Traffic Report 2020

2020 was a year which felt rather like a plateau, with an awful lot of running just to stay in place, but it appears to have set the stage for some major progress on multiple fronts in 2021. A series of infrastructural advancements in everything from Arkhaven to Unauthorized that have taken place while bigger competitors like DC Comics and YouTube are in declines that appear to presage complete freefalls promise what could be a fascinating new year indeed. For once, there were no deplatformings of note; to the contrary, Google followed Amazon’s example in swiftly declining the opportunity for a showdown over one of its SJWs attacking the legitimacy of this blog.

In 2020, Vox Popoli had 41,338,037 Google pageviews. The blog is now running at an average rate of 113,255 daily pageviews, up 26.2 percent from an average 89,745 last year. It also cracked 200 million pageviews for the first time, closing out the year at 213,670,411. The running annual pageview totals are as follows:

2008: 3,496,757

2009: 4,414,801

2010: 4,827,183

2011: 5,422,628

2012: 6,098,774

2013: 9,340,663

2014: 11,236,085

2015: 16,211,875

2016: 25,817,343

2017: 31,216,357

2018: 32,260,094

2019: 32,757,068

2020: 41,338,037

Rather to my surprise, John Scalzi has begun posting his blog traffic numbers again, thereby permitting the return of the annual comparison of VP’s traffic to that of the Most Popular Blog in Science Fiction.

It just never gets old, does it? 

For those new readers to whom this vindictive competitiveness presents a mystery, I must, in fairness, mention that Scalzi never did anything more than exaggerate his blog numbers to impress the media and his publisher. Indeed, he made rather a point of refusing to even refer to this site by name. It was a number of his fans who used to comment regularly on this blog back in 2011 and 2012 that insisted on appealing to comparative site traffic in order to stress how important Whatever was vis-a-vis Vox Popoli. One suspects he now appreciates their efforts almost as much as Jordan Peterson appreciates those of his erstwhile champions.

It wasn’t until December 2012, ironically, the year which represents the high water mark for Whatever, that I discovered VP was nearly as well-trafficked as The Most Important Blog in Science Fiction, as Whatever was generally recognized in the genre. Before any autists sperg out, they should note that the divergence between the numbers in that December 2012 post and the numbers above is because I used Sitemeter to track traffic starting back in 2003, then switched to Google pageviews retroactive to 2008 after Sitemeter became unreliable.

A Sea of Skulls remains a work-in-progress, but I’m optimistic that it will be finished in 2021, which will definitely see the publication of the entire There Will Be War and Junior Classics series. We’re also hoping to get new Wardogs, Inc. books out. Both Castalia Library and Unauthorized are going strong, and there is every reason to believe that Arkhaven is going to be an extraordinarily successful schwerpunkt in the coming year.

The dead horse twitches

 John Scalzi reports his annual blog readership numbers:

In a more general sense, 2020 has been a pretty decent year for visitorship to Whatever. Indeed, for the first time in several years, the site gained on-site readership, which is an encouraging thing. The site’s high water mark for direct visits was 2012, and since then the on-site readership has declined precipitously, following the general trend for blogs in the social media era, down to about a third of that traffic in 2019. This decline in direct views been compensated for somewhat over the years by readership through RSS, email and WordPress’ own newsfeed feature, and I can drive traffic to the site via Twitter for particular pieces. That said, there’s no arguing that there’s been a downward trend on the site from eight years ago.

2020 saw the first uptick in on-site visits in years, to about 3 million visits; in fact, 2020 posted better on-site viewership than either 2019 or 2018. Which, again: Encouraging! I don’t want to overstate the bump — on-site traffic is only barely above 2018 levels, and well behind 2017.

Why yes, as is our annual New Year’s custom, we will most certainly beat this dead horse! It’s a tradition anticipated by longtime readers every year. But you’ll have to wait three days for the final numbers to come in. I’ll send a free ebook edition of Corrosion by Johan Kalsi to whoever’s estimate in this post’s comments comes closest to the number of Google pageviews for the blog in 2020.

For all my undisguised contempt for the mediocrity that is Scalzi, the one thing I will say for him is that more writers should be willing to report their numbers, for good or for ill, the way that he has since he stopped trying to exaggerate his traffic to the media. Doing so helps others put their own efforts and ambitions in context.

