Is Finkelstein Totally Clueless About the Internet? 10


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.

  • David Ripley

     “is Finkelstein totally clueless about the Internet?”

      Yes.

  • Anonymous

    It is actually on page 295 point 11.67 where this is discussed and they say the numbers are arbitrary, but the choice of numbers does show an inherent lack of understand of the basics of site hit/viewing math.

    • Anonymous

      Its 295 in the document but its page 301 on the pdf counter – thanks. You would think that before proposing a major regulatory change they would have done even a little bit of research. Or else, as Bolt suggests, they DO mean to regulate every blog that has even a single reader.

      • Anonymous

        What concerns me even more is paragraph
        “11.69 Another aspect of jurisdiction concerns how the News Media
        Council will exercise its power over all internet publishers. Foreign
        publishers who have no connection with Australia will be beyond its
        reach. However, if an internet news publisher has more than a tenuous
        connection with Australia then carefully drawn legislation would enable
        the News Media Council to exercise jurisdiction over it.”Define
        tenuous! An Australian living overseas writing on Australian politics
        with a US hosted blog that has more then 15,000 hits per annum falls under The
        News Media Council’s jurisdiction? … yeah I don’t think so. Would love to see them try to regulate the likes of WordPress and Tumblr .. bring it on!oh.. but I forgot, that is why we have Conroy installing the ‘blacklist’ filter.

  • KuhnKat

    I don’t think it really matters whether he is clueless or not. The idea seems to be take control of the information environment. More control is better for them.

    Reject it totally. There is no need for them to control the Internet. There IS a need for the DOLTS to stop using the Interent to connect organizations who have information and controls that should not be exposed to the internet.  As usual, politicians CREATE a problem so they can take control of us to resolve the problem they created by their stupidity and/or underhanded deals.

    • Anonymous

      I think the point is that the competence of the so-called experts that get trotted out is seriously in question. Any sociologist can write 400 pages of literature review and dross, but the report contains no serious analysis.

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