An unethical attempt to make some cash

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We started this website with the intention of providing South Carolinians with a forum to get unbiased political news. Why? Due to new partnerships, SChotline, the state’s leading political web forum, became obviously biased during the 2006 primary and general elections. In full disclosure, many of our contributors are associated with political campaigns and consulting firms. This is not a fulltime job and we have to pay the bills too. However, we make it our top priority to bring you unbiased and fair new coverage.

We said that we wouldn’t come out swinging at SChotline because they do a decent job and provide the state with a good service. And quite frankly, their preaching of competition must have some validity because the site has gotten better. They update more regularly, they made it more visually appealing, and they began using new media platforms like YouTube. They even went out and bought a fancy video camera that puts our camera quality to shame (sorry…we do this for fun so we wont be throwing out that much personal cash anytime soon).

We bite our tongues all the time, but this time we just have to call SChotline out for what it really is – unethical.

Their pathetic attempt to make some cash is deceiving and immoral. They claim that they are getting 42,000 hits a day. That could be true, but they don’t tell you what a “hit” is. They want advertisers to believe that 42,000 different computers access their site everyday, 42,000 different people. That’s a complete lie.

According to Urchin, the web analytics program that SChotline uses, “the number of hits a website receives is not a valid popularity gauge.”

Here’s their definition:

Hit – A hit is simply any request to the web server for any type of file. This can be an HTML page, an image (jpeg, gif, png, etc.), a sound clip, a cgi script, and many other file types. An HTML page can account for several hits: the page itself, each image on the page, and any embedded sound or video clips. Therefore, the number of hits a website receives is not a valid popularity gauge, but rather is an indication of server use and loading.

We will break it down for you. A hit occurs any time one computer requests information from SChotline’s server. SChotline is what’s called a “news aggregator.” That basically means they populate news from many different outlets and stick it all in one place to make it easier for you. Anytime you click on one of those news articles, you are requesting a link from their server.

So, if you click on half of the approximate 70 news links they have, not including the nearly 100 other links on the page, you have given SChotline 36 hits. That’s 1 hit for visiting the site and 35 hits for reading news stories.

The Shot currently gets 1500 unique visitors a day. If each visitor clicks on 35 links, we have 52,500 daily hits.

Hits are not the appropriate measure to persuade advertisers. They want to know how many unique visitors a site gets. SChotline’s actions are unethical, immoral, and deceiving.

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3 Comments on “An unethical attempt to make some cash”

  1. Dane Says:

    What a crock! These guys should know better, they’ve been around long enough. Guess things are getting pretty depserate.

  2. Daniel Says:

    Anyone who is considering advertising their business on a web site is more than likely familiar enough with the appropriate measurables for web site popularity. If they aren’t, and they advertise on a site without doing any serious research into its readership, then they get what they deserve.

    Why have you taken it upon yourselves to apparently obsess over the SC Hotline’s chosen methodology for soliciting advertisers? I find it hard to believe that you simply are so outraged at what you perceive as “unethical” advertising that you’re compelled to call them out with two posts in as many days in some form of altruistic act to the benefit of any potential Hotline advertisers that might also read your site. So what is it?

  3. Ronald W Says:

    I don’t get it…a hit is every time someone “hits” on a web link using their site….that seems obvious, and straightforward.

    Hits measures, it seems to me, activity. What more could u want? To measure visits where one reads headlines and then leaves? No…hits would seem to show involvement, and that is what an advertiser would want.

    I am not an expert on this stuff…but their method makes sense to me.


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