For 2006: Feedback, Please!

This year’s traffic, via sitemeter:


Okay, dear readers, I have some questions for you:

What improvements might you suggest for the Big Picture? Use the comments below to let loose a barrage of suggestions (except for the colors . . . they stay).

To get the ball rolling, what do you think about:

• More frequent, shorter posts vs. longer, less frequent discussions?

• More strictly business vs. more personal anecdotes?

• Broader subject matter versus more focused attention span?

• More or less of: digital issues, politics, science, religon, economics, philosophy, psychology, enterainment, research, other web sites, education, and markets?

Don’t limit yourself to these ideas, but please use them as a leaping off point.

Okay, now its time for you to chime in. Between 6-11,000 of you come here each day (less on weekends, plus a significant (but uncountable) number of RSS readers. You collectively view between 9,000 – 16,000 pages on a typical week day.

I know you people have a lot to contribute, and are none to shy about expressing your are opinions in the comments; besides, I’m asking you for it. Don’t be shy!


What say ye?

What's been said:

Discussions found on the web:
  1. DG commented on Dec 30

    I think the site really is great, although the searching function could use an upgrade. I should be able to search all the posts, rather than just by subject. If you CAN do this, Im not aware of it.

    As for the posts, I think they are great and incredibly informative. It doesnt hurt that I agree with Barry’s take on the markets and economy, but irrespective of that, the information is clear and concise and incredibly relevant.

  2. DG commented on Dec 30

    I think the site really is great, although the searching function could use an upgrade. I should be able to search all the posts, rather than just by subject. If you CAN do this, Im not aware of it.

    As for the posts, I think they are great and incredibly informative. It doesnt hurt that I agree with Barry’s take on the markets and economy, but irrespective of that, the information is clear and concise and incredibly relevant.

  3. Michael C. commented on Dec 30

    I’ve always wondered why your threads have so few comments given how many hits your site gets.

    …all in all, love your site. And since its a blog, I’m glad you post whatever suits your own interest since that’s what it’s all about.

    Personally, being a trader, I find most interest in market analysis, indicators, and market timing.

  4. drew bambic commented on Dec 30

    — pablum is available on CNN — iconaclastic, authentic works best. Your call on the DJ is a good example.
    — lighten up on the music and IT stuff (I’m one of those who believe that IT no longer matters — see Carlotta Perez & Nick Carr & Clayton Christensen).

  5. cm commented on Dec 30

    I would suggest not to put the complete posts on the main page, but only an intro plus a “more” link to the full post, if your software can do this. I’m not sure how this will affect network traffic. Perhaps it will even increase it, as most people are likely to read all new posts.

    Other than traffic, I expect this will make it much easier to navigate the posts.

  6. John Bott commented on Dec 30

    I honestly wouldn’t change a thing except the colors.
    Great site – main reason I love it so much is because I can read about music when the markets bore me.

    Cheers and Happy New Year –

  7. alex commented on Dec 30

    Make articles easier to print

  8. mm commented on Dec 30

    I like the site just fine. I like the eclectic mix of posts. I like the colors. My only gripe is as the site loads on my Mac, the purple color fills the window for several seconds before the white background takes over. Hope you have a happy, healthy and prosperous new year.

  9. ben payne commented on Dec 30

    don’t change a thing….it’s all great.

  10. blue commented on Dec 30

    I wish you could be a little more bullish and optimistic about the economy. heh. please don’t put a partial post on the main page, that’s annoying (huffpost does that). I would like more of the same, this is hands down my favorite website (other favs are boingboing, firedoglake, housing bubble 2, jeff matthews, wayne madsen) so no change is really needed. i guess maybe the occasional step-back, big picture introspection type post would be nice… you know, not any particular subject just some improvisational brainstorm type stuff.
    also, laying out the opposite argument is sometimes helpful. perhaps assigning probabilities, even if relatively arbitrary, might be interesting. it would be nice to give shoutouts when you’re on kudlow “as blueherring commented on my blog”, that would be exquisite.
    extended ‘if, then’ excursions like “if gold stays above
    $500 for several months, then after the miners book the profits on their quarterlies, the market will reprice their reserves… if that
    happens, then their multiple will… etc. etc.”.
    but you don’t actually have to change a thing,
    best blog i know of. Rock on Ritholtz!