They will lose their minds

What passes for them, anyhow, when the truth about the election comes out. Keep in mind that this is the sort of thing they genuinely believe, as you read John Scalzi’s take on the globalist attempt to install Joe Biden in the White House:

Donald Trump has lost the 2020 presidential election and has absolutely zero chance of winning it now. This is because the election has already been run, and it resulted with Joe Biden winning, with, to date, 77 million votes, 50.8 percent of the voting electorate and 290 electoral votes, with another 16 likely to come once the recount in Georgia is done. The margins by which Biden has won these states are impossible to overcome, as historically recounts change the vote totals by hundreds of votes, and Biden is up by 14,000 in the closest race of the states where numbers are being contested (that’s Georgia). The suits that the Trump campaign has filed regarding election fraud have been shot down as hearsay or because of other flaws in the filing; they are historically flimsy suits, and even the ones that aren’t affect a number of ballots that will not change the results of the election. There was no systemic or systematic electoral fraud.

The idea that the Republican legislatures in the “contested” states will rebel and name their own electors is a pipe dream, you decide which kind of pipe, and in any event the legislatures in at least some of the states have signaled they have no interest or intent to get involved. That leaves an autocoup attempt, I suppose, but given how much open contempt this president has had for the military forces in the United States, and the seriousness with which our military takes its oath, let me just suggest I don’t see that move ending up happily for Trump.

To repeat: Donald Trump has lost the 2020 presidential election, definitively and decisively. If you believe this, congratulations, you have some minimal relationship to reality as it exists in the world. If you do not believe this, either you have been trapped in a bread box at the bottom of a well for the last two weeks and are just now catching up, or you have some injury of the brain which does not allow you to process information in a reliable manner, or you simply choose to live in a fantasy world for your own, probably at this point frantic and malign, reasons. Or, alternately, you know Trump has lost the election, but you choose to pretend this fact is not real, because you are, in fact, a mendacious piece of shit…

The GOP, as it is, is a cancer of American democracy. Not because it’s conservative — there will always be conservatives, and if we must have political parties, then conservatives should have one no less than anyone else — but because it fundamentally no longer acknowledges either the necessity of American democracy or the need for an informed electorate.

Lunatic SJWs like Scalzi assert that it is the sane have a “minimal relationship to reality as it exists in the world” even as the evidence continues to pile up that the results reported by the media are entirely fraudulent and knowingly fictional. This is why we cannot coexist with them, even if, like Scalzi, they hypocritically insist in living amonst us in our communities because our way of life is so much more observably livable than theirs.

UPDATE: a lawyer is unimpressed by McRapey’s legal analysis:

As a lawyer, one thing that has struck me about about the Left’s reaction to it all has been non-lawyers and non-election-fraud experts talking about how Trump has “no chance” to succeed in his suits. I mean, I can understand why the corporate media and lawyers for Biden would be so dismissive publicly—they are paid to engage in such pro-Biden PR puffery–but lots of name-but-unpaid TDS sufferers with no legal experience are claiming legal expertise on the matter. Like Scalzi.

Now, you don’t have to be a lawyer or election fraud expert to understand the cases and issues here, but saying Trump’s cases have “no chance” is really ignorant and stupid. Trump has legal heavyweights on his side and is challenging ballots on multiple grounds in multiple states, and we already have both statistical and lots of anecdotal data of fraud. The 14th Amendment, Bush v. Gore, witnesses testifying to fraud, software “glitches”……these things matter. Anyone with legal experience, attorney or laymen, can see it.

Even if one thinks Trump will lose in court – I don’t – his arguments and evidence have a lot of merit. Scalzi is simply spewing ignorance. Hard to tell if it’s just whistling past the graveyard or denialism or Dunning-Kruger. 

Scalzi enters a defense

After minimizing and denigrating the science fiction canon that he has, perhaps more than any other author, personally degraded and defiled, John Scalzi offers a feeble defense:

The dimwitted bigot brigade finally came across my piece about the Science Fiction canon from a couple of weeks ago and had a predictable spasm about it, asserting how it was evidence that (I’m paraphrasing from various sources, here) a) science fiction and fantasy was dying, b) traditional publishing (the sf/f parts of it anyway) is dying too, c) I’m responsible in some measure for a) and b), despite d) the fact that apparently I don’t actually sell and/or only sell through byzantine sleight of hand by the publishing industry for reasons and also e) I suck, f) which is why I don’t want people to read older works because then they would realize that, and while we’re at it g) modern sf/f is infested with terrible work from people who aren’t straight white dudes, h) which I, a straight white dude, am also somehow responsible for, and so in short, i) everything is my fault, and j) I am simultaneously a nobody and also history’s worst monster.

