One million hits and adios
by Pete Talbot
This is insider stuff. About three weeks ago 4&20 notched one million hits.
I was hoping jhwygirl or maybe even founding father Jay Stevens would announce this and also add some pithy commentary. Didn’t happen, though, so I guess it’s up to me.
First, I’m not sure what a hit is versus a visit versus a ‘unique visit’ and I don’t really care. Our traffic is nothing compared to Huffington Post, Daily Kos or most of your celebrity websites, but one million seems like a lot to me.
Here’s some history — corrections appreciated. 4&20 was started by the legendary Jay Stevens in February, 2006, as a progressive political blog (and vehicle to help get Jon Tester elected to the U.S. Senate). Jay also mixed in some arts and culture and observations. He held the position of chief contributor and site administrator until around April, 2007, when he was invited by Matt Singer to join Left in The West.
Jhwygirl took over as the main contributor and site administrator, although Jay continued to post from time-to-time.
I joined in June, 2007, followed by Rebecca Schmitz and, I think this order is correct: Jamee, problembear, JC, carfreestupidity, Duganz and Lizard. Rebecca retired and Jamee moved on except for the occasional post. Everyone else is still going strong.
Other occasional contributors included Jason Wiener, Matt Singer (particularly when his site crashed) and Ross Keogh (hey Ross, what’s happening with Mountain Water?).
Here are some stats: As of 2011, we’re averaging about 850 hits a day. Our top day was 3,885 visits on March 5, 2009, the day of the natural gas explosion that leveled several Bozeman buildings and killed a woman. We’ve logged 3,107 posts, 28,887 comments and 78,930 spam comments (most of them, thankfully, caught by the filter). Lately, most of our referrals have come from MT Cowgirl, followed by Wulfgar!, Left in The West and Intelligent Discontent, although this ebbs and flows weekly.
It’s been a great ride and I’ve learned a lot. The current crew of contributors got together a couple of weeks ago for some celebratory beverages. I hadn’t even met most of them. We all have different styles (we can’t even agree on a headline format) and different issues. It’s what makes this site, well, different.
They are a well-spoken, out-spoken bunch of guys (jhwygirl couldn’t make it) and passionate about what they do and what they write. I like ‘em. They want what’s best for our community, state, nation and world.
All that being said, I’m taking the hiatus I promised I would when we hit 1,000,000. I have an addictive personality and I’m finding myself obsessed with this and other blogs. I’m also a pitifully slow writer. So, it’s time to take a break from the keyboard and deal with all the day-to-day responsibilities I prefer to avoid. If I don’t, I’m afraid there will be an intervention in my future.
I know that the other very qualified contributors will pick up the slack. I imagine I’ll be back, too, when some issue which I can’t ignore rears its ugly head.
Finally, blog traffic seems to have slowed at the Montana sites I’ve visited lately. Blame it on the close of the 2011 legislature (which provided much fodder) or perhaps it’s this sort of spring-like weather. It could also be the flame wars, between progressives, so apparent on these Montana sites. I’d like to see less of that and more focus on the skanks in state and national politics who are selling your average Joe and Josephine down the tubes. Denny Rehberg immediately comes to mind.
4&20 is an ever-evolving site. Thank you contributors, commenters and gentle readers for helping us reach one million.