Web traffic rankings of political parties

We’re Number 2!!

In web traffic rankings, that is! Thanks to you, and all our great columnists, the Populist Party website is now the 2nd Most-Visited Political Party website in the U.S. (ranking by Alexa.com on 05-03-07) Click these links to see the Political Parties, based on Alexa traffic rankings as of May 3rd:

1. Democratic Party
2. Populist Party
3. Libertarian Party
4. Green Party
5. Republican Party
6. Constitution Party

The next step as the Populist Party gains a stronger web-presence, is to translate that traffic to building local grassroots movements. Phase 1 is to develop 8 regional Populist Party affiliates, and a number are in the works. The Midwest-Populist Party is alive and growing, and we’re slowly putting together the pieces of a new West Coast Populist Party too. We had originally hoped to launch in April - our current goal is late June/Early July.

Source: The Populist Party

18 Responses to “Web traffic rankings of political parties”

  1. Austin Cassidy Says:

    Aexa data must be even worse than I thought if the Populist party is more heavily trafficed than the Libertarian Party… and worse, the LP and GP get more visitors than the GOP? lol

  2. Donald Raymond Lake Says:

    As a result of spot lighting the awkward truth[s] of internal reform party sniping, including sueing the past [Valli Sharpe Geisler] and present [John Blare] California state Reform Party of California chair[s], any one connected with Citizens For A Better Veterans Home[s] is banned from email reflectors and [by extention] party print House Organs.

    Populist Party blogs [General Party and Midwest branch] has been a wonderful addition avenue of centrist, reformist, Moderate anti establishment expression. Thanks guys!

    REgarding: www.americanpopulist.org and www.calvets.blogspot.com

  3. Donald Raymond Lake Says:

    Mister Cassidy, as the former ‘publisher’ [Chairman of the National Communications Committee] of the Reform Party USA monthly print House Organ, I would tell you that there are lots and lots of disgrunaled and disappointed Radical Centrists ignoring the Dems and GOP with high traffic [yet low profile] envolvment via lesser known venues!

  4. Sean Haugh Says:

    Steve Gordon in the national office happened to call me while I was fact-checking this and I asked him about this. He said lp.org changed servers two weeks ago, which coincides with dropping off the map on Alexa.

  5. Michael Boldin Says:

    Austin:

    Thanks for posting this piece. It’s an interesting discussion.

    In our most recent newsletter sent to Populist Party subscribers on 05-03-07, we wanted to highlight the fact that the party is showing good growth in our online presence.

    I would think that any organization would celebrate this….but obviously, this is just one small piece to building a successful political party.

    Alexa (as well as all other ranking systems) is not an exact science - but it’s still considered a very good analysis by many web professionals. In reality, though, it’s just their statistical estimate of what’s happening online.

    Personally, I don’t find it surprising at all that smaller parties attract more web traffic than the GOP - as ardent supporters of that party have really been reduced to a minimum.

    When only half the country votes for either of the corporate-backed war parties (and half for each), it’s logical to think that there’s quite a few people out there hoping for, and looking for, a viable alternative.

    The absolute fact that LP.org consistently receives FAR more traffic than the Republican Party (and until recently, even more than the DNC), gives support to this opinion. The LP has always done a great job mobilizing online.

    I personally applaud and support their continued efforts for a libertarian America.

    Sean Haugh: You refer to a change of servers at LP.org. I can absolutely assure you that a change of servers would have nothing at all to do with Alexa’s internal tracking data unless the site was inactive for long periods, and people stopped going there because of that.

    I visit the site regularly and haven’t seen any downtime.

    A short explanation of Alexa: Data is gathered by people who have installed the Alexa toolbar on their browser. Alexa then tracks all sites those people visit - and makes an estimate of overall web traffic based on these stats.

    These stats, therefore, are user-based, and would have no bearing on any website changing their own servers internally. If someone with the Alexa toolbar visits a website, it’s recorded as a visit, no matter what servers that site is located on.