  11. Andy R commented on Dec 30

    I’m a regular visitor & Real Money subscriber. I tend to focus on economics/markets/stocks and spend little time on else. I generally can’t think of anything I’d change. Heck, I’d like more of it. Two thoughts: insights on industries that might benefit or not from your theses, and why. And second, a little more “why” on the economics stuff for we who are slow on such things.

    Example: You like gold, I like gold, but I own gold stocks and have for quite a while. Economics-wise: You seem to be betting on violently conflicting ideas (gold and lower long bond yeilds. (I like it and put on a big long muni-bond “hedge” yesterday, but my simple understanding of economics tells me I’m going on gut and not brains. i.e., I can’t explain it to myself. Well, sort of.)

    Basically, I think your blog is a wonderful resource. Kudos and my regards.

  12. TCO commented on Dec 30

    unban me.

  13. bigboy commented on Dec 30

    I love the site and honestly – I would not change the subjects I think this is great…

    One thing that I’d like is if the RSS feed was configured not just to download the excerpt of the post but the whole post instead. I am guessing we get the excerpt so we go to the page (and see the ads) at times too, but – there you go, you asked. 🙂

  14. sheriff commented on Dec 30

    I really enjoy this blog and the posts. Very good info., maybe pick on a different stock every now and then. I read this blog everyday.

  15. Eric A. commented on Dec 30

    • More frequent, shorter posts vs. longer, less frequent discussions?

    As an amateur, I find the longer discussions far more informative—there’s more context and explanation to help me figure out the unfamiliar parts. Some of the shortest posts are unintelligible to me—probably I don’t yet have enough overall experience to know which current events or economic concepts are being referred to. Of course, everyone is at a different level or has a different learning curve.

    In short, the longer posts will favor the less experienced reader; the shorter posts will favor the ones who already got “the big picture” and are looking for quick updates (like a ticker).

    • More strictly business vs. more personal anecdotes?

    It’s not like we are listening to a recording of you. If someone doesn’t want to read an anecdote, they can scroll down instantly, virtually no effort, no searching around (like in a magazine full of obnoxious ads).

    In any case we all need some comic relief now and then. Your anecdotes are fun and interesting! And no small part of the appeal of blogs is the individual or small community feel, the identification the reader makes with the writer. Blogs are all about spontaneity and interactivity anyway, not to mention the alternative-to-mainstream thing. And your anecdotes fit right in with all that.

    • Broader subject matter versus more focused attention span?

    I have gained confidence in your blog based on how it has been, and therefore I am now always eager to know *your* opinion of what deserves closer attention.

    You probably spend the most time on things you know most about and have the most to say about. This is clearly a good thing!

    If I had to pick a reason why your site meter climbed from July to September and then declined, I would choose the correlation with oil prices—they generated a need among us websurfers to understand the big picture. Of course your meter shows that in spite of peaking, you’re still way above where you were—that I attribute to the readers who felt they found something quite valuable in your blog and now come back regularly (like me).

    In sum, coming events (pessimistically speaking) will drive readership to you because you address the issues underlying those events. I would take this approach over trying to cater to the masses.

  16. deb commented on Dec 30

    Fabulous site-you might want to update the stuff on the right hand column…

  17. JWC commented on Dec 30

    I’m one of those that are here every day. Can’t think of much I would change. I love your economic stuff. I particularly love graphs. I’m not much on the electronic and digital, but I just skip over it. I love the link fests.

    I would like to see just a bit… itty bitty… more about how politics play in to the economic picture. I know you can’t be political and I figure you are not a political person, but it is hard for me to ignor how much of what I see as an economic mess is related to decisions made in congress and the whitehouse. IMHO.

    Wonderful wonderful blog.

  18. Idaho_Spud commented on Dec 30

    Your blog seems quite fine, just as it is.

    Write about what interests you, and if it interests me, I’ll read it! If it doesn’t interest me, there’s always another excellent post in the pipeline 🙂

    Happy New Year Barry, and everyone else too!

