It suddenly occurred to me that there might be a better way of verifying my impression that would have lost readers as a result of its move from an html-based subscription model to the awful Flash-based one I wrote about recently. (Others seem to have similar opinions — see, for example, this well-written post at ExplodedLibrary bunker.)

Enter Alexa, a site for measuring web traffic. Now it’s not perfect, but any systematic under/over counts or reporting biases should remain relatively constant over time — meaning that somewhat meaningful comparisons can be drawn against its own figures from different time periods, even if they cannot necessarily be drawn against data from other statistics sites.

Without further ado, here is the five year graph of traffic to as measured by Alexa. That crater in mid-2006 corresponds, unsurprisingly enough, with the introduction of AFR Access.

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A comparison against other Australian and international news sites is also instructive.

Here is AFR up against and over the last three years. The Fin is effectively hidden in the statistical noise — or, as one of my superb former lecturers used to say when teaching us about NMR spectroscopy, “It’s lost in the grass”:

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And, to prove my hunch, here’s the 6 month performance of — showing no pickup since the “change” from AFR Access to on 2 April 2007:

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For the original post at, click here. For more about the fiasco by Ben, click here.