    I do hope that all organizations that support individual liberty continue to have a strong showing online - including sites like lewrockwell.com, mises.org, lp.org, constitutionparty.com and, of course, populistamerica.com.

    Only when organizations like these are more successful can liberty truly reign in this country.

  6. Citizens For A Better Veterans Home[s] Says:

    And in addition, Joe and Jane Six Pack are just sick [and bored!] of the Democans and the Republicrats!

  7. Joe Says:

    I am also interested in this discussion. I confess that the only national party website that I have done more than glance at in the last several years is the Constitution Party’s. A presupposition I start with is that having more web traffic for a website is better than less. I’m thinking that statement is so obvious that I shouldn’t have wrote it, but I’d like to know if anyone disagrees.

    Given that starting point, I would like to know what is driving the success of the Democrat and Populist Party websites: is it ideology or style? If it is a combination of both, how much of each? I stipulate that if it is mainly a factor of ideology, there isn’t much we can do about that. If the ideology of the Democrats is most popular, so their website gets visited the most, we aren’t about to change our ideology to compete and, being less popular, fewer people will ever visit our websites and be convinced to change their ideologies that way. If it is ideology that is driving the success of party websites, I don’t see how we can claim that Joe and Jane Six Pack are sick and bored of the Democans and Republicrats when the Democrat site is ranked first.

    On the other hand, if the success is based not so much on ideology but on design, ease of use, etc. then it seems to me that it would behoove us to make our websites more like the Democrat Party’s and the Populist Party’s.

    If I am missing something please let me know. I confess that the only national party site that I have done more than glance at in the last several years has been the Constitution Party site. I think their site looks fine. The last time they renovated I remember thinking that I liked the older version better, but now I don’t even remember what the last version looked like.

    I assume that most people reading this have little influence over their national party website, but I presume many of us have considerable influence over our state and local party websites and I am wondering how we can use this information to get more traffic on our own sites.

  8. Michael Boldin Says:

    Joe:

    A lot of great questions - might take a few essay-length responses to cover everything.

    My gut feeling, though, is that liberty is the ideology that Americans want…but there’s plenty of other factors that come into play when it comes to web “popularity.”

    I do believe that if all liberty-loving people continue to work hard to promote the ideals of freedom, that eventually the rest of America will have to take notice.

    A long haul ahead…

  9. Kyle B Says:

    Below is some information about alexa.com ranking of websites from wikipedia. I would say it is safe bet that the ranking for the populist party was probably manipluated in some way

    “There is some controversy over how representative Alexa’s user base is of typical Internet behavior. If Alexa’s user base is a fair statistical sample of the internet user population (e.g., a random sample of sufficient size), Alexa’s ranking should be quite accurate (see Sampling). In reality, not much is known about the sample and possible sampling biases. Alexa itself notes several examples (here and here)

    Another concern is whether Alexa ratings are easily manipulated. Some webmasters claim that they can significantly improve the Alexa ranking of less popular sites by making them the default page, by exchanging web traffic with other webmasters, and by requiring their users to install the Alexa toolbar; however, such claims are often anecdotal and are offered without statistics or other evidence”

  10. Michael Boldin Says:

    Kyle: You stated “I would say it is safe bet that the ranking for the populist party was probably manipluated in some way”

    I’m sorry you feel that the Populist Party is a dishonest organization, and apologize for anything we may have done to give you that impression.

    This “story” originated from a small piece of our own newsletter, which is sent out to a few thousand people every two weeks….we included it to show our readers that growth is occuring (which is important), and to thank them for their support. How this became “news” is quite surprising to me.

    It’s unfortunate, though, that these types of base attacks continue in the third party culture. And the information you provided also stated that such claims of manipulation in Alexa are “often anecdotal and are offered without statistics or other evidence.”

    The reality we face should drive us to encourage and support all those working to break into the system. We at the Populist Party are at the same time proud of the work we’re doing and supportive of the work of other parties as well.

    Liberty is the goal - for those of us working to achieve liberty, we’re all on the same side.

