Dig That Spider Coming Out of a Cup! – A WordPress Blog Stat Mystery

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spider oneThere was a time, so many months ago, when I found myself obsessed with my blog stats. I know – it’s a shameful thing to admit. Now, when I say ‘obsessed,’ I really mean it. This was General MacArthur style obsession, Captain Ahab, Napoleon. I was obsessed the way great men become obsessed. The opposite, of course, would be how teenage girls have watered down the meaning of the word. “Oh my God, I used to be, like, totally obsessed with ‘N Sync!” And by that, the girl means she had the No Strings Attached CD and a poster of Lance Bass on the wall, which was taken down before he even came out of the closet.

That’s a different kind of obsession, and mine was worse, although maybe not as troubling. I’d keep my stats page up on the screen at all times, refreshing it every 30-40 seconds. I would also do dippy things in an attempt to detect or change trends, like trying to publish posts at different times of the day to see if the hits would go up (they don’t). In time, I mellowed out. Sure, I’ll check my stats once or twice a day, but it isn’t something I think about a lot. My obsession faded away, and I could once again turn my attention to more important things on the Internet, like Facebook and amateur porn.

spider twoAll that is to set up the odd thing that happened two weeks ago, noon on a Tuesday, when I very nonchalantly pulled up my blog stats. I usually have around the same number every day, and when my hit total came up for that particular day, I jumped back, startled. Okay, I didn’t really jump back, that was exaggeration for effect, but you get the idea. I’m not that easily rattled. I was really surprised, though, to see that my blog had already gotten over 1,400 hits.

“Dang, that’s pretty dope,” I thought. “How’d that happen?”

There had to be an explanation. I mean, let’s face it, my posts aren’t that good. I realized that most of these hits had come from the Google search. In addition, a vast majority of them – 1,251 to be exact – were for one single phrase.

Spider coming out of cup.

“What the hell?” I said to my girlfriend. “Spider coming out of a cup? I never wrote about anything like that! That was never even a tag.” How was it possible? As a rational human being, I knew that 1,251 different people couldn’t have Google searched “spider coming out of cup” and ended up at my blog. I thought about it, and then I realized why my original stat obsession had faded away in the first place.

spider threeI like my stats, and when I have good days, I like to think it’s because I wrote something worthwhile and, thus, I should feel good about myself. But the truth probably has much more to do with chance. How many of those hits are people who actually take the time to read a post? How many are accidental? How many are people who click on a link, stay for a second, and split? To go further, how many of my blog hits are even living human beings?

There was no way one person, or any amount of people, could have been responsible for the ‘spider coming out of cup’ explosion. The only thing that made sense to me was that some type of automated computer program somehow got stuck in a loop, and that’s how it happened. That’s my theory. In my all-time stats, ‘spider coming out of cup’ currently ranks as the 4th highest searched Google term, and the number hasn’t gone up by one single hit since I checked my blog at noon that one day. If you’re curious, here is the whole top five:

1. Sex

2. 90210

3. Gunther Von Hagens

4. Spider coming out of cup

5. Namsan Tower

Shit, how random! What a bizarre group of things, eh? I didn’t even write about number four at all, and apart from a few jokes (see porn gag earlier in post), I haven’t really written about sex, either. How do we, bloggers, really know who is out there and why they’re reading us? The Internet is one big, weird place, isn’t it?

spider fourThen again, I could have it all wrong. Maybe somewhere, sitting in a basement, there’s a guy who has spent the last two years meticulously searching out information regarding spiders coming out of cups. It could be spurred on by some sort of awful childhood trauma. No blog has been left unexplored. From morning until night, he keeps looking. Spiders. Cups. It never ends.

Now that, my friends, is obsession.

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31 thoughts on “Dig That Spider Coming Out of a Cup! – A WordPress Blog Stat Mystery

  1. Love the blog, your writing is great; I get your new posts by email and read them all, from start to finish. I don’t do that with other blogs, oddly – you tell great stories and you have great stuff to talk about. Content is everything.. and you have it!

  2. Haha, reminds me a little of a blog I had way back, in Norwegian only. I kept the blog on my own Linux server at home and so could check what search terms people had used to (somehow) end up on my blog. Unfortunately I don’t remember any of the weird ones anymore, except one, someone apparently had typed in “‘transvestite’ ‘wood louse'” (Why would anyone search for that? What were they hoping to find??)
    I just have to add that I really like your blog, in fact it’s the only one I do like, and read. I usually just read the preview in my emailwindow, that probably doesn’t count as a hit! How rude of me.. At least now you know that somewhere out there people like me are reading your blog without it getting hits. That has to counteract some of the bot-hits? :)

    • Okay, I confess. Transvestite wood louse…it was me. I’ve been trying to find that for ages. (In all sincerity, I have no idea what that means.)

