I was waiting for John Scalzi to finally react to my exposure of his significant exaggeration of his average daily blog readers.  As I half-expected he would, he waited until he had a big day, in this case courtesy of an article in the Guardian, then responded by putting out a misleading tweet that didn’t actually justify his false claim to have “50K daily blog readers”.

All the dudebros who adamantly maintain I don’t get 50K visitors a day are totally right. #HaHaHa  

He then posted this image, which based on the numbers appears to be WordPress statistics. One could, of course, dispute them based on the fact that there is nothing to indicate they are actual Whatever numbers, to say nothing the fact of one day is not evidence of the daily average. However, I happen to know they are correct, so I will not do so. Instead, I will simply show how they are being used in an intentionally misleading manner.

That #HaHaHa  cracked me up. The triumphant pose is simply Mr. Scalzi’s usual posturing and the tweet is nothing but blown cover as cover. Despite what the graphic implies, I am totally right and Mr. Scalzi knows it. He does not get 50k visitors a day except on very rare occasions. I previously pointed out that he has, on three occasions, (now four), gotten more than 50k visitors in a day thanks to external factors such as yesterday’s Guardian article. That was why I noted how, after first being exposed, he backed down and belatedly modified his claim to “up to 50k readers per day”.

So, for no particular reason at all, here is the actual traffic data for Whatever from January 1, 2009 to August 26, 2013, adjusted to reflect the metric chosen in his tweet. In the interest of being perfectly accurate, I’ve even included yesterday, his latest big day.  During that 56-month period, the number of daily readers/visitors to Whatever has averaged exactly 2,972, only 47,028 short of his 50k claim.  If we limit the time scale to 2013, that still only increases his daily blog readership to 4,085, the figure I previously cited. Even during his very best month, May 2012, he never came within 35,000 visitors of the 50,000 “readers a day” he claimed.

One of the things I found interesting about the Whatever statistics is that contra what one might assume, the engagement of the Whatever warren isn’t particularly high. His readers average fewer than six pageviews per visit; better than average but hardly spectacular.  And their engagement is observably declining, as it has dropped from 8.4 in early 2009 to 4.1 this month.  This can be seen by comparing the daily average pageviews over the same 4+ year period seen in the chart below with the previous chart.

As you can see, at no point have Mr. Scalzi’s daily pageviews even come within 20,000 of the 50,000 daily readers he claimed.  While he can legitimately claim “up to 50k readers per day” on the basis of occasional bumps from the mainstream media, to do so in the pretense that those outliers represent his normal daily traffic is not only absurd, it is presenting the statistics in a completely deceptive manner.

Now, I can’t speak for any other “dudebros”, but I do most certainly continue to maintain that John Scalzi is not only a dishonest and fraudulent self-promoter, he is a serial bullshit artist and he does not get 50,000 daily blog readers.  And if Mr. Scalzi wishes to publicly dispute these numbers rather than continuing to present misleading one-offs as wildly exaggerated indications of Whatever’s popularity, I absolutely invite him to do so.  Unlike him, I do not bluff.

As before, I encourage him to come clean and make his traffic transparent to the public, as do I and many other bloggers. All this continued obfuscation, exaggeration, and denial accomplishes is to make him look desperate as well as dishonest.  Given that his derivative writing career was largely dependent upon the successful pretense that he was the most popular blogger in SF/F, it’s fascinating to discover that the whole thing was nothing but a house of cards from the start.

John Scalzi is the Bernie Madoff of science fiction.