We seem to be doing pretty well, if SimilarWeb stats are anything to go by.
The Unz Review is clearly the dominant website amongst the “Intellectual Dissident Right” (we are far ahead of VDARE, Takimag, and are even catching up on the normies at The American Cuckservative).
It is also strongly competitive amongst the “Intellectual Anti-Imperialist Left,” being far ahead of the Antiwar.com (I recall it being the alt news site during the Iraq War era), overtaking the libertarian LewRockwell, and even edging closer to Counterpunch, another stalwart of the old altsphere.
This is all the more remarkable considering that The Unz Review is run on a shoestring budget, its lack of attention to SEO or social media frills, and the bold notion of publishing both Far Right and Far Left content (I am still not sure if that repels or attracts people, on average). Meanwhile, we still manage to retain a high degree of intellectual respectability by hosting some of the most “serious” people like James Thompson.
I also included the more intellectual Alt Right publications (Kevin MacDonald’s Occidental Observer and Greg Johnson’s Counter-Currents). They are both pretty much an order of magnitude less influential than the Unz Review.
I have also included Social Matter, a central aggregator for the NRxsphere (thanks in large part to Nick B. Steve’s prodigious weekly roundups) and, at around 100,000 monthly visits, probably the most popular NRx blog overall – Nick Land’s Xenosystems is the 2 millionth most visited blog in the world, The Future Primaeval is likewise in the doldrums, only Dalrock that I’m aware of continues to eke out a presence around the 100,000 monthly visits mark. Otherwise, the public face of NRx is pretty much dead, confined to mailing lists, secret forums, and (perhaps) infiltration of the institutions.
It is also important to keep a wider perspective that in the large picture alt media remains a fairly marginal phenomenon. Any of the major flagships of the American MSM – NYT, WaPO, The Guardian, Buzzfeed, etc. – have two orders of magnitude more visits (hundreds of millions) than even the most prominent alt outlets like Counterpunch and this very publication. Even the very K-selected MSM outlets like Vox.com and FiveThirty Eight have an order of magnitude more visits. It’s an uphill struggle.
I haven’t bothered compiling detailed stats like Pumpkin Person did in 2015 since apart from The Unz Review, which hosts a huge percentage of active HBD/IQ writers, there is otherwise no real competition. Within the Unz ecosystem, Steve Sailer is of course by far the most dominant figure, accounting for perhaps half of our total traffic.
The single most influential independent HBD blogger as of today would be Robert Lindsay, the originator of the “Alt Left” (i.e. leftist HBD realists, as opposed to the object of Trump’s ramblings, for whom there is a much better name anyway: The Ctrl Left). In fairness, however, Lindsay’s was never a primarily HBD blog, and he has pretty much dropped writing about it all since Trump’s election. (Also, for whatever reason, Lindsay appears to have the strange distinction of being the only person on here to have his website blocked in Russia).
Otherwise, the most popular HBD/IQ blogger, with around 100,000 monthly visits, is… Emil Kirkegaard. This is especially remarkable since his writing tends to the highly technical and he doesn’t have even open comments.
Razib Khan and Greg Cochran both have around 50,000.
The others are barely competitive. Steve Hsu had a massive surge this past month, but is otherwise at around 20,000. hbd*chick has stopped blogging. Audacious Epigone isn’t prominent enough to get stats from SimilarWeb, through he surely deserves to with his Stakhanovite efforts in GSS mining. Ergo for Pumpkin Person, Lion of the Blogosphere, and several others.
I suppose it might also behove to mention gwern.net, a brilliant polymath who writes highly K-selected essays about the genomics of IQ and many other LessWrongy subjects like nootropics, cryptocurrencies, and the control problem. He also gets around 100,000 per month. However, classifying him as an IQ, let alone an HBD, blogger would be a massive stretch. He is much sooner part of the Less Wrong/SSC/”rationalist” cluster.
The Alt Right
The defining feature of the Alt Right-sphere in the past year has, of course, been the meteoric rise of Andrew Anglin’s The Daily Stormer – and its near complete oblitration in the wake of Charlottesville.
When you need to change domains every other week in between confinements to the deep web, you can’t have much of a popular readership. I suspect visitorship has plummeted by an order of magnitude.
This hasn’t helped the old-school Neo-Nazis of Stormfront, long in terminal decline, to recover. They have been overtaken by The Right Stuff podcast – apparently, the recent scandal about one of their members Mike Enoch having a Jewish wife did nothing but attract them publicity and more visitors – and now joins a bevy of other sites such as Amren and Heartiste at around the one million mark.
AltRight.com has disappointed to date. Apart from some of Vincent Law’s longer pieces, their content is much less intellectual than that of Radix Journal – some of the latter’s best writers such as Guillaume Durocher and Gregory Hood failed to make the move to the new venue – so visitorship numbers should be much higher. But they’re failing to accelerate.
As with the “Dissident Right”, the influence of the Alt Right should not be overestimated, even within the general Tea Party Plus/Alt Lite/pro-Trump movement. Visitorship is capped at around 5 million. The eponymous website of the movement has no more than a million. In contrast, just Breitbart/The Daily Caller/Infowars have around 150 million monthly visits between them. There is a similar gap on Twitter, with Richard Spencer having only 80,000 followers – that’s less than Alt Lite parvenus like Laura Loomer, to say nothing of the many hundreds of thousands following Mike Cernovich, Baked Alaska, and Jack Posobiec.
The Alt Russophiles
Russia is distinctive in that the volume of Western MSM lies and misrepresentations about it has traditionally been so bad that it is pretty much the only country to have carved out a sort of “niche” for itself within the Western Altsphere.
Ten to five years ago, this area of the Internet was essentially a constellation of pro-Russia blogs that ranged from the highly considered and data-heavy, to the unhinged and “Russia stronk” hurrah-patriotic (I myself got my start in blogging as “Da Russophile“). Since then, they have been gradually displaced by large websites – primarily Russia Insider (Charles Bausman) and The Duran (Peter Lavelle, Alexander Mercouris, and some others) – and the universal scourge of social media. There are still a few bloggers that fall into the old categories – Paul Robinson, Patrick Armstrong, and Mark Chapman come to mind – but their visitorship numbers are basically irrelevant (they are all at around the 4 millionth mark globally).
Russia Insider and The Duran remain the two behemoths of this world, with seemingly stable visitorship numbers. However, Russia Insider reprints many of its articles, while The Duran writes about many issues other than Russia. The Duran team launched Russia Feed half a year ago to provide an outlet more specifically dedicated to Russia matters, which seems to be growing steadily, but from a low base.
There were a number of pro-Russia outlets that proliferated at the outbreak of the Donbass world, with Fort Russ (Kristina Kharlova) being probably the most prominent of these – at least of those which survived in the long-term.
Unsurprisingly, many of these outlets have connections to the wider Altsphere. For instance, Russia Insider has good relations with AltRight.com, and they reprint my articles semi-regularly (with my permission). The Saker, as most probably know, also blogs at The Unz Review, as well as (occasionally) at The Duran. So does Israel Shamir, who also writes Russian language columns for RT Russian, Komsomolskaya Pravda, and Zavtra.
On this note, I am also going to have a post on the relative performance of Russian alt news outlets in the near future.
* CORRECTION: All the graphs should state “monthly visits,” not “monthly visitors.”