      Again, compliments – I can’t handle this! I know you, Hyperhege – I’ve followed you for awhile now and you don’t post too often. What’s up with that? Get to writing! haha I’m often curious about the Norwegian perspective. Seriously, thanks for the compliment there, it’s nice. I never get anything like that from the bots. : )

    • Hi Sabrina! Yeah, I have no idea – I liked that it was so specific. Not just spiders, but ones engaged in a particular action (coming out of a cup). And the images are for anyone who was hoping to find these kind of pictures on my blog. They can thank me later.

      Appreciate the comment. Take care! : )

  3. Hey, obsession with your stats is ok, it’s just when you start yammering on about them in public that it gets tiresome! There’s a guy who lives in my dorm who goes through periods where he constantly updates people on his current hitcount. He even made a whole thank-you post for the incredible landmark of…wait for it…1000 views. Rule of thumb: Nobody cares about your hitcount except you. Bloggers, stop writing these kinds of posts! A post that was well-written or inspired many thought-provoking comments is worthy of pride, one that got a lot of hits significantly less so.

    It IS funny to see the unexpected place your hits come from. (Until recently, my own highest-viewed post by far was a movie review that I wrote in ten minutes.) I thought maybe some recent news story inspired your spider-cup rush, but Googling “spider coming out of cup” doesn’t reveal much. If anything did cause it, maybe a surge of people trying to catch spiders under cups and wondering if they can escape was the culprit. “The Worm, the Spider and the Coffee Cup” is also intriguing, although it seems to be about a scene from Alien.

    I also found it hilarious that you tagged this post with each of your top five search terms. Nice one.

    • Sup guy! I have to admit, I’m a nosy son of a gun, and I love it when other bloggers talk about their stats. I don’t know why. It’s a curiosity thing. I hid my hit totals and followers ages ago, mostly because I really have no frame of reference for what is good and I didn’t want to embarrass myself. That said, I admire the confidence of people who proudly tout their numbers. Although if 1,000 hit guy started bragging about that…yeah…I might make snide comments.

      Isn’t that the shame of it, in a way? Referring to your point about the movie review. In truth, we would probably get a lot more traffic if we stuck to things like that, right? I mean, I wrote one stupid post about the TV show 90210, and it’s gotten me thousands of views. So, by extension, what if we always wrote about things like that? American Idol and Jersey Shore. That’s where the interest is, right? But we’re much too cool for that. You write about life in Japan (and make it look really cool btw) and I kind of stick to what I got. There’s no pandering from us! Haha.

      That’s funny you picked up on that! I expect this post to blow up! Peace Rude Boy!

      • Shame is definitely the word for it. Of course it was a Japanese movie so it did fit in with my theme, but I do sometimes wonder how I’d fare if I put more of that stuff in. And of course if you draw in a bunch of people with something a little bit stupid some of them might stick around, so maybe it’s ok from time to time? What’s interesting to me is reader reactions – I’ve gotten total silence on posts I really liked, and garnered positive comments from posts I was iffy on.

        I’m glad I make life in Japan “look really cool” – it certainly is cool to live it! ^-^

      • Yeah, you’re totally right on. There’s really no way to judge how good a post is. I don’t think the comment number or the number of likes is indicative of quality. Maybe I’m wrong and fooling myself. But like you said earlier when you mentioned the ten minutes it took to write the movie review, there are times when I’ve taken a good amount of time to put something up, really worked on it, and then there’s silence. Likewise, there are things I’ve written in literally five minutes and they end up getting a nice response. So who knows?

        Just keep doing what you’re doing, right? Later guy!

  4. Many months ago I had people voting on a caption contest, and it was so close I had a run-off vote. I called the post “neck and neck election results!”. This November, the day after elections day, I had a pleasing hit count, and a lot of people out there were frustrated trying to find out who the president was going to be.

  5. Noooooooo! No more spiders in cups or anywhere! On another, less hysterical note, I also love stats. I was getting some strange searches too, but the most common one I get is “orange kitten”, or some variation of it. And it leads them to a tragic story about an orange kitten that I witnessed getting struck and killed by a van.

  6. Strangely enough I got several hits from the phrase “Teacher forced me to freeball”. Somehow my blog is the third hit if you google that phrase. I don’t ever remember writing anything remotely close to that phrase. haha, enjoy the spider in your cup!

    • This seriously made me laugh! Teacher forced me to freeball? I had to Google it, and holy God were there some strange results! One of the top ones was some dude on Facebook named “Donovan Freeball Smith.” What a name! “Yo, how you doin’? I’m Freeball Smith!” That guy is awesome!

      Well, that certainly is a strange phrase. Both to Google in the first place, and as something leading people to you. Now, maybe you should actually sit down and write a post about teachers forcing students to freeball. The hits will be out of control! The possibilities are endless!!!

