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April 01, 2006

An Interesting Thought

The Whatever averaged 15,000 unique visitors a day in March. My local newspaper, the Greenville Daily Advocate, has a daily circulation of about 6,500, and the papers of the other two neighboring cities, the Piqua Daily Call and the Troy Daily News, have circulations of about 6,000 and 9,200, respectively. It's not entirely out of line to say that I am the most widely-read purveyor of daily written content in two counties. And have been for years. And that's not even counting By the Way.

Does it mean anything? No, not really; there are all sorts of ways this is an "apple and oranges" kind of thing -- print vs online, free readership vs paid subscription, and so on and so on, finally arriving at the fact that whatever Whatever is, it's definitely not a newspaper. But it's still fun to think about.

Of course, before I get too proud, the daily circulation of the Dayton Daily News, the other local newspaper, is 126,000. I've got a ways to go before I get to that. But then, I also write for them. So that's okay.

Posted by john at April 1, 2006 08:00 AM

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Stephen G | April 1, 2006 10:53 AM

Perhaps your circulation is greater, but where is your army of low-paid workers delivering the pixels to my door every morning?

John Scalzi | April 1, 2006 12:12 PM

That would be the RSS gnomes.

Kelsey | April 1, 2006 12:27 PM

As a regular reader and occasional contributor of the Greenville Daily Advocate, I feel compelled to come to the paper's defense. Although a small paper, the Advocate provides us with essential information to enrich our lives.

Take for example the recent Reader's Choice Awards. For some time now I have wondered where the best seafood was in town, now I know. It's Captain D's!

Apparently, their hushpuppies are to die for.

John Scalzi | April 1, 2006 01:02 PM

Well, I'm not saying the Advocate is a bad paper, mind you. Just small.

(Although, now that you mention it, I stopped subscribing to the Advocate after the president of the company that publishes the Advocate decided to run for Congress and used his papers to promote his agenda. I thought that sort of maneuver didn't deserve my financial support. However, on a day to day basis, a perfectly good hometown newspaper.)

Renee | April 1, 2006 01:11 PM

Congratulations on the continued success of Whatever, John.

I have been a constant reader of yours since around 2002. (I found you in a chance search engine query about writing.)

Two questions for you: 1.) You have had the site up since 1998. At that time, you had some background in journalism, but you were basically an unknown. At what point did the Whatever graduate from being a small site with a small following to something larger? Was the change gradual, or did it come in spikes? 2.) How did you promote the Whatever? Do you attribute your success to search engine hits, publicity, etc.?


John Scalzi | April 1, 2006 01:23 PM

Hi, Renee. To answer your questions:

1. The biggest spike came in 2003, after I switched from handrolling the html to using Moveable Type. MT allowed the Whatever to receive comments. I more than doubled the number of visitors within a couple of months, and it's been growing steadily since.

2. I don't really actively promote the site; I suspect people find it primarily via links and through search engines, and by word of mouth. It's possible that now that I'm writing novels, people who read the novels or other books now look to see if I have a presence online.

joshua corning | April 1, 2006 02:43 PM

I have always been jelouse of my parents and how the world has changed through out their lives with jet airplanes, cars, radios, TV, penacilin, landing on the moon and all that....it is nice that the world is finnally changing.

Tim | April 1, 2006 03:49 PM

joshua corning,

The world has always been changing. History is the record of the changes along the way.

Bruce | April 1, 2006 09:11 PM

The only problem (as you probably already know, John), is that your comparison is simply unfair. The circulation of the newspapers is primarily (entirely?) comprised of folks in their counties; the Whatever's readership is worldwide. Not that there's anything wrong with that -- quite the opposite -- but it's an apples and watermelons comparison.

Keep up the coolth; I'll keep a-reading!

RONW | April 2, 2006 12:08 AM

it wouldn't matter to me if only a half of a person read Whatever on a daily basis, that Scalzi guy still puts out a good blog.

John Scalzi | April 2, 2006 07:50 AM


"The only problem (as you probably already know, John), is that your comparison is simply unfair."

Of course; that's why I noted in the entry that it doesn't actually mean anything.

Bryan Larson | April 2, 2006 08:41 AM

Failing all else, the Whatever doesn't get lost and is always delievered on time, unlike my folks' daily newspaper. The picture of teh cat in the sink is my favorite reason though. Haven't been able to coax my cat anywhere near anything water related except her water dish

Smurf | April 2, 2006 09:47 AM

I'm the top short French sports blogger on Buzzards Bay.

Scott S. | April 2, 2006 05:44 PM


When I read your blog, I have fond memories of Ohio. I was an editorial clerk at the Dayton Daily News. I drove through the snow in Piqua to get to work at Systemax Midwest Micro in Fletcher. Now, I look at Weather Bug. It tells me the temperature outside my apertment, in Tampa, is 80 degrees in April. The wave of nostalgic homesickness dies.

Just rubbing it in -- Scott

Wan Zafran | April 3, 2006 09:34 AM

I feel an an egotistical tsunami coming. Bwahahahahaha.

IRS | June 5, 2006 06:15 PM

IRS http://www.irstaxwebsite.com/

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