It’s a lot! I think it must be tiring to be a dimwitted bigot, thinking about me.

In fact it’s been a pretty solid year so far for traditionally-published science fiction and fantasy. in terms of sales.

For once, I don’t think McRapey is lying, I think he’s just ignorant and ill-informed. In publishing terms, “a solid year” means growth of 5 to 10 percent. For example, Publisher’s Weekly described general nonfiction as having had a solid year in 2019: “General nonfiction also had a solid year, with print units ahead 8.8{fb585635b9f6189e33442b25caac15ec2544d7054f182b4f92840c6cee65accd}.”

Science fiction, not so much.

Print unit sales in adult fiction fell again in 2019, though at a slower rate than in 2018, when units dropped 4.6{fb585635b9f6189e33442b25caac15ec2544d7054f182b4f92840c6cee65accd}…. Science fiction had the largest decline among the adult fiction genres, with units down 19.7{fb585635b9f6189e33442b25caac15ec2544d7054f182b4f92840c6cee65accd}.

A 20 percent decline is not “a solid year” for the genre, it is approaching catastrophe. Now, you might suggest that he’s referring to 2020, which would be an interesting trick considering the fact there are no substantive statistics reported on the various market segments yet. And while unit sales of print books in the first half of 2020 were up 2.8{fb585635b9f6189e33442b25caac15ec2544d7054f182b4f92840c6cee65accd} over the same period in 2019, most of that increase appears to be in the children’s nonfiction category since parents were having to school their children at home during the lockdown.

Anyhow, by this point it should be clear that while Scalzi is an expert at conning publishers and snowing SJWs, he’s not exactly a reliable source on the business of selling books or running a business.

The Left has cucks too

It’s amazing how these fake “free speech advocates” are afraid to tell the truth even when they are taking a public stand:

More than 150 academics and writers including the likes of JK Rowling, Margaret Atwood and Salman Rushdie have called for an end to ‘cancel culture,’ to defend their right to freedom of speech.

Journalist Anne Applebaum warned ‘Twitter mobs’ on the left and right sides of the political agenda, along with US President Donald Trump, were placing ‘very important restraints on freedom of speech’.

Ms Rowling and Ms Atwood, the author of The Handmaid’s Tale, have both signed the letter, despite being on opposing sides on trans issues recently.

The letter, published in Harper’s calls for: ‘The free exchange of information and ideas, the lifeblood of a liberal society, is daily becoming more constricted.’

The signatories go on to say they ‘uphold the value of robust and even caustic counter speech from all quarters.’

It later adds:  ‘It is now all too common to hear calls for swift and severe retribution in response to perceived transgressions of speech and thought.’

Neither Twitter mobs nor President Trump are the problem. And they know that perfectly well, they’re just afraid to go after the ADL, BLM, the social media giants, and the very concept of “hate speech” for fear that they’ll be targeted next. The ADL is ground zero for all the thought and speech policing in the USA and provides the impetus for a considerable amount of speech policing by the tech companies. So, if you’re not directly addressing that evil organization and its ongoing war against Americans and the First Amendment, you’re not serious about free speech.

And speaking of fear, Spacebunny had an amusing thought about the dilemma that now confronts one fourth-tier writer of mediocre science fiction.

You know Scalzi is losing sleep right this very minute trying to figure out which side is ultimately going to be his best bet……

The truth always comes out… eventually

This is, in retrospect for those familiar with the history, hilarious:

Looking above at my novel advances, I see four distinct eras in them:

Debut: The $6.5k and $2k advances, signed when I was brand new and no one knew what would happen;

Developing: The $13.5k, $25k, and $35k contracts, after Old Man’s War hit commercially and critically and Tor realized there was possible headroom to my career, but I was still building an audience;

Established: The $100k and $115k contracts, when I had hit the bestseller lists, won awards, and had a series (Old Man’s War) that was spinning off serious money;

Franchise: The $3.4M deal, when Tor decided to go all in and lock me up long-term, both to continue momentum in new releases and to extract value out of my profitable backlist.

