The GMPlanet Effect
March 8, 2008
A month on from the launch of game maker news aggregator gmplanet I have decided to examine if it has had an effect on GameMaker Blog’s traffic levels as I feared it may.
In January one of GameMakerBlog.com’s top referrers, gamemaker.info, sent 114 visits our way. In February however this reduced to just 43 visits, plus 18 visits from the new gmplanet. I’m not sure why there was such a large decrease in the amount of traffic gamemaker.info was sending our way, especially as in February we had 6 more posts than we had in January. Perhaps this can be put down to the introduction of Planet which has reduced the need for a user to click-through to our site in order to view a post. Even for the two posts where I deliberately inserted a ‘more’ tag, both to keep the GameMakerBlog homepage tidy and also in an attempt to get more people to click through from GMPlanet, there were very few clickthroughs.
However I don’t think I can point the blame at Planet for the reduction in traffic sent from gamemaker.info, certainly some people may have switched over but there hasn’t been much publicity for the site, certainly not enough to explain this reduction which can probably be linked to the quality of posts made over here. Overall however February was a more succesful month than January for GameMakerBlog as we saw a 15% increase in the number of pageviews and a 25% increase in the number of unique visitors.
GMPlanet is currently small with an Alexa rank of about 9.5m compared to gamemaker.info’s 4m. Sure, I know Alexa ranks can easily be manipulated but this gives some idea of the distance between these two sites. I hope that GMPlanet will grow, because it is a good site – and I am no longer fearful of the effect it may have on traffic levels.
12 Replies to “The GMPlanet Effect”
I agree with what ‘GMNews’ is saying, although I can make it so that only part of the content is shown; I think it will be nicer if you were to add some sort of banner or image so people can clearly see what the main source is.
Since right now it just looks like your benefiting from our RSS Feeds.
I have to agree on that. Note that GMPlanet is still in development, and I hope that Robin solves this by making feed creators to be able to edit what GMPlanet shows in case they can not control their own feed (such as 3rd party blog host users).
@Tuntis, I appreciate the fact that users will find it easier to centralize news feeds in one place, and I’m not asking to remove the feed from the website.
However, I believe there should be a little more effort into making the source of the article more visible and easily seen (perhaps even showing a logo) so at least the authors of the content are credited fairly, in my opinion.
GMNews: This benefits your readers. You should care about them too.
And as always, since GMPlanet just takes your RSS feeds, you could very well add anything you want to the bottom of them (well, if you’d be hosting a blog yourself instead of using WP.com: you’re missing all the cool WordPress plugins!): “Come to GMNews to comment! Read more quality posts!”.
Note: This is an update as Robin posted between me reading Tuntis’ post and submitting my post.
@Robin, if you read my latest post, you will see there is a reason why I believe the RSS feed should contain the full post. I don’t believe there is anything wrong with users (for personal reasons) adding a blog’s full content RSS feed to their own reader.
I do have a bit of a problem with having other websites posting the entire content and benefiting from doing this without benefiting the original source.
It’s about the way the content is being portrayed on the website that is the problem, not so much the fact that there is lower traffic.
RSS feeds are generally meant for personal use (e.g. adding to web portal page, viewing through central RSS feed reader software etc.) or in some cases to be displayed on sites with the title of the feed item linking to the original source.
This however is a site which is taking the entire content of other websites and then posting it on their own website.
Essentially the site is profiting off content from other websites without permission. They get benefits for an increase in traffic to their website (e.g. through affiliate programs), and the way they are achieving this is by copying the content of other websites. It’s not just the fact that they’re benefiting from doing this, it’s also the fact that they are a sole beneficiary and the actual authors of the content are not being credited or benefited in an appropriate way.
So as you can see, it is more a case of the site’s questionable practices. It’s kind of like a Peer to Peer music sharing site, where the artists don’t get the royalties. In this case you and I are the artists.
“This means users who visit GM Planet have no reason to click on the link to the site where it came from (not to mention the link to the original content is positioned in such a way it’s not easily seen).”
Seeing that you’ve run a news blog for years, I’m surprised you’re saying this: obviously someone will press it if they want to comment.
“In my opinion this is not very fair, and much of the traffic is being stolen, and not being returned in any way. They are benefiting from posting the EXACT content of other websites without permission, and I don’t like this approach.”
I’m sure Robin will be willing to take your feed off; and even if he doesn’t, what’s so bad about it? If you do take it off, you will damage the people reading your content by not allowing them to read it via a convenient service, that allows people to quickly read “all relevant GM news” with the help of one feed.
If you’re worried about traffic (for ad monies!111) instead of the actual count of people reading your (quality?) content, I suggest you change your logic.
Heh, I just checked and none of the blog feeds gmplanet syndicates have a logo in their RSS feed. Which would make it exceedingly difficult for me to implement that feature 😉
It’d be great if those of you who can would add logos to the feeds, I’m working on setting the system up and adding in documentation for site owners on how to add those images.
The source is directly in the title of each and every item, both on the site, and in the RSS feed. Adding images would be possible, I’ll look into taking the image each rss publisher places in their rss feed and using that as an avatar to go beside each item.
Also, wordpress.com is adding a comment link to the bottom of each of GMNews’ feeds. Also, it should be noted that GMplanet doesn’t get much returning direct traffic to the main page, but the number of first-time visitors and subscribers to the feeds is increasing, so in reality the visitors are seeing your content in the “personal” feed reader way you previously discussed when they “mass-subscribe” to all the Game Maker news sources.
I will say it IS having an effect on traffic. The problem is that GM Planet posts the whole news article and not just a heading/excerpt. This means users who visit GM Planet have no reason to click on the link to the site where it came from (not to mention the link to the original content is positioned in such a way it’s not easily seen).
In my opinion this is not very fair, and much of the traffic is being stolen, and not being returned in any way. They are benefiting from posting the EXACT content of other websites without permission, and I don’t like this approach.
I highly suggest we lobby against them and let them know we mean business. By this I mean we should pressure them to change their current layout so the articles shown are only headings/excerpts, so users click the links to get to the original source (like Game Maker Info).
GMNews, you should be aware that when people subscribe to the combined RSS feeds GMplanet provides, and they click on those feed titles in their reader (like in Firefox live bookmarks) they are taken directly to your site, not to gmplanet.org.
I should also mention it’s entirely up to you want gmplanet gives it’s readers. WordPress has an option to only display snippets in it’s RSS feed. You should note that gmplanet is AN RSS FEED READER/COMBINER. We aren’t “slurpping” your pages. And anyone who is subscribed to your feed in, eg, google reader already has access to the entire content of your feed content.
What gmplanet gets and how it is displayed is /entirely/ in your care:
“I highly suggest we lobby against them and let them know we mean business. By this I mean we should pressure them to change their current layout so the articles shown are only headings/excerpts”
Learn how to use your blog software.
To be honest, I think your poor traffic in January was because of that wave of stupid blog posts.