At Disinformation, daily site traffic in 1999-2003 averaged around 18,000-30,000 unique visitors per weekday with a spike during lunch hour. We got high hits from places like Eugene, Oregon, and the Middle East. The traffic averaged around 40,000-50,000 unique visitors when Richard Metzger hosted Disinfo Nation for Channel 4 in the United Kingdom. Disinformation’s archive captures this 1998-2003 era material, including experiments with event-based coverage that I wrote-up in 2002 for Swinburne University’s strategic foresight program (PDF). However, by 2006, people wanted more YouTube-like video content rather than articles or dossiers. Even 600-word pieces were too long for some people. In 2007, publisher Gary Baddeley moved the site to its current user-generated version. The same year, I did laboratory-based usability training and began to see what Christopher notes about eye patterns and ‘scanning’ sites.
As Christopher observed to me in a 6th December 2011 email: “Disinformation always did a good job of including the extra links, and I think for the era, that was good. I don’t find that people click on a lot of links from my site. I think it’s a bygone era. I said it in one piece: “We don’t surf the web so much as we just sit back and watch the waves.” People just don’t “surf” like they used to.”
This makes me nostalgic for Gopher and the old alt. newsgroups I used to surf in 1993-94.