The New Republic and The Nation certainly rank as the oldest and historically most influential opinion publications in America, the former now a century old and the latter a century and a half.
More than most people, I am well aware of their enormous legacy and historical archives, given the considerable time and effort I spent incorporating their digitized print issues into my content-archiving system during the 2000s. Although my archival coverage is hardly complete, it does include some 4,500 TNR issues containing nearly 85,000 articles along with more than 5,600 issues of The Nation and over 110,000 articles.
At the time I launched this small alternative-media webzine in 2014, the notion of seriously competing with such august and venerable publications would have seemed utterly outlandish. Instead, my primary motive was to obtain a convenient venue for my own future writings, necessitated by my sudden and unexpected purge from The American Conservative, whose publisher I had been since 2007. While I had devotedly read The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal every morning for three decades, I also spent my days obtaining very different views by browsing various alternative websites of the Left and Right, so it seemed to me that making selections of the latter’s perspectives conveniently available on a single website might serve a useful purpose.
These speculations have now been born out far more fully than I would ever have expected, and I’m extremely pleased—indeed totally stunned!—to announce that our Alexa Traffic Rank has now pulled significantly ahead of both The New Republic and The Nation. Even two years ago, both those prominent publications had three times our ranking, and a year ago were still ahead by nearly a factor of two. But if the current Alexa figures are to be believed, we are now roughly 15% ahead of TNR and 35% above The Nation, with these trends reflecting both our rise and their decline in roughly equal measures. We have also pulled within 15% of Foreign Policy.
An important factor behind this development has apparently been an increase in the accuracy of Alexa’s traffic measure for our webzine. Over the last couple of months, I had noted a considerable rise in our actual traffic as indicated by Google Analytics, which automatically excludes automated bots and other meaningless chaff. But for some reason this major improvement had not at all been reflected in our Alexa rankings or pageview estimates, which are apparently based upon some sort of sampling system. This discrepancy irritated me and examining the Alexa website, I noticed that it offered the option of incorporating a bit of their code in one’s own website pages, thereby allowing Alexa to exactly determine one’s true traffic. Soon after we did so, our Alexa numbers jumped dramatically, reaching the new heights described above.
Our new-found relative ranking is especially remarkable given the likely importance of “legacy” articles in generating traffic for long-established websites. Obviously, very popular articles from ten or twenty years ago, having widespread links and top search results, help to ensure a steady flow of residual readership to the website that originally published them. Despite the extreme youth of our own webzine, each month at least 3-4% of our traffic now comes from a small handful of such old articles, and therefore I wouldn’t be surprised if the corresponding figure were closer to 20-30% for some of our far better-established competitors, making our current success even more surprising. However, since these “perennials” tend to mask and distort the relative success of current pieces, I’m planning to soon exclude them from the public rankings we provide of our own most popular articles.
I’ve also been very pleased that despite the very decidedly “alternative” skew of most of our articles and contributors, we have also gradually begun to attract submissions from contributors holding highly-respectable and fully mainstream credentials, with these individuals recently including a former MacArthur Fellow and a prominent member of the National Academy of Sciences. And just in the last couple of days, one of our most popular articles was authored by a professor having an endowed chair at the University of Indiana, who has also held a long series of past visiting appointments at topmost universities, including Harvard, Yale, and Oxford, along with a rather distinguished publication history.
Meanwhile, I’ve certainly been pleased with my continuing ability to utilize this website as a useful platform for my own writings. My recent article American Pravda: John McCain, Jeffrey Epstein, and Pizzagate has already become one of the most popular I’ve published since launching the website, and I’ve also now provided convenient access to the full collection of my American Pravda series, now totaling well over 200,000 words:
Until the last few years, the overwhelming focus of my writing over the previous couple of decades had been in the highly-controversial subjects of race, ethnicity, and social policy, and I’ve now provided a convenient selection of my most significant articles in those topics, totaling more than 100,000 words:
Finally, a sense of the overall logic and strategy of this website was described in a short article I published in 2016:
Obviously, the future of our small webzine or anything else in this world is difficult to predict. But I’m certainly pleased with how far we have come in such a short period of time.