Now, at this point, it’s almost uniformly recognized by anyone who has read both of our works that I am a much better novelist than old Johnny Con. Whereas I can credibly write everything from 4-panel comics to movie scripts to 900-page epics, he struggles to put together a 250-page novel without ripping off one or more better science fiction authors. If you don’t believe me, just read a few reviews of our works, then compare short story to short story or novel to novel.

But what is amusing in light of the long-running SF-SJW “envy” narrative, to say nothing of the ludicrous “awards” metric, is that this talent gap was obviously recognized by our mutual editors from the very start. As it happens, I was getting paid more to NOT write books than Scalzi was getting paid to write them at the same time that his fan club was insisting that I was envious of his “massive success”. But his literary success turns out to have been the same sort of manufactured charade that his “extraordinary amount” of blog traffic was.

My first two novel advances were $20k and $20k, or nearly five times more than Scalzi was paid for his first two novels. And here is the punchline: writing has never been anything more than a pasttime for me. I still don’t consider myself to be a writer; I am first and foremost a game designer. It’s also a bit amusing to see him labeling himself a franchise writer, especially when we’ve got multiple film studios inquiring about the availability of everything from Alt-Hero and Avalon to Vampire Lords (not the actual title).

The lesson of John Scalzi is this: ruthless self-promotion, shameless dishonesty, and genuine hard work can pay off, as long as you can find the proper victim for your con artistry. His literary career, to the extent that one can even call it that, is nothing more than a house of cards constructed on a color-by-numbers basis.

And speaking of writing, the new Hypergamouse is up. It’s a good one.

UPDATE: Comments are closed. Quelle surprise!

Science fiction is dead

The SJWs who killed science fiction and wore it as a skinsuit can’t even bother wearing the skinsuit anymore. An Analog professional writes of the latest SJW atrocity against science fiction history:

I got my start as a pro writer at Analog, and for a couple of years I was one of its most published writers.

That was past Campbell’s day – my editor was Stan Schmidt.

But it’s disheartening to see one of the giants of my field disenfranchised from the award named after him because of the shrinking SJW pussies currently dominating “formal” SF.

I quit SFWA thirty years ago, because even then it was obvious what it was becoming.  I hate to see this cancer continue to destroy a field I used to love.

What he’s referring to is the disappearing of one of science fiction’s most important figures, John W. Campbell, as signified by the renaming of the Campbell Award:

The John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer began in 1973 as a way to honor exemplary science fiction and fantasy authors whose first work was published in the prior two calendar years.

Named for Campbell, whose writing and role as editor of Astounding Science Fiction (later renamed Analog Science Fiction and Fact) made him hugely influential in laying the groundwork for both the Golden Age of Science Fiction and beyond, the award has over the years recognized such nominees as George R.R. Martin, Bruce Sterling, Carl Sagan, and Lois McMaster Bujold, as well as award winners like Ted Chiang, Nalo Hopkinson, and John Scalzi.

However, Campbell’s provocative editorials and opinions on race, slavery, and other matters often reflected positions that went beyond just the mores of his time and are today at odds with modern values, including those held by the award’s many nominees, winners, and supporters.

As we move into Analog’s 90th anniversary year, our goal is to keep the award as vital and distinguished as ever, so after much consideration, we have decided to change the award’s name to The Astounding Award for Best New Writer.

It is debatable when science fiction officially died. Historians may date it to John Scalzi’s ill-fated Tor contract, to NK Jemisin’s unprecedented and unbelievably absurd three Best Novel awards in a row, or to the disappearing of one of the genre’s leading figures. But whatever the date of expiry, there can be no doubt that it has now expired.

Unsurprisingly, McRapey enthusiastically applauds the latest turn in the Narrative. He’s desperately hoping to be eaten last.

As a Campbell Award winner (and now, an Astounding Award winner!), I applaud the choice, and the decisiveness with which this change was made. Thank you!

Four years later

Four years ago, I published SJWs Always Lie. Mike Cernovich told me at the time that it would be what he called an “evergreen” book. It would appear that he was right, because the social justice Narrative hasn’t disappeared in the intervening period. To the contrary, it is now a much bigger problem affecting even more people across a far wider spectrum of activities and organizations than before.