  19. Iowa_Corn commented on Dec 30

    More posts about technical analsysis. What you think is going up and what you think is going down.

    My $.02.

  20. Norman commented on Dec 30

    I think your blog is the most intelligent that I read so as to content I have no complaints. I do wish that the graphs/charts you include (mostly great) can be made larger than is currently possible as my printers sometimes cannot pick up the small type.

  21. me commented on Dec 30

    I really appreciate the time and effort you put into the site and really like the information. No complaints.

  22. Mhashe commented on Dec 30

    Forget any structure.

    Keep it the way it is and go with the flow. There is enough structured commentary on the net.

  23. greyhair commented on Dec 30

    Barry, I think you do a fine job. You’re a daily visit and I often quote you on my own blog. The charts are particularly nifty in illustrating your points. I’m less interested in the music industry stuff, but even that is sometimes a good read. I really don’t have any big suggestions to make. Keep it up and thanks!

  24. jb commented on Dec 30

    My preferences:

    • Long in depth discussions.

    • More business than personal anecdotes.

    • Focused on economy and investing.

    • More economics, research, markets, other websites.

    • Less digital issues, religion, entertainment.

    Great blog. Thanks for doing it.

  25. Jeff Miller commented on Dec 30

    The site is a great source. The commentary is always stimulating and–especially important–very timely. I think the non-market references have a humanizing charm, letting us all feel that we know you a little better. You could tweak the long right column a bit, but the overall content and presentation is great. Even those who may not always agree with your conclusions appreciate the effort required to search out and present relevant information.

  26. Mario Rodriguez commented on Dec 30

    The content is great, but what would make it better would be to have headlines followed by links. Shorter stories would take away what makes the site great, which is your ability to make sense of what is going on around us.

  27. Max commented on Dec 30

    Barry. I enjoy visiting your blog.

    A few suggestions:

    – a search function would be helpful.
    – More charts – graphs speak to me better than just numbers
    – add more comparisons between different anaylysts viewpoints, so we can understand multiple sides to the issues.
    – historical perspective is always much appreciated (like your 100yr Dow)
    – in-depth and comprehensive discussions
    – spice it with out-of-the-box thinkers views
    – more markets, asset classes, indicators, timing
    – keep the posts on music and digital issues

    And keep having fun. I do when I visit.

  28. cluster_fluck commented on Dec 30

    I like the posts that call BS on news articles on the economy.

    Also, had a post yesterday on bling.

  29. calmo commented on Dec 30

    It’s mostly alright.
    And personal with moderate to generous replies to commenters (who are a good reflection of your [mostly] impeccable taste and style) . You are just far enough away from the academics and the business crowd to keep my attention no matter the topic. [Something of a novelty]
    I’m not sure whether your aim is to improve the numbers/participation on the site or the length of the threads or the quality of the comments. [Of those thousands we aren’t really interested in the meatheads, yes?] Personally, if you get too popular, I could leave and we know what a disaster that would be.
    More political/religious posts would give you that push to more heated visits, ad hominems and entertaining commentary.
    It can be a little too conservative (ie no politics) here at times.
    Don’t make too many radical changes, without checking with us first.
    Happy New Year to you and your flock.

  30. Steve commented on Dec 31

    More of… the same!
    You have a good mix of everything Business / Technology / Financial in my opinion. Its a one stop shop.
    I really like the charts on everything
    they’re very informative.

  31. Dave commented on Dec 31

    Keep it the same. This is one of my favorite sites because of the mix of topics. If there’s a post I’m not interested in, I’ll just scroll past it.

  32. brian commented on Dec 31

    i dig the BP. More econ (and more of it) -less entertainment stuff for me (a pro musician saying this) All in all, you’ve got a pretty nice mix already.
    ps. check out the New Pornographers and Sun Kil Moon.

  33. Bryan g commented on Dec 31

    You’re economics posts are right on, but what really sets the site apart for me is the focus on the impact of technology on culture.

    I’m always a fan of brevity and conciseness when it comes to posts. There are probably ten other econ sites that I have bookmarked that I hardly read – despite their excellent content they usually overlap, tend to be long-winden, and as such often bore when read in succession.

