By September 17, 2009

1000 Posts of Gibberish

This is the one thousandth published post on Gibberish Is My Native Language. What does over four years of posts add up to?

History

Gibberish started out as a LiveJournal blog so that I could keep in touch with my friends and co-workers I know all across the world. I eventually transitioned to the WordPress platform as hosted by DreamHost. As traffic grew — mostly due to my SentryPro XFC posts — demand overwhelmed the usual DreamHost servers and I had to go to a virtual private hosted environment. Think of it as dedicated time sharing. Traffic kept going up, and so I had to increase resources even more. I average about 25,000 unique visits a month — pretty good for a blog about nothing.

The first post I wrote on Gibberish was about a leather case for the Sony PSP. Even back in August of 2005 I was reviewing things. I used the five-mug “STFU” coffee mug system to rate things. It was amusing for awhile, but over time I realized my scores were arbitrary at best, and emotionally motivated at worst. If I had a particularly bad day and happened to review something I didn’t like, the score suffered. I eventually replaced it with the “recommended” and “strongly recommended” ratings. It’s not very clever, but pretty easy to understand. What’s the difference between three and a half coffee cups and four, really?

Post Statistics

I use Google Analytics to track my Web traffic. There is a “most popular” block on Gibberish that runs a total of how many people have read the top ten articles, but those numbers are a little off. They only keep a total of visits since I installed that bit of code.

Gibberish gets the vast, vast majority of its traffic due to Google and other search engines. Next up are referrals from Web forums, and then direct traffic from repeat visitors. Gibberish has been mentioned in a Web article (on ink jets; my “how to trick your Brother inkjet” article is still pretty popular). I have been interviewed once because of Gibberish (ink jet article again), which was pretty cool.

Blog referrals are the next largest source of traffic. The SentryPro XFC article gets linked from personal blogs as dog owners recount their experiences. My Facebook privacy article is the second most linked-to article on the Web. I don’t know if I should be bothered or flattered that it has appeared on several “blog expert” sites. Shouldn’t they be writing their own guide? With pride, I’ve been mentioned once directly in an Ars Technica article on gaming.

By post subject, most are categorized as “gibberish.” That means they don’t really fit anywhere else. Of posts that do have repeated categories, the HUGE majority have been reviews. As of today, I’ve written 259 of them.

The next most written-about category is motorcycling, with 181 posts. I can’t help it; I love riding motorcycles. I try to keep the types of posts balanced out so non-riders will have something interesting to read, but it is very hard, especially in the peak riding seasons.

Next up are posts about games (129) and then “link and run,” which means I’ve found something neat online and just summarize it quickly in a post (101 of those). That shouldn’t be a big surprise to anyone, either, since I love games and spend a ton of time on the Internet. After all, that’s my sphere of influence at work.

I was recently labeled as “weird” because of my “fixation” on guns, but in reality there are only 36 of those posts on Gibberish. I have written more about shaving my armpits and ex foliating my scalp than concealed carry or rifles. If you want to label anything on Gibberish as “weird,” I would direct your attention to my posts about mutant insects, about which I have written fifteen times.

Important Posts

If I had to pick one post that was the most important of all, it would be the post about SentryPro XFC. SentryPro XFC is a topical flea and tick medication that caused major problems on my dogs in May of 2007. Hard to believe that my one experience would lead to over 22,000 unique visitors and over 630 comments. It is far and away the most commented-upon post in Gibberish, and the one I consider the most “useful.” It has information on what to do if someone else’s dog is poisoned, and the comments from my readers contain good advice about their own experience. The post has generated an online petition and several email campaigns and telephone calls to Sargent, the product’s manufacturer. A few readers have gone so far as to list the phone number of the CEO, and referenced my post during their phone conversations with him.

The SentryPro post is also the most linked post I have on the Web. Between incoming links from external sites, the sheer number of comments and clickthroughs, it is the number one search result for the product on Google, Bing, Yahoo!, and MSN. Hopefully my experience and those of my readers keep dog owners from buying this troublesome product.

