Market Events & the Blogosphere

I’m heading into the office, so I won’t get to GDP until later today. I wanted to get to a comment in a post last night that asked "How big was spike in site traffic today?"

That’s a fascinating question, and it raises all sorts of interesting issues: What is the role of blogs in reporting/commenting on fast breaking news events, what does this mean for the role of the mainstream media, is this a significant realignment, etc.

To answer the initial question: Traffic went up about 80% as compared to our typical weekday, and up about 50% relative to the past 5 weekdays. Between 15-20k individuals swing by here most work days, and these folks view about 25k pages. Yesterday, about 31k people came buy and looked at almost 46,000 pages. (You can play with the various ways of depicting stats over at sitemeter).

Weekly Unique Visitors and Page Views


Monthly Unique Visitors and Page Views


As far as the MSM is concerned, there are numerous ways to intepret this. On the one hand, many readers rely on blogs as a filter for the MSM: I don’t buy into the argument that blogs make the media redundant; My sense is that many readers think: Show me what I need to see, and save me the time of sifting thru 100s of other sources. A post like this morn’s Around the World in 24 Hours is just that sort of overview. For many news consumers, media is important, with blogs acting as a filter/redirector.   

Yet at the same time, most of the generation born after the 1987  crash doesn’t like to get ink on their hands. They get nearly all of their news from the web, and almost never touch a physical paper.

I don’t reach any major conclusions on this, other than noting the MSM needs to stay interactive to remain relevant to its future consumers. Media is clearly in a period of transition, and how they handle it will determine how relevant — and profitable — they will be in the future . . .   


UPDATE: February 28, 2007 10:29am

Most of the market related blogs are reporting a 50% in traffic yesterday, with several noting all time page view highs  . . .

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  1. Macro Man commented on Feb 28

    I had the exact same thing happen to me (albeit in much smaller numbers), with today looking at even more traffic. Certainly suggests that yesterday’s events piqued people’s interest (I’d say my readers were looking for a reaction vis-a-vis the yen carry trade, for example…)

  2. Trader Mike commented on Feb 28

    A Record Day in More Ways than One

    We all know about the record volume on some exchanges yesterday. And I heard that the jump in the VIX was a record move as well. Clearly the market got peoples attention yesterday. But I have another stat this site had a record traffi…

  3. Ottnott commented on Feb 28

    You described blogs as a time-saving filter, like a digest of some sort. That is one important function, but not the function I value most.

    Blogs filter, but also flavor.

    Most reporters who produce conventional media are like fast-food cooks – when news happens, they follow a set recipe and get the story out fast.

    Bloggers get to choose what stories they cover, and many bloggers choose topics in which they have far more expertise than the reporters they cover.

    And some bloggers are just damn good writers who don’t have to worry about things like upsetting advertisers, losing access to sources, and meeting the demands of an editor and a tight publication deadline.

  4. dark1p commented on Feb 28

    Hey, Barry! I was born in ’55 and the only newspaper I read in ink is the freebie I pick up to entertain myself on the subway. It ain’t just people in their twenties who do their news gathering on the web.

    Even at that, I mostly steer clear of the MSM online outlets, since (like their inked or broadcast versions) they seem to be the worst at getting practically any story ‘right’ these days. Blogs and other alternative news sources have completely shot past the (mostly) dunderheaded MSM crap that passes for reporting.

    For financial news, one of the best side effects of my move to online sources is that I get to bypass the noisy, annoying, hypey atmosphere of CNBC. I know you appear there as a guest from time to time, but geez Louise, it’s truly awful. I do put it on in the morning once in a while with the sound off to check the poorly-designed market checks at the top of the screen. Their one virtue: they cycle faster than Bloomberg.

  5. JJ commented on Feb 28

    Personally, I do not read the US MSM because I do not trust what they report. MSM, like our politicians, is so ruled by corporations and special interest groups that it “reports” an agenda, not objective news.

    I live in Europe and we get TV news from at least ten news services – including ABC, NBC and ofcourse, the king of all propaganda, CNN. In most cases, the gist of a given news item reported by the numerous non US TV is in line with each other. However, if you watch the same news item on US TV, it makes you wonder if they are reporting the same news.

    The reporting is so polarized and biased that I do not even find it funny any more. When I lived in the US, I remember being able to watch 30 minutes of BBC World News on my local PBS channel. Other than that, the rest of the channels were just brain washing an agenda. I doubt if things have changed……….

  6. rob commented on Feb 28

    agree with ottnot about reading blogs to get some color on the news.

  7. weezielovesmoonpies commented on Feb 28

    To the other points already mentioned, and with which I agree, I’d like to add that the quality of analysis is way higher on blogs like this than in MSM business coverage (with the exception of the WSJ).

    Financial bloggers like Barry assume a level of sophistication of their readers, while MSM condescendingly assume ignorance.

  8. me commented on Feb 28

    In addition to Barry’s brilliant analysis, I really appreciate the debate that is missing in the MSM. Here, unless it is a troll, others always mention things I may have missed or not thought of.

  9. wally commented on Feb 28

    People like to get together and to talk in times of threat, confusion or disaster. Beyond that, I wouldn’t try to read much into it.

  10. rex commented on Feb 28

    Traffic on our main market story on Marketwatch was more than 10 times normal.

  11. MarkTX commented on Feb 28

    Traffic on Charles Schwab’s brokerage site was very high last night after I got off work (barely if not really usable for 2 hours)…

    Think people were looking (rubbernecking) to see the damage?