    I’ve been developing a personal theory about the best books being around 200 pages or less. Much longer than that and either there is more than one central theory being addressed or it is chock full of details I will never retain. I’d like to think that the best blog posts share a similar focus.

  34. Bryan g commented on Dec 31

    oh, one other thought.

    The other site that I frequent as often as yours is Marginal Revolution, which pays a broad attention to cultural issues from an economist’s lens. I’m not sure how widespread the practice is, but over there they have a very effective system for eliciting participation – only selected posts have comments sections where “the floor is open”.

    Not having the regular option to comment seems to move people to jump at the oppurtunity when it does arise, and the responses tend to be especially well-constructed. I’m not sure how well it would work over here, but I’ve been very impressed with their approach.

  35. hans Suter commented on Dec 31

    keep it or change it. I’m with you. Happy New Year to you and your readers.
    Have the same purple color thing happening on the mac like mm.

  36. Joe Rizzom commented on Dec 31

    Thanks for the solicitation of feedback. You’re one of the smarter people in the blogosphere. The content is well written, timely and you are just plain smart.

    A couple of suggestions:

    Maybe it’s here, but can you add an email article function? There are times where I’d like to forward the link or the article to someone and if you had that option I’d use it.

    Feature some of the comments in a new post from your perspective. I am sure some people have shocked, enlightened or made you laugh. Pull them out and write about the comment. Engage us.

    That’s all for suggestions.

    The colors are fine. 🙂

    Thanks for a great service!

  37. John East commented on Dec 31

    Keep it as it is, with as much variety as possible. Personally I find the lengthy technical posts hard work, but that’s my problem, not a failing of this site.

    It’s interesting that the plot above of visits over the years correlates fairly closely to the Nasdaq plot over the same period. You’de better pray for a continuation of the rally if you want to keep your numbers up.

  38. Allan commented on Dec 31

    Happy New Year!
    Not being tech savvy or musically inclined I am very much in tune with your sense of the econosphere. I’ve only been reading your work for a few months but it has become my first stop a few times a day.
    You are right on the money- so I think, as someone else posted, that your readership will increase again as economy moves your way. If your calls on the DOW and S&P are on target hold on and strap yourself in.
    Thanks for your work.

  39. royce commented on Dec 31

    You may as well keep it the way it is. It’s no use for a blogger to start worrying about how to please his readers unless he’s trying to get as many readers as possible to make money off the site. Writing about what your instincts tell you is important or worthwhile is what makes blogging fun. And if it’s not fun, why do it?

    Anytime there’s content that doesn’t interest me, I just scroll past. It’s not hard. It’s not like you’re posting 25 articles a day.

  40. Levi commented on Dec 31

    I come to your blog for up to the minute macroeconomic commentary and top notch insight into the numbers in the headlines. I ignore most of the other posts. I regularly reference your blog in conversations with colleagues

  41. j commented on Dec 31

    Your approach is wonderful.

    Most of mainsteam and internet media is currently telling people what to think rather than reporting patterns they see and allowing people to interpret for themselves.

    I appreciate how you describe what you observe and then provide clearly separate commentary. I’d like to hear more of what these patterns mean to you. Graphs chosen always leave an impression.

    It’s a joy to read what you are thinking, please don’t shy away from personal commentary.


  42. Ryan Kerr commented on Dec 31

    I think the site is very informative as is. I might only suggest more business, less ‘other’ (but I’m a very plain person.)

    I enjoy when you point out what Wall St. and the ‘talking heads’ pundits are saying vs. your thoughts and/or technicals. I think people enjoy seeing the motives behind the Wall St. marketing machine.

    Keep up the good work in 2006 !

  43. Sarah commented on Dec 31

    I love the site. Mostly I use it as an antidote for the BS the mainstream news sells us about the economy. Since I don’t have a background in economics or business, you provide a decoder ring. My favorite stuff this year was about the housing market (bubble or not).

    Example — after reading your pieces on the yield curve, I heard a “news” segment featuring a man from some bank saying that there’s no recession in sight.