Another post that has been important to Gibberish has been my review of the Kel-Tec PF-9 hand gun. It has been viewed by nearly 58,000 unique visitors, which makes it the most visited post on Gibberish. It’s referenced by a Web site that specializes in small-frame handguns, and to be recognized by such an authority is humbling. I think the post is popular for a few reasons: when released, the PF-9 wasn’t reviewed very much by “regular people.” The post also has some comparison pictures with two other commonly-carried handguns, the Glock 27 and the North American Arms Guardian .32 (a Seecamp clone). I’ve kept the comparison aspect in my other handgun reviews.

Most Controversial Post

My series of posts about the kevlar-blend motorcycle gear from Motoport (Cycleport) polarized a lot of people. I received a number of similar experiences from dissatisfied customers who were berated by Motoport owner Wayne Boyer into accepting ill-fitting gear. I also received a (probably equal) number of messages and comments from people who loved their Motoport gear and would never give it up. The whole series of posts was surreal, as Wayne insisted I published our email correspondence on Gibberish and on ADVrider.com. I think he expected it to turn opinion against me, but by the end some of the people who called me a “fashion slave” took my side after seeing the different jackets Wayne sent me and how he behaved.

Every once in awhile I get some differences of opinion, and if they seem legitimate I post them. My article about Modchipman.com has drawn some wildly differing comments. The aforementioned Kel-Tec PF-9 post had a short run of comments from a fellow who had a serious problem with his pistol. Surprisingly, the reader community handled it pretty well.

Mmm, spam

I run Akismet, which is a free plugin that automatically blocks spam. Well, a great deal of it. As of this writing, Akismet has blocked almost 109,000 spam comments. Holy shit, that’s a lot of comments about Viagra.

I have manual comment moderation enabled, which means that I have to approve the first comment from a new visitor. Once they’re approved (and don’t change their email address, username, or IP address) I don’t have to approve them again. Manual moderation is a bit of a chore, especially since I went back to working in an office in 2008. However, it’s totally worth it. It helps me snag the spam Akismet misses, some outright troll comments, and lots and lots of astroturfing. Astroturfing is when a company attempts to promote itself by posting a comment on a blog or somewhere else on the Internet. A Web site’s search engine results will go up if it is linked to by lots of other Web sites. Astroturfing blogs and Web forums is an easy (and cheap) way to generate inbound links. I even went so far as to post about my approval policy in October of last year.

Another 1,000?

What’s in store for Gibberish in the next thousand posts? More of the same, I guess. I originally started this blog for my own enjoyment, and to stay connected with my friends. This blog might mostly be about product reviews, motorcycles, and games, but it’s really about nothing in particular. I think that is why I do about 250 posts a year; I don’t get bored about writing about any one subject. Some of my friends have written really compelling stories about training for athletic events, but once they compete or hit a milestone they go silent. Some of my co-workers wrote very good blogs about their careers, but after awhile that becomes too much like “work,” and not enough like “bullshitting with your old friends.”

I’d like to thank all of my regular readers. There aren’t many of you, statistically. About 95% of my readers visit less than five times. Those of you that do come back more than five times are here to stay, though: over 4,200 of you have read more than 200 Gibberish posts. That makes me feel pretty damn “awesome,” and not very “weird.”

Thanks, Gibberish, here’s to another four years, and posts about nothing.

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7 Comments on "1000 Posts of Gibberish"

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  1. Ed says:

    Woo hoo! First.

    That out of system now. I am one of the regulars, and always get a kick out of the posts I read. You aren’t that weird, I remember once being called disturbingly weird, now that is a comment to try to live up to.

  2. Tomax says:

    Dr. can you delete this one? Fat fingered the back button while I was typing…been a long week.

  3. Tomax says:

    LOL @ Ed. Second buddy :p Congrats on the 1000th post, keep ‘em coming! We all enjoy your humorous and insightful views :).

  4. dude says:

    Need more “weird” gun reviews… that’s what brought me here. The games, bikes and dog drama keeps me coming back regularly.

    Seriously though I enjoy you unique perspective on everything you write about. Keep it up, here’s to the next 1000

  5. dennis davis says:

    Keep up the good work bud! Its great to see whats going on in your life and brings a smile to my face when I need it.

  6. Tommy says:

    Congrats man. That’s a pretty solid list of accomplishments. I hope to see you soonish.

  7. Gremlin says:

    Got here looking for a review on the PF-9. It’s my EDC for as far as I can see. Nothing does the job better for me. Stayed for the moto content. Don’t change a thing.

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