    Above all its great that Barry’s site had a large surge in traffic–It shows that his blog/opinions are valuable and/or motivate people to look at “the big picture.”

    whether they like it or not!!!!

  12. DavidB commented on Feb 28

    This sounds like the triumph of specialization to me. There must be a lot of average Joe’s out there who keep one eye on the market but don’t have the time to follow it too closely. They listen to the business news and check their stocks every once in a while just to keep up on things and make sure the ship is still on course.

    Because these folks have full time jobs and other occupations it’s all they can do. Watch out of the corner of their eye. Their specialty is in another area and they probably have to focus a lot of their time and energy on that.

    That is where the blogs come in. When a break happens they get the news about it from the MSM but they can get the details of it and how it relates to them from the various blogs that are out there that deal with more specific circumstances. These places are some people’s first sources of news and information so that they can quantify the events and how it relates to them.

    That is the beauty of the web is that it can focus people’s attention on specifics when events call for it. The blogs serve an important role of being people’s eyes and ears for them where they can’t be. It was once the job of the MSM to do that but people have learned that the MSM does not serve their interests so they get it somewhere else

  13. Richard commented on Feb 28

    i came here yesterday for the particular viewpoint you and most of your posters share as it relates to a major news event that your blog is the subject for. my guess is others share this viewpoint.

  14. lurker commented on Feb 28

    good posts on the reduced value of MSM but don’t forget the need for SPEED.
    Bloggers can give nearly real time analysis, while reporters can only report.
    Erin is cute, but Barry is smart.

  15. GRL commented on Feb 28

    I read the blogs that focus on the subjects that interest me, that have opinions about those subjects that might differ from the MSM.

    MSM are the “hits.”
    Blogs are the Long Tail.

    I also like the fact that, on the blogs, I get to talk back.

  16. Teddy commented on Feb 28

    Did Ben catch a break? Last night, a report out of Japan indicated that industrial production for January declined the most in almost 3 years after rising to a record level in December. What luck and what a coincidence!

  17. ac commented on Feb 28

    Last night, a report out of Japan indicated that industrial production for January declined the most in almost 3 years after rising to a record level in December. What luck and what a coincidence

    Maybe, but a decline should have been expected if that was the case………and a rise in February.

  18. Alex Khenkin commented on Feb 28

    What is the role of blogs in reporting/commenting on fast breaking news events, what does this mean for the role of the mainstream media, is this a significant realignment, etc.
    I placed a short comment on my blog last night and was contacted by a NY Post reporter today, so it goes both ways – we learn from them, they learn from us.
    Small Investor Chronicles

  19. Eclectic commented on Feb 28

    I’m not saying that there aren’t others in the MSM that compare favorably to BR’s blogging analyses, but Mark Hulbert over at MarketWatch is about as close as they come without the blogging interplay.

    Hulbert is objective and seems to produce effective points for both sides of most debates.

    Now, on to the hunt:

    Today, the financial media has in general cast Bernanke’s comments as having “soothed the markets.” I won’t link to news items to reference it because if a person challenged that statement, they just haven’t paid attention to the news today.

    Mr. Bernanke went to the testimony with prepared statements released as always before he began the testimony.

    I’ve read it all, and unless I’ve just missed something, he didn’t say a single word about markets. Even the so-called optimistic statements he made were full of ‘ifs.’

    From start to finish his prepared remarks were another repeated emphasis about his abiding concerns regarding the future of the soon-retiring Boomers. He spoke of nothing but the potential for future fiscal imbalances that the Congress might only begin to solve by taking actions that bring them “difficult choices to make.”

    It is an almost prayerful admonition to a nation, its people and the Congress that’s supposed to represent them to wake up before problems are far too difficult to be solved easily. It is a flashing red light and warning to those asleep at the switch.

    I challenge you, any of you. Go read just the first two sentences of each paragraph of his prepared remarks today, and come back and tell me, “Eclectic, you’re wrong.”

    Later in active questioning responses, his hand was called to comment on the chances of further economic downturn. What do you expect that any Fed-C would ever say? Do you think one has ever been pessimistic about the economic future?

    Greenspan is expressing some pessimistic sentiment, but he’s not the chairman any more and is not duty bound to hold the line.

    Someone out there… some enterprising soul that loves to do research… can any of you find me one example of a Fed-C that’s ever predicted a recession? Now, listen… I’m not talking about a prior Fed-C that may have a-c-k-n-o-w-l-e-d-g-e-d a recession under way already, but one that has at some time in the past p-r-e-d-i-c-t-e-d one.

    I personally think the MSM owes us an example of one former Fed-C that has done this.

    Back to Bernanke (paraphrz):

    “If the housing market stabilizes,” he said, then “maybe we’ll get some economic strength later in the year.”…end quote.

    Now, I tend to believe that his statement doesn’t exclude the possibility that the housing market won’t stabilize so quickly, and thus attributing this statement to optimism is intellectually dishonest.

  20. muckdog commented on Feb 28

    BR, looks like a “break out” on your monthly chart! Definitely broke out of its trading range. Yeah, I had about a 50% increase in my (measely) hits counter.

    What I like about blogs is that they’re more personable. I have a few that I read daily, including this one. I don’t have to agree with the writer on everything, but if the columns are thought-provoking, entertaining, funny, etc. then they trounce what the major news sites have to offer.

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