opinion

Coping with the needs of stats junkies

Scott Rabinowitz
OK, so like many of my friends and peers in this business, I confess to being a stats junkie. I am not aware of any twelve step programs to recover from this affliction. We log into stats over the web every day on our own computers. We look at stats from PDA’s and cell phones. We ‘borrow’ a browser when at someone else’s home or office to look. It is a compulsive behavior. If you own a business, you are being responsible by having awareness of where the company is at all the time. If you work for someone, they know how loyal you are as an employee, consultant or contractor when you are as seemingly obsessed with current sales and traffic numbers as those who sign your checks.

Special needs, yes. I think it goes without saying that it’s unlikely that the stats junkie in your life or company will knowingly spend too much time (company or personal) somewhere where internet access does not exist. High speed availability is certainly a consideration for many of us in terms of where we live, where we vacation, etc. Same issue with cell phone access, especially if you are toting a BlackBerry or other device that can allow you web access or direct connections to company networks to…check stats.

For the non stats junkie trying to understand the behaviors of those afflicted, note that routine emotional highs and lows that come with a regular work or personal day’s events will also materialize as a result of the stats junkie’s findings, each time they look at their precious numbers. Are webmasters and other professionals in the adult internet business more compulsive or susceptible (something in the water?) to these behaviors than people in other lines of work? I don’t think so.

The issue is deeply rooted in what keeps some of us doing this year after year, with enthusiasm. Empowerment through instant business gratification. What do I mean? How do you feel when you put up a promotion, gallery, paid ad, etc. for a site and look at the stats days, hours, sometimes even minutes later to find that the effect complementing the cause here is a gain (or not) in traffic and income.

Now, if you are involved with this front office part of your company’s activities, you know this sensation and after being the guardian of your company’s ups and downs, you so come to ‘own’ responsibility for stats awareness. You are rewarded (or not) for being consistently on top of this. The net effect: being addicted to the notion that knowledge is power, which helps justify why you are hiding in the den on holidays and during other protracted family gatherings, on someone’s machine, looking at stats. A new favorite symptom to look for when scanning for stats junkies: thumb drives. If someone in this business carries one of those small profile USB drives on their keychain and you know they aren’t a scientist or other person with similar need to carry computer files on their person, it’s likely that these folks are carrying around enough stats access data to keep them entertained through a month long blizzard (provided of course that they have access to working PC’s with working internet access during said period).

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