Friday, January 13, 2012

Global Debate Blog Gets One Millionth Visitor Since Moving to Blogspot

One million page views since GLOBAL DEBATE BLOG moved to blogspot. That is a lot of views. Of course, GDB has a lot more than that, given that it began on 2 March 2006 as an iWeb blog hosted at my university. I had hundreds and hundreds of posts during 2006 and 2007, and then it moved to blogspot on 4 July 2007. But, a million since the middle of 2007. 

Here it is, it just happened:

Pageviews today
Pageviews yesterday
Pageviews last month
Pageviews all time history

I originally moved to blogspot because it was just easier to do, and easier to do from remote locations. Little did I know that blogspot would keep on improving, now with an amazing design and lay out that is my favorite.

It happened in a small way. Readership during the 2006-2007 era was quite low. It was new, I was not known and promotion was a bit weak. Even Google had a hard time finding the iWeb blogs. Moving to blogspot made the postings a lot easier to find and growth began to happen.

There was a steady growth. Big growth spurts followed the World Championships as more people found out about the blog. But, people found out about it in other important ways. Over 150,000 page views since 2007 have been referred to by Google search. People are looking for something and Google sends them here. Then, they see something that interests them and then they come back. Facebook has helped as well, with a lot of people coming to the blog from links there. Colm Flynn’s World Debating has been a big help sending us lots of page views. The switch to the new “magazine” blog format has helped, as people can easily see previous blog posts that they might want to also look at. But, I must admit, the majority of references come from other much smaller sources. Individual debate programs have links, people suggest it to each other, recently Twitter has sent a lot of people (and even Bing). The growth and the way the word spreads has been organic, and that is good and to be expected.

I expect the next million to be achieved much sooner. For one thing, many of the older pages are still found through searches and links, and this will only increase. As well, traffic is at an all time high (104,000 page views last month) so the next million will happen during 2012 unless I stop posting or remove the blog.

Some things do not seem to be factors. After 3143 I only have 39 followers. After 3143 posts there are only 1343 published comments (and I publish all that are not spam). These are artifacts and do not rally concern me.

I think one aspect of the blog’s popularity is my stubbornness. I start doing something and if I think it has value I keep on doing it. I know that growth and change comes incrementally through time and that keeps me focused.

My original purpose behind starting this blog was not just to get the news out, but to show that there was a rapidly developing and expanding global debate community. It was those in the USA who seemed to be aware of this the least, and so I have always tried to report on both USA and international debating news, because the first is a part of the second, and I want Americans to know that. I think that this has been accomplished somewhat, as the USA has been the biggest locale of those viewing these pages.

Many of you might be aware of my track record in terms of applying new ideas to debating. I built my first debating website in 1994, staged the first full Internet debate in 1999, and did the first simulcast of a major event (National Forensic League Nationals in Portland, Oregon) in June of 2000. In many ways I offer my services to introduce a use for technology and then when the people I am helping sees how valuable it is they take it over and do it themselves. Thus, the National Forensic League’s first website was built by a few volunteers and myself and now they have a beautiful website at I simulcast their national finals and now they do it very nicely themselves. I made the first Cross Examination Debate Association website and now they have one of their own. I like this model; as soon as someone else will do it I can stop and move on to something else.

Will I do that with the GLOBAL DEBATE BLOG? I am not sure. But there are new up and coming global debate information services, and I might just stop at some point when the point is made and the function is well served by others. For now, though, it is forward as ever.

I am not shy about doing new things. Several years ago I led an effort by several Eastern USA schools to move into WUDC format debate, and now through their hard work five of them are in the world’s top 60 programs. Change can come and change will come.

Yes, change can and will come, even when you are in your 50th year of debating, even with you are in your 40th year of coaching debate, and even when you are 61 years of age, like I am.

There are too many people to thank for me to even start listing them. Well, perhaps Nancy Ogden, who told a middle school student that debate was not or him (reverse psychology works), and Ray Benoit who told a young high school student not to give up. But, those are enough names for now. People have been encouraging in my efforts, have supplied me with stories and feedback, and encouraged me when I am discouraged. People have offered criticism that has been cogent as well as silly, and I thank all of them for their time and effort. People who have threatened me and tried to bully me can take a flying leap. People who have said this effort was meaningless and foolish are probably not correct.

However, if you want to buy it out, make me an offer. I could use some cash for my next debate technological adventure. ::smirk:: Hell, it worked for the Huffington Post!

As I am sure you know, GLOBAL DEBATE BLOG is a part of a family of websites, anchored by DEBATE CENTRAL ( where it all began in 1994. Our many other websites and blogs are all linked from the main DEBATE CENTRAL webpage. Check it out.

Again, thanks to everyone for their support, their patience with my foolishness, their tolerance of my excesses and their understanding of my many errors. I cannot promise to be more than a little bit better, but I will try to do my best with that.

Alfred C. Snider aka Tuna
University of Vermont, Lawrence Debate Union, World Debate Institute

Here is the 2007 iWeb archive:
Here is the 2006 iWeb archive:

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