New York, Oct.13 : September has been a great month to write about politics on the Web.The Los Angeles Times had an all-time-high 137 million page views, The Washington Post topped 320 million, and both Slate and the Huffington Post set their own traffic records.Much of the credit for driving page views goes to Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, according to the New York Times.
According to the paper, slightly more than one-third of Palin search queries drove traffic to news and media sites.
Figures provided by Hitwise say that Fox News received the largest share of these search referrals at 1.12 percent, followed by Time at 0.98 percent. Many other publications received at least 0.1 percent -- nothing to shake a stick at, given the torrential interest in Palin.
The Palin Effect is unmistakable. In early September, right after McCain introduced the Alaska Governor as his running mate, the percentage of traffic that Web sites for print publications received from search engines peaked at close to 26 percent, up from about 22 percent the week before and a clear high point for 2008. Broadcast media and other political sites saw a similar jump in their numbers. Palin continues to reign supreme over the blogosphere. According to Nielsen's BuzzMetrics technology, which tracks mentions of people and topics on blogs, Palin has been the most blogged-about of the four national candidates, ceding her top billing to McCain and Obama only in the days after the two presidential debates.
Quantifying the Palin Effect for an individual publication is difficult to do without access to that site's internal tracking figures. We do have those numbers for Slate, if not for anyone else. Five of Slate's 25 most-read articles in September were explicitly about Palin -- a Sarah Palin FAQ and articles about her hacked e-mail account, her convention speech, her pregnant daughter and her interview with ABC's Charles Gibson.
Another four were pegged to Palin news: "Explainers" on whether you can see Russia from Alaska and music licensing at conventions, plus a column on teen pregnancy and a tribute to the intrinsic weirdness of Alaska.
Those nine articles, which accounted for about 5 percent of Slate's September page views, aren't just a symptom of our readers' voracious appetite for election news; only one non-Palin politics story ranked in the top 25.