Tuesday, December 2, 2008


I ran across something surprising today. I was researching a new avenue for attracting visitors and submitted my two sites to onlinenovels.net. I know I had looked at the site in the past, but I don't think I tried it because I thought it was dead, but I saw a recent author was getting some traffic from it so I thought I'd give it a try. After I'd submitted my site, they emailed me back to say, "Sure, we'll link to your site for $5 a month." Bwhuh? First of all, the site isn't some uber beautiful web page. It's a simple list of links with what looks like author submitted summaries. Their email to me said, "Due to huge amounts of traffic and the time it takes to run [the website], I will now be charging a $5 monthly fee per new author." Dude, seriously? I weep for anyone who has fallen for this.

It may be the number one search result in Google for "online novels", but it isn't the number one site as far as I can tell anywhere else. (I've tried mightily to get an Alexa widget to work, but can't force it.) Check out these stats--

Traffic Rank for Onlinenovels.net:
Alexa traffic rank based on a combined measure of page views and users (reach)

1 wk. Avg.           3 mos. Avg. 
2,195,139 1,695,545

Traffic Rank for Free-online-novels.com:
Alexa traffic rank based on a combined measure of page views and users (reach)

1 wk. Avg.           3 mos. Avg. 
282,774 236,790

Traffic Rank for Starry.com:
Alexa traffic rank based on a combined measure of page views and users (reach)

1 wk. Avg.           3 mos. Avg. 
738,702 645,612

Traffic rank shows where a site ranks compared to the rest of the internet. What site is #1 for web surfers? Currently, it's yahoo.com, followed by google.com, and rounding out the top three is youtube.com. So free-online-novels.com is ranked 236,790 while online novels.net is 1,695,545, and I'm supposed to pay onlinenovels.net?

I am listed on both Free Online Novels and Starry.com . I haven't kept statistics, but I've gotten steady clicks from both these sites, and they're good clicks too. People have read my stories after coming to them from one of these sites, but I don't pay either of them to link to me. They do so generously on their own. I asked them to link to me, and they said sure. I wouldn't have any traffic if it weren't for these two sites. The fact that these two sites are able to host links for free and MORE links at that, (and Starry.com even posts pics for each story,) how the hell can onlinenovels.net feel they can charge $5 a month? I hope none of the authors I recognize are seriously paying this site for a link. A lot of the links on that site are old, one doesn't even exist anymore, and it's way too much damn money for just a link on a no-frills site.

If anyone does pay for a link, or even if they don't but are on the site, I'd like to know a rough average of clicks they get from this site.

(Slight disclaimer: I know Alexa information is flawed. It's extrapolating from a pool of users and is not a true survey of all the web (the same as Nielsen ratings for television), but there aren't any other well established tools to help me determine web site traffic for sites not my own, and the difference between the results of the three sites makes me think that Alexa isn't far off when used in a comparitive fashion.)


Fortune Park Hotels Ltd said...

Alexa is a very important benchmark to determine the rankings and traffic of sites. Google is placed at the 2nd position as per Alexa rankings and traffic rankings and is facing tough competition from Live.com and of course Yahoo.

S.A. Hunter said...

Thanks for the comment Fortune Park Hotels Ltd. Alexa does give a pretty good idea of traffic, but until there's a way to track traffic by a third party without participants having to opt in, it will never be perfect, but it's still useful and the best source of informatioin available. I was just trying to stop the 'ALEXA SUCKS' comments that I've seen spring up when Alexa stats are used.