. The chart below -- from Google Analytics -- shows no spike on January 31, and no sign of any traffic from FreeRepublic.com.
On January 30, a Freeper calling herself Sioux-san had posted Dr. Yeagley's article "Michael Medved and `White Women'" at FreeRepublic.com. She graciously provided a link back to BadEagle.com, where the original article appeared.
Over the next 24 hours, some 413 Freepers followed that link back to BadEagle, according to our internal traffic counter WordPress Stats. In its list of referring Web sites, WordPress clearly indicated that those 413 page views came from FreeRepublic, and at least 326 of them specifically from the article posted at FreeRepublic by Sioux-san.
Strangely, our Google Analytics account showed no sign of any visits from FreeRepublic during the same 24-hour period. Not a single visit. Not a single Freeper. Not one.
Indeed, while Site Meter and WordPress Stats showed a big spike in our traffic on January 31, Google Analytics showed a drop.
With its massive traffic, FreeRepublic ought to be a kingmaker on the Internet. It ought to be able to make or break other Web sites by choosing which sites to grace with its traffic and which sites to ignore.
Our experience with the mysterious, vanishing traffic spike of January 31 may indicate that liberal Internet gatekeepers have found a way to curtail FreeRepublic's influence -- and the influence of conservative Web sites generally.
My point and question still remains “ have you contacted Google Analytics to get their answer as to why’? If not coming to FR for the answer for Goggle Analytics’ operation, imo. It appears you must embed a code on your web page for Google Analytics to work. Has that been done correctly for Google Analytics as you seem to be getting tracking for other web monitors? If has been embedded corrrectly then your issue is with Google Analytics not FR as I’ve stated before. JMO of course.
Short form answer
My point was that you used the scary term "blocking" when you really only meant "ignoring", and I suspected that you did so intentionally, to gain readership and increase hits on your personal blog. That is, you posted the article in "news", not "blogs", where it belonged, IMO.
I called you on a point of confusion. You conflated two very different things in your post, I think intentionally.
1. First, per the scary, attention-grabbing headline, "Is Google Blocking FreeRepublic?", I'm sure you're aware that the term "blocking" refers to prohibiting access. Ask 100 websurfers what that means, and 99 will respond (incorrectly, unfortunately) that it means Google is keeping them from accessing FreeRepublic.
A thread to that effect appears every week or so, universally caused by the websurfer having a DNS issue, or their ISP is having trouble peering at the backbone, or some such mundane cause.
That's why I tried to explain that Google cannot block FREEREPUBLIC.COM on the internet, and that symptoms that might suggest to a fearful FR websurfer that one site is blocking another are almost universally caused by something else unrelated to the site accused of "blocking". Most often it's a DNS hiccup somewhere else on the net.
As I'm sure you also know, there are a lot of FReepers who are convinced that Google is the Antichrist or at least one of his minions on earth, that Google is out to destroy FreeRepublic.com, and eagerly snap up any alleged evidence of same. Your headline intentionally fed that fear, which I consider unworthy of a serious post.
What you meant to convey was that "Is Google blocking FreeRepublic from itself?", which is obviously untrue with regard to searches, since searches on Google with "site:freerepublic.com" return a deluge of successful hits.
2. Second, that it appeared that (as you said in the body of the article), "Google is ignoring [FreeRepublic]" in the context of its Analytics surveys.
Maybe it is. I can't say for sure, I'm not privy to that info, and neither are you. You have identified an interesting event. You are suggesting a worrisome cause (intentional bias against conservative websites), which I find unlikely because it's far too easy to see.
> Give me an actual theory which can be put to the test
I'd love to, but these events are in the past. Neither you nor I can possibly recreate the network conditions and related circumstances on the internet (which constantly change and are largely go unrecorded in any form we can find now) that could have caused one site to not see another site for hours or a day or two.
The pertinent datum, which I must have missed in your article, is: Is this ignoring still going on?