  44. donna commented on Dec 31

    My interest in reading here is to tie in what is going on in the economy with the political and social aspects of America. I would like to see your thoughts on what direction the economy is going to take when everyone is finally tapped out and there is nothing left to borrow, or what events might trigger a shift from the massive consumer economy to some more sustainable model. I’m interested in where we are going to go, and how to avoid the inevitable downswing that is going to happen when this economy shifts. I see things as currently unsustainable, and it being more a matter of when the shift happens, not if. So I look to your blog to provide the clues for where we are headed.

  45. Tim commented on Dec 31

    More bitchslapping please.

    No, seriously…

    You should use even more stuff from that guy in California with the Greenspan blog.

    No, seriously…

    The search link on the right works fine if you know that you’re supposed to type something after the “” that gets put into the text window for you. More intuitive would be a text window on your blog and a button that says “Search this blog”.

    Sometimes your graphics aren’t readable even when you click on them to make them bigger, which sometime doesn’t make them bigger at all, which ultimately is just a little disappointing, but really doesn’t detract much from the overall value you provide which is really without equal.

    The collapsable posts would work well on your blog since you sometimes have long posts, but at this point, you’ll probably make a lot more people mad than you would please – we are animals of habit, and have become used to scrolling on your blog when skipping over posts that don’t immediately interest us. Although many could quickly adjust to this change, others may not be so flexible and may cast aspersion your way.

    The whole article on your RSS feed would be helpful too – it defeats much of the purpose of using a feed, IMO.

    These are all minor points – just keep being Barry!

  46. Eric commented on Dec 31

    Thank you very much for your great blog, Barry! Congrats on the big increase in visitors this year!

    My daily visits to your blog are indicative of my comfort with the present format. However, I’ll share some thoughts…

    I value your “rational contrarian” perspective. Please don’t change.

    I appreciate the depth of your posts.

    My preference would be slightly more finance, a little less personal POV’s

    More markets, and less sports/entertainment

    I also enjoy the insight your provide about your various media appearances.

    In summary, thank you for the terrific blog and for sharing your investment/finance perspective.

    Happy New Year!


    • More frequent, shorter posts vs. longer, less frequent discussions?

    • More strictly business vs. more personal anecdotes?

    • Broader subject matter versus more focused attention span?

    • More or less of: digital issues, politics, science, religon, economics, philosophy, psychology, enterainment, research, other web sites, education, and markets?

  47. Pontz commented on Dec 31

    The black print on the dark purple/blue background is almost impossible to read. Your latest bestest java, or something, pegs the cpu on my computer while it is trying to load the page; I would imagine others just go somewhere else – I’m trying to let you know.

  48. D.Sokol commented on Dec 31

    More focus on major investment themes.

  49. Lord commented on Dec 31

    Don’t know how you find the time. Keeps me busy just reading it. Always enjoy the charts and historical sweep. Keep up the good work.

  50. swanlakers commented on Dec 31

    when clicking on a chart to enlarge it, please make the chart much bigger, not just a little bit bigger.

  51. Reinhard commented on Dec 31

    I love your critical analyzes which use statistics and charts. It makes your comments grounded in reality and allows one to agree, or disagree, with you not just based on how well you make your argument, but also based on ones personal confidence in the underlying data. I greatly enjoyed your articles on inflation, which probably means that I enjoy material that goes against the usual political and market cheerleading of others. Reading your weblog is enjoyable on a daily basis because you have the right depth of material and a good posting frequency. Keep up the great work!

  52. Devin Reams commented on Dec 31

    As mentioned, full-text feeds would be the only thing I’d ask for.

  53. Ralph commented on Dec 31

    Like the site just as it is. There are other places to read about deep economic analysis but most are too boring for me. Not much of a trader myself but I enjoy your take on a variety of current financial and investment topics. Bloomberg or other pure financial news sites are okay but this gets boring to me after a while.

  54. Mitchell commented on Dec 31

    I come for the economics, and would prefer that opinions and discussions about religion (e.g., who’s “right” in the creationism vs. intelligent design debate) be left for other sites.

  55. Zach commented on Jan 1

    I like this site a lot, I’d be wary of changing it. I really think the mix of personal interest/generally interesting stuff and econo/finance stuff is very good too.

    I stumbled across it in a link from Max Sawicky and have been a daily vistor ever since.

    Happy New Year!