    For an alternative to Alexa, I can recommend www.Ranking.com - which currently shows the following:

    1. DNC
    2. RNC
    3. Greens
    4. LP
    5. Populist
    6. Constitution

    #3-5 are quite close, and statistically almost equal.

    The issue remains - web traffic, although important, is only a small piece of what makes a political party successful.

    We feel the Populist Party is doing well, but has a long long LONG way to go, and so do the rest of us in working to change the two-party system.

    I wish us all success…..

  11. Anthony Distler Says:

    I haven’t heard a whole lot on the Populist Party, though. They seem to have ideals, but they haven’t done a good job in sending out their message, in my opinion.

  12. Joe Says:

    “making them the default page, by exchanging web traffic with other webmasters, and by requiring their users to install the Alexa toolbar” doesn’t sound like manipulation to me, at least not in any pejorative sense. Those are ways of increasing web traffic, which is what the rankings are supposed to measure and what we want.

  13. [email protected] Says:

    Michael,

    You write:

    “Sean Haugh: You refer to a change of servers at LP.org. I can absolutely assure you that a change of servers would have nothing at all to do with Alexa’s internal tracking data unless the site was inactive for long periods, and people stopped going there because of that.”

    Actually, there are other reasons a server change could have such an effect. For example, if the old server was running an Alexa spoof script (yes, there are such scripts) and the new one isn’t.

    Alexa can be manipulated, intentionally or unintentionally, in several ways.

    In the case of the Populist Party, the manipulation is pretty obvious: If you look at Alexa’s traffic breakout, it shows an average of more than 20 pages views per day per user. For the sake of comparison, here are some of the most-used/”sticky” sites on the Net and their page views per user per day averages:

    Google: 6.x page views per day per user
    Yahoo: 14.9 page views per day per user
    Digg: 5.x page views per day per user

    Either a small group of people are loading Populist Party pages over and over to spoof Alexa, or the site’s owners are buying traffic, from a vendor whose display base includes a shitload of Alexa users (a lot of the “rotator” traffic sites do).

    I noticed the page view thing a few years ago. When I set up rationalreview.com, it immediately climbed into the top 100,000 on Alexa, and then into the top 50,000. I was pleased as punch.

    Then, when I switched from Windows to Linux, and didn’t have the Alexa toolbar on my desktop any more, the site’s rank plummeted. Since I entered and edited content on the site via a web utility, my own personal use of the site had been inflating its rank dramatically, as I discovered when I looked at the page view stats and realized that they had plummeted as well.

    Alexa has since developed a much bigger user base. It would probably take either several users spraining their fingers on the reload button for an hour or two a day, or some kind of automation setup (the latter could be unintentional via purchased traffic, as I mention), to hoax Alexa in the way that the Populist Party site is doing … but there’s absolutely no doubt that it’s an artificial inflation.

  14. Michael Boldin Says:

    [email protected]: Some interesting input, thanks for your professional opinion.

    While I’m sure what you say is valid, I can’t imagine any of our small number of volunteers wasting hours of time and resources to, as you say, “sprain their fingers on the reload button”.....it would be a massive waste of time when these same people could be out doing thing that actually built awareness and traffic on the web.

    As far as paid traffic - if you’d like to make a donation so we can afford some, we’ll be happy to accept!!

    I definitely see what you’re saying in regards to the pages per user, though - it’s unusually high. I assume it’s possible (although statistically unlikely) that a larger % of our regular site visitors have the toolbar than on other sites….in your opinion, how many people would it take to skew the stats?

    I again return to the fact that the only reason this issue exists is because we decide to thank our newsletter base for being loyal readers and visitors to our site - this was not sent out as a press release or anything of the like. It’s nice that Thirdpartywatch decided to post it, though.

    Internally, we can see strong and consistent growth in our web traffic, and even if alexa or ranking.com or anyone else is showing skewed results for our site, we are still quite proud of the hard work that we do.

    It’s funny that we’re spending all this time talking about web metrics rather than real issues….and I’m at fault for engaging in this discussion as well.