If SJWAL is still on the bestseller list several hundred years from now, will that indicate that we failed or that we succeeded in defending Western civilization? The latter, I suppose, since the alternative is illiterate gay satanists living in filth and literally devouring each other whenever they take a break from molesting stolen animals and kidnapped children. It does amuse me, though, to know that John Scalzi’s lasting claim to fame in the long run is much more likely to be his brief appearance in SJWAL than any of the color-by-numbers works of fiction that he presented as his own over the years.

Just say no, Johnny

John Scalzi@scalzi
TFW something designed to antagonize me turns out to be a consistent and profound source of trouble for the person who made it. Karma is apparently real, y’all.

I wonder what this Karma is in response to?


Complainant: Scalzi, [REDACTED], [ADDRESS], Bradford, OH 45308
Incident Address: [ADDRESS], Bradford, OH 45308

DETAILS: Report of male subject unresponsive

Perhaps Mr. Scalzi should spend less time snarking and snorting things and more time working on his next literary failure. Anyhow, if you’d like to read the book that all the fuss was about yesterday, it’s called CORROSION and you can pick up the DRM-free ebook at the Arkhaven store.

RIP Whatever

John Scalzi’s decline into irrelevance continues apace:

Every year I post stats on traffic for Whatever, and every year it gets harder to see how it accurately reflects my actual readership, because of the way people read things I post here. Bluntly, relatively few people visit the site directly at this point in time — As of this moment, for 2018, Whatever has had 2.82 million direct visits in 2018, down from last year’s 4.1 million, and substantially down from the 2012 high of 8.16 million.

Strange, because I simply haven’t seen the same sort of decline here at Vox Popoli. As of this moment, for 2018, VP has had 31.85 million PAGEVIEWS, up slightly from last year’s 31.2 million, and substantially up from the 2012 figure of 6.10 million. And Whatever’s reported traffic of 2.82 million is about 25 percent worse than I expected; I had anticipated a decline to 3.75 million in 2018.

Note that Scalzi actually means “pageviews” when he writes “direct visits”. This is the sort of definitional bait-and-switch he has attempted to play in the past, but we know from his past reports that he’s actually talking about pageviews rather than hits or unique visits. Of course, he’s referring to WordPress pageviews, which tend to be a little more generous than Google pageviews, so an apples-to-apples comparison would be 31.85 to 2.69.

But wait, there’s more!

As an aside, there’s a fellow out there who loves when I post these pieces because he like to then say that his own (self-reported, as these are) blog numbers are higher, and this is evidence that he is truly more popular than I am, I am not all that popular, etc. It’s entirely possible at this point he has a larger number of direct visitors to his site than I do. I suspect I may have a larger overall social media footprint than he does, however. For example, I have 158K Twitter followers, and he has none whatsoever, as he was booted off the site for being a terrible person some time ago. I’m not sure he ever talks about the fact that his being a terrible person means his own site is one of the few remaining social media outlets where he is tolerated at all, so if you want his brand of petty shittiness, that’s where you have to go.

Zero. Fucks. Given. So brave. Thank you for this. Actually, Scalzi being willing to post his numbers even when they no longer flatter his self-inflating pretensions is one of the very few things I respect about him. As for my “self-reported” numbers, they are straight out of Blogger and I am reporting them with scrupulous accuracy, as even my worst enemies will usually admit is my wont.

I track my blog stats on an annual basis, so the final figure for VP will be north of 32 million. Thanks to all of you for making this possible, and thanks as well to the Scalzi fan-trolls, who encouraged me to start paying attention to my blog statistics, and from whom we never, ever hear lecturing us about the vital importance of such things anymore.

Do click on the link. Give the poor guy a little traffic for the sake of the good old days.

UPDATE: If you find it hard to grasp the concept of gamma, this should suffice to get it across to you.

lol, it didn’t take the sad little person in question very long to take that particular bait, did it. He’s awfully predictable, and easily manipulatable.

Secret King wins again! Anyhow, as far as relevance goes, the objective metrics are in line with the blog statistics. What is amusing is that if you look at the Google Trend statistics going back to 2004, you can see that he’s really made a meal of that brief period in 2012 when one viral post made him look somewhat more significant than he has ever actually been.

John Scalzi is actually a tragic figure. He could have been considerably more than he turned out to be, had he simply been willing to accept his limitations and work within them rather than focusing all of his energy on convincing the world that he was something he was not and could never be.