      I dunno. Thanks for stopping by. Peace in the Further East! : )

    • Hi Gwen! I assume this is the Gwen I know. Hi!

      Yeah, I wrote a post awhile back about how I wanted to put a love lock on Namsan Tower, and I was considering putting one up even though I didn’t have a girlfriend just to save a good spot for the future. Planning ahead, you know? I believe that was my one bit on Namsan Tower. If I start to feel like I need an attention boost, maybe I’ll write a sequel. : )

      Peace Gwen!

  7. So.. I was doing my search on “spiders in a cup” and what I get is your blog. I am still dealing with my blog/stats obsession.. down to going up to 10 hours without checking it. Okay.. I lied, every 5 hours. But it’s because I care.. about the readers. Yah, that’s it.

    I just recently sold everything and moved to the Philippines 5 months ago. Never been here before but, seemed like a good idea at the time. Now that I’ve been here awhile.. seems now like the best-damn-idea I ever had. Genius even. I had a point to make.. what was it?

    Oh yah, prostitutes and booze. Glad to see I’m not the only hedonist sharing my tales. If anyone gets on my case I’ll just point them your way and say, “Oh yah?.. well.. he’s doing it too.”

    Keep up the good work. As for me, I’m relocating to Bohol in two months. I hear they have a place there called ‘Virgin Beach’. I didn’t see any in the photos, maybe they only come out at night. Either way.. they won’t be virgins for long once I get there.

  8. I used to obsess about my stats too. When I first started blogging, I had 0 to 10 people check out my blog, so of course I got excited when I had 20 people look at it! That was A LOT for me! ;) Now I get a lot more viewers, but I don’t check it as often, b/c a lot of the time the number is confounded by those spammers (darn lista de email, luis vuitton and spell casters!!!) Plus, one time when I did feel I had a lot of viewers and / or subscribers, I happened to come across a blog that had triple what I had. If that’s not a self-esteem deflater I don’t know what is!! ;) …..Anyways, funny post—I really thought it would be about a spider in the cup. (I saw that once in museum display and it was gross!!… Yet, I couldn’t take my eyes off it!)

    • Yeah, I can absolutely relate! I remember once near the beginning writing a post that I thought was really good, and when it got 50 hits I felt like I was Stephen King or something. I think that’s part of what makes the whole experience fun – we all mostly start at the same place, have the same problems, etc. So we can all relate to each other quite a bit.

      And blog envy – oh yeah. I know it well. I remember last year I got Freshly Pressed and the post did really well, and then two days later, while I was still up there, they Pressed some post called “Things White Girls Do on Facebook” and that got thousands of likes and comments, dwarfing my moment of WordPress glory. I will admit that it was a tad bit humbling. Good for perspective though, yeah, good for that. : )

    • I dunno. I’ve had this discussion with some bloggin’ buddies. We reached the conclusion that there’s no real way to tell how good you’re doing. Haha. Sounds negative, right? Or at least how good it is. I mean, you can make an argument for any one thing being the most important thing, and an argument against it (hits, followers, comments, likes, getting fresly pressed, etc). The argument against the comment number, of course, would be that it’s often inflated by personal friends, or the blogger getting all the comments just does a really good job of networking. Which is not to say networking is bad. But if you go and comment on a bunch of other blogs, it makes sense that you’ll start getting more comments on your own. People generally repay the compliment. And that doesn’t mean the writing itself is necessarily better than some blogger who doesn’t network, has no friends, and gets no comments. Aww. Poor lonely blogger!

      You and I are friends, obviously, which is why we comment on each other’s blogs. I mean, we’re friends in real life. Wait, we aren’t? What, I’ve never actually met you? Or communicated with you on a non-blog basis? This is crazy. It’s like I don’t even know you anymore! : D

  9. Bllruughhhh, I thought this was going to be a horrific tale of how you almost ingested a spider. While the blog stats thing is weird, I’m still happy for you that this isn’t the case.

  10. Jenny

    I love your use of language, and the generally upbeat and positive (and clean) tone of your posts. Keep ‘em coming!

    Regarding search terms: my blog gets most of its – very few – hits from people searching on “may you get what you wish for”, which was the title of a post I wrote three years ago. I realise that when they arrive at my blog post, most of them will be thinking “darn, that’s not what I was looking for” but I like to think that one or two of them might read my post anyway…

    I enjoyed this post of yours just as much as the others. But please, no more spider photos!

    • Hi Jenny! Thanks for the kind words. And no more spider photos, I agree. Unless something dethrones me as the #1 website if you do a Google search of “spider coming out of cup.” With competition comes more spider pics. You understand. : )

      I’m gonna go follow your blog now and read about getting what I wish for. Sweet! Cheers!

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