    Personally, I’d rather talk about ending the income tax, the federal reserve and forming a government that strictly follows ALL ten amendments of the Bill of Rights…

  15. [email protected] Says:

    Michael,

    Let me start by apologizing for my tone, and make one thing clear:

    There’s DEFINITELY something skewing the site’s traffic stats, but it is NOT necessarily intentional either on the part of the site’s operators or anyone else.

    You write:

    “I definitely see what you’re saying in regards to the pages per user, though - it’s unusually high. I assume it’s possible (although statistically unlikely) that a larger % of our regular site visitors have the toolbar than on other sites….in your opinion, how many people would it take to skew the stats?”

    I haven’t dug deeply into the site, but from the front page, there aren’t that many internal links—25, maybe 30. It strains belief to think that your regular users would visit the site every day AND click on nearly all those links every day, which is what it would take to produce such a high average of page views per user per day from that source.

    Is there a blog or forum behind the front page somewhere—a blog that has its commenting content on-site, and that a number of users post to multiple times every day? That would drive the page views per user per day up. But not, I think, probably that much. Third Party Watch’s audience has a fairly dedicated set of commenters who visit multiple times per day and often post several comments each, but its page views per user per day average on Alexa is still 1.6 average over the last three months.

    Don’t discount the “paid traffic” possibility. You may have fans who stick the site’s URL into “rotator” sites on which they have spare credits; and the people who view those rotators for credits of their own tend to have a high proportion of Alexa toolbars, because they use those toolbars to drive their OWN site stats up as well. I don’t have anything against paid traffic—I’ve used it myself, and as long as it’s not used dishonestly, it’s just another tool that can be useful in establishing name recognition, finding new readers, etc.

    Finally, you’re right—issues are more important than obscure mechanics. I look forward to hearing more from, and about, the Populist Party.

    Regards,
    Tom Knapp

  16. Michael Boldin Says:

    Tom:

    Thanks for the reply - some good info, I appreciate you giving all this input.

    Just a quick response….We do not have commenting, a forum, or anything else active on our site at this time. Although there’s only a small-ish number of navigational links on our home page, our site does currently have 8,642 pages, so there’s quite a bit that people can navigate through to.

    Page views of 20/users is still too high to be believable, especially when parsing our own internal server data, I’m seeing anywhere from 3-5/user on a month to month basis.

    Does alexa focus more on page views or unique ip’s/visitors on the site? For the month of April, for example, www.populistamerica.com had 231,651 unique website visitors.

    But, moving forward, I find two very good things about this post today - 1) I wasn’t very familiar with thirdpartywatch, although I’ve stopped by once or twice in the past and 2) This is the first I’ve heard of Rational Review, which looks to be a great libertarian site. I just subscribed to two of your RSS feeds (feature and commentary), and am looking forward to reading more.

    I’m sure we’ll have a chance to discuss the issues more in the near future.

  17. Kyle B Says:

    Michael,

    “It’s unfortunate, though, that these types of base attacks continue in the third party culture.”

    This actually wouldn’t apply to me since I am a Democrat. I just find following third parties very interesting and would like to see a couple parties emerge that could compete with Democrats and Republicans.

    In the post I made I was just pointing out that something didn’t make sense that a party the size of the Populist Party was ranked so high. Felt that people should consider that these rankings were probably not accurate. In no way was I attacking the Populist Party itself. I apologize if my earlier post came across that way

  18. [email protected] Says:

    Michael,

    You write:

    “Does alexa focus more on page views or unique ip’s/visitors on the site?”

    It doesn’t really focus on either. It collects stats on unique visitors (I’m not sure whether it discerns the uniqueness of visitors by IP, cookie or some kind of identifier built into the toolbar, though) and on page views per visitor. It ranks sites in various ways—overall traffic, which I’m pretty sure is NOT dependent on unique visitor numbers, “reach” (the percentage of total users who visit the site), etc.

    Glad you like Rational Review. We also provide the newsletter by email (there’s a subscribe form on the page). We’ve now published every non-holiday weekday for 1,140-odd consecutive issues. Content quality is in the eye of the beholder, of course, but we’re damn reliable ;-)

    Regards,
    Tom

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