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August 13, 2006

Taking My Own Advice and Finding Porn

Sometimes it takes me a while.  I’m embarrassed to say that in my new career as author, blogger, and whatever I DIDN’T drill down into apparent good news the way I said an entrepreneur should.

“…a successful entrepreneur obsesses over the pulse of his or her business.  Much of that pulse is numbers,” I posted.  In a prescient comment on that post , reader Gary Bourgeault wrote:

“When things are going good, one of the easiest things to do is to stop measuring and paying attention to our metrics.

“Success has that funny way of creating an illusion. Metrics helps us to not be surprised by what is really happening in our businesses.”

Gary’s comment should have made me drill down further than I had into the apparent good news reported by sitemeter below about visits to the website for my novel hackoff.com: an historic murder mystery set in the Internet bubble and rubble.


Just a little background.  Readership was very high during the time I initially serialized hackoff.com online as a blook. It was free. The hardcover wasn’t yet available.  Many bloggers were kind with recommendations and links to it.  Not surprisingly, once the initial serialization was done and these readers found out whodunnit, daily readership fell off although new readers can still read free online or subscribe free to text or podcast episodes by RSS or email.

So made sense to me that readership would start to build again as word of the book got around and with the hardcover edition supplementing the online edition. Besides, there’ve been increased visits to my non-fiction blog Fractals of Change lately (see chart immediately below) and a  certain percentage of Fractals readers always go to the hackoff.com site. 


I assumed that the increase in visits to Fractals (on which I have drilled down and posted part of the reason for here) was driving the increase in visits to hackoff.com. Look how similar the curves are. Wrong!

Unfortunately hadn’t been paying enough attention to the reader forum which has been pretty quiet since the serialization ended. When I did go there, I found the forum (which did not then require registration) filled with spam. Not just spam but mostly pointers to porno and cheap drug sites! Tens of thousands of messages.  If you typed “nude moms” into Google, hackoff.com forum is where you went.  Don’t ask me why “nude moms”; hackoff.com has sex like any good novel but no nude moms.

Now purchases of the hardcover and subscription to hackoff.com are both up. Close analysis shows that some of the readers who came for porn or cheap drugs, stayed to read the story, subscribed, and/or went to Amazon (can’t tell if they’re the ones who bought or not).  Seems that the spam may have added some value in this case.  Briefly flirted with the idea of leaving it there but couldn’t bear to.  It makes the forum useless to readers who really want to discuss the book, for one thing.  Could also get the site blacklisted.  And it’s so ugly!

So had to clean off all the messages posted recently (including any real ones, unfortunately).  Also now require registration to post in the forum which I didn’t want to do.  And am checking it regularly.

Note that page views have fallen off (sigh) since the porn was removed last week even though the search engines are still driving visits here in memory of porn past.


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