If it was a glitch (albeit an annoying one to you), then I maintain that "glitches happen", and sorry this was a troubling one.
But to claim that this is somehow evidence of a large coordinated liberal effort to silence conservative websites makes you sound like Hillary with the VRWC claims.
The simplest explanation for "why this might have occurred" is that Google screwed up. How? Got me, I wasn't there. But remember how for an hour on a recent Saturday morning, Google accidentally labeled every website on the internet as being "unsafe for your computer", including google.com itself? All due to a single character (one! a forward-slash, if you're curious) in a text file, maintained by a human being.
Your point in the article is, "OMG Look what happened on the internet! Come read my blog!!"
My point is simply, "Yep. Stuff happens on the internet. It isn't all news."
That said, if you have evidence of continuing refusal on the part of Google to acknowledge FreeRepublic.com, I suggest that you contact Google immediately and present your evidence. Posting a scary thread on FR doesn't do anything to directly address the problem; it merely stirs up the FR readership. Google employees doubtless include a few FR members, but that's not the direct route to fixing a problem.
You -are- joking, right? Sheesh. Please calm down. Nothing of the sort is going on.
Compare the influence of Google Analytics to Google Search. Then do a Google Search with "site:freerepublic.com", and you see:
Results 1 - 20 of 1,420,000 English pages from freerepublic.com. (0.18 seconds)A million and a half page hits immediately.
Yep, Google is blocking FreeRepublic. Netcraft confirms it.
No, you simply didn't get the answer you wanted.
You wanted confirmation of your worst fears, and to drive traffic to your blog. Instead, you got, "Nope, probably just a net glitch or an error in your own stuff. Please pimp your blog over in the 'Bloggers' area."
And you're surprised and shocked that the "intelligent people with greater knowledge of the internet" didn't agree with you. Oh well. ;-)
I hope your day improves.
This is certainly true. I searched google images yesterday for freerepublic.com and paulycy and the only image (of many) that I posted that showed up was an old image talking about global warming. Not one other image showed up.
It seems to me that there would either be a lot or none. This selective filtering is at least suspicious in my mind.
One of the ones that seemed to disappear was the comical photo released of Obama flexing recently sculpted pecs. They seem to have been removing and cleansing the image archive of .gifs and .jpgs that portray Obama negatively, including certain cartoons and caricatures. That does not seem to be the case with Bush, for instance. Or even McCain.
If there is a double standard that calls into question the search engine’s claim to being a source of online information. Obviously, a political site itself, censoring non-liberal content and thereby distorting the news and reality. Like the Orwellian removal of words from a dictionary.
Then perhaps you should have called your article something other than "Is Google Blocking FreeRepublic.com?"
Google analytics requires the java code at the bottom of every page you wish to track under a certain url.
Word press does not require that script (or a similar one) to function.
It is that simple. You have Google Analytics set up incorrectly.
> BadEagle.com is not my blog... When you accuse me of "pimping" "my" blog, you are, in effect, spreading disinformation, misleading your fellow Freepers, and abusing your privileges as a FreeRepublic user. In future, please refrain from posting false or misleading information on this thread.
Ahem. Step away from your high horse, please.
Please take a moment and click the link you provided for the post above:
My profound apologies if I misinterpreted "POE.COM" as being related to "Richard Poe". I mean, your picture and name are all over the site...
Stop playing word games, please.
You're entirely welcome to post stuff from your blog, over in the "Bloggers" area. Or aren't you aware that that area exists specifically because the rest of us aren't all that interested in having blog posters mixing their personal blog stuff in with actual news? Blog posts are one step this side of "Vanity" posts; the only functional difference is a blogger bothers to set up a site for their stuff.
That said, IF you are able to ascertain through a pattern of repeated surveys, that Google Analytics is indeed ignoring FreeRepublic.com, AND you can demonstrate that your reasonable attempts to get their attention and correct the problem have been met with refusal, THEN you've got some news to report.
