The Media Inquiry by Finkelstein Q.C. proposed on page 301 the regulation of blogs with more than a specific number of hits per annum, suggesting an equivalency with print media:

If a publisher distributes more than 3000 copies of print per issue or a news internet site has a minimum of 15 000 hits per annum it should be subject to the jurisdiction of the News Media Council, but not otherwise. These numbers are arbitrary, but a line must be drawn somewhere.

Does he know how many actual readers that 15,000 hits a year represents?

Of the total number of hits a small blog receives, at least 90% are due to search bots (like Google and Bing), spiders, spammers, rss readers and sundry malicious automata. As *hits* are usually identified with client requests, each image on a page, logo, thumbnail etc. is technically recovered with a single hit.

Lets be generous and say that 10% of hits could be identified with real people, around 75% of these are bounces, people who click away within a few seconds.

Of the real readers, they might browse a few pages, contributing 3 or 4 hits.

Therefore, the ratio of hits to readers is around 0.1*0.25*0.25 or less than 1%.

Conservatively, 15000 hits per annum translates into 150 readers once a year, or less than one reader per day. Many of these will be returning, reducing the unique number further.

Yet Finkelstein seems to suggest that 15000 hits per annum is equivalent to a publication with a print run of 3000 copies.

Given losses and returns, a small regional paper might reach 1500 people twice a week with that kind of print run, or perhaps 15000 unique people per year.

One can explain the derivation of Finkelstein’s figures of 3000 paper copies and 15,000 hits per annum by assuming that one blog hit is equivalent to a single paper reader.

So one must then ask, is Finkelstein totally clueless about the Internet? One would think that before proposing to regulate blogs they would have done their homework.

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