  56. Jack K. Miller commented on Jan 1

    Great blog, keep up the good work.

    Cut out some of the personal stuff or media fluff. Or, only post a lead-in to this stuff. The real meat is being diluted by the junk.

  57. G Eddy commented on Jan 1

    Except for the an excessive emphasis on pop music, this is a very helpful site. I hit it every day.

    Also, your appearances on CNBC and elsewhere might be summarized for those of us who can’t always get to the TV. Your call on FIC a couple of months ago, for example, was very profitable for me. It would be useful to repeat those comments on your web site.

    BR: My compliance situation on individual names is a huge pain in the arse —

    The restrictions will hopefully change dramatically in 2006

  58. R. Mcguffey commented on Jan 1

    Definitely one of the most informative sites. However, the “insights” are too domestic which is why publications like the FT, AsiaWeek etc. are helpful. As much as the US pushes globalization, too many of the financial/economic publications and web sites have that “republic of the united states” flavor. I am not suggesting you turn your blog into an international forum, BUT the views expessed are far too often churning domestic information, albeit with a more realistic perspective. How about bringing some fresh juice in from offshore and see how others outside the US bubble view our markets!

  59. Chris. F. Masse .COM commented on Jan 1

    Hello Barry Ritholtz,

    You have support for RSS 1 and Atom 0.3, but not for RSS 2.


    Are you a racist, Barry?????

    Happy New Year Anyway!!!!

    Chris. F. Masse

  60. Matt commented on Jan 1

    I only just learned of your blog and love it already. As others have said, it’s your blog, do what you want, but I suspect people will be most interested in your market insights. Only suggestion I would make is using PNG format for images instead of JPG. JPEG is really optimized for photographic images, not technical graphics. That’s why you get those annoying stray dots and blurry text. PNG should give you at least as good compression and far more legible graphics.

  61. stock junkies commented on Jan 2

    well, you know we’re all over stocks like bad rash.

    I would love to see you do more individual stock analysis.

    tell us what to buy or sell. isolate dogs. pick home runs.
    leverage your macroeconomic savvy and apply it to stock ideas.

    otherwise, this site is superb, and i think its one of the best places on the web in general…

    BR: At my firm, there have been compliance issues with individual stock names
    The compliance situation should moderate in 2006 . . .

  62. Amos commented on Jan 2

    1. more emphasis on technical analysis, please. Your read on the chart readers, in detail.

    Re: purple/white issue. Happens to me, too, on PC and Firefox. Happens at TalkingPointsMemo, too. It’s a matter of having body background-color (in your case, a background image) and then a div background-color. For some reason, the div background-color loads last, even after the text loads. Probably some CSS guru has a trick to correct it.

  63. Amos commented on Jan 2

    1. more emphasis on technical analysis, please. Your read on the chart readers, in detail.

    Re: purple/white issue. Happens to me, too, on PC and Firefox. Happens at TalkingPointsMemo, too. It’s a matter of having body background-color (in your case, a background image) and then a div background-color. For some reason, the div background-color loads last, even after the text loads. Probably some CSS guru has a trick to correct it.

  64. Trend Watcher commented on Jan 3

    Great blog. Thank you.

    My suggesstions to make it even better.

    1. One more vote for better printing – ideally – white background, black and colored text, full color for graphs.

    2. Where possible, make the data that’s behind the graphs available for further analysis (e.g. in a CSV file)

  65. LDB commented on Jan 3

    I really enjoy this site. The content of the information should not be changed.

    I agree with some other posters that the format of the site should be changed. It is difficult if not impossible to find interesting/pertinent topics from the past. An index of some sort would be helpful, more specific than the broad search categories currently present (e.g. economics, politics, finance, etc.). How about some sort of search feature so that interested readers could find all the discussions dealing with a particular topic (e.g. the gold-standard, Keynesian economics, Jimmy Carter, etc.)?

  66. s wood commented on Feb 8

    You could answer your emails for one. Sent a question about two weeks ago with no answer.

  67. D Wood commented on Aug 19

    Great site. The best part is all the interesting and unusual charts you find to post. One chart is worth well more than 1000 words. Keep them coming, the more the better.

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