Many of us, including myself, would be fascinated to learn of this. I'm not apathetic about a problem like that. I'm apathetic about Google Analytics experiencing what appears to be a glitch for a day.
I've spent as much time on this as I care to. If you wish to respond, I'll read and consider your response. But I've heard your position, I've said my piece, and since we seem to disagree on pretty obvious stuff, further disagreement isn't likely to be productive.
Richard, you've been on FreeRepublic since 2002, a couple years longer than I have. I feel a little funny correcting someone who's got more time on the forum than I do. Nevertheless, you're talking like a noob (no knowing what link you provided for a post). I hope it's only temporary.
Have a great day.
From Google Analytics: Paste the Google Analytics tracking code into each of your website pages and tracking begins immediately.
Yep. That's a better explanation that my suggestion of a glitch in the net between FR and Google Analytics. Well done.
Gee, maybe somebody spent far too much time constructing a conspiracy scenario to drive traffic to their blog, and now might have to admit they just made a programming error.
The part about "tracking begins immediately" suggests that a careful programmer could have had immediate feedback on whether it was working or not.
Let's see how long it takes to confirm/deny your speculation, or whether this thread just quietly dies out... ;-)
I stand corrected, and apologize for know realizing that.
We are all guests here in Jim's virtual living room, and I appreciate my opportunity to post and discuss things here, just as you appreciate yours.
Go for it. ;-)
> It's getting a little difficult to keep track of the many personal attacks directed against me...
Actually I meant only to give you a hard time for your choice of forum area -- you will note I did not say you shouldn't post the article. You've wised me up to the fact that you're permitted to do so, so I have backed down as above.
I'm sorry if it seemed personal. The only personal comment I made (intentionally anyway) was about the links (one site vs. another) which you've explained. I apologize for any offense I gave.
You may rest assured that you can enjoy the rest of the thread without fear of further hard time from me.
That said, the issue of whether your article describes a noxious and unethical action on the part of Google, or a programming error on their or your part, or a glitch on the net, is still up for resolution. So I offer a further thought.
I would presume that there are other blogsites of conservative (or other) orientation, which get significant hits via FreeRepublic, and which use Google Analytics to track hits and whatnot. Presumably they have code to activate G.A. Are any of them reporting problems? (Not being a G.A. user myself, I can't offer knowledgeable advice on how to look that up, but I suppose it's available.) If G.A. has the "influence" you attribute to it, the information surely must be public at some level. I remain curious to know how this shakes out.
FWIW, I distrust Google intensely, and as Director of my company's IT/SysAdmin group, I have some pretty strong rules about not dealing with Google, other than their search. No Gmail, no toolbars, etc. If they're doing biased stuff in G.A., even though I think it's very unlikely, I am very interested to know.
Best of luck with your investigation!
> ...for know realizing..
"for not realizing"
I won't begin to describe the edit sequence that produced that one. ;-)
> If your concern is that "liberal gatekeepers" are somehow "limiting the influence" of FreeRepublic by manipulating survey results, well... who cares? ... I, and most other like-minded conservatives and libertarians, don't pay attention to internet surveys. Surveys are untrustworthy even at their best.
Then I wrote:
> If they're doing biased stuff in G.A., even though I think it's very unlikely, I am very interested to know.
Yes, that's a change in my position. You've convinced me that it's worth following up on this one.
I’m sure your point is valid.. okay maybe I’m not that sure, I sometimes exaggerate... but we just have so much to be alarmed about these days it is hard to get real serious about some stuff. I mean, you yourself admit that you aren’t really sure about this while a couple of hundred miles south of me nobody disputes the fact that drug violence along our southern border threatens to spill over into Texas, our new president appears to be totally incompetent and possibly in the process of destroying our economy, etc. I hope you can get the Google thing sorted out and I wish you nothing but the best in that effort.