Welcome Global Visitors and About the New Clustermap Widget

There’s a new widget (doodad, thingy) on the right-hand side of this blog, which you can see if you scroll down while looking at the sidebar.  It’s a little map.  I added it yesterday afternoon.  It’s supposed to show where around the world clicks/hits/visits are coming from.  It’s accuracy, at least in terms of numbers, is subject to debate.

It's technical and its complexities can overwhelm.

WordPress, which hosts this site, provides a daily visits counter (which does not include visits from me, from this computer) on a “Dashboard” I can access.  According to WordPress, this site was visited 118 times on May 16 (midnight May 16 until Midnight May 17, U.S. Central Time), 94 times on May 15, only 59 times on May 14, 94 times on May 13, 97 times on May 12, and on and on.  I’ll note that from this past midnight until a few minutes ago at 6:40 a.m. my WordPress Dashboard says 18 people have visited here (Update:  25 visits as of 8:00 a.m.; Update 2:  61 visits as of 5:15 p.; Update 3:  80 visits as of 8:15p; Update 4:  87 visits as of 9:17p. Last Update:  105 visits as of 11:12p.).  It also says which pages they’ve visited, but not where, what state or country, those visits originated.  That U.S. Central Time and G.M.T. do not line-up may explain some, but not all of the discrepancy.  According to Clustermap’s FAQ:

While the number in the list of users is taken from the live database, your maps (including the numbers) are generated only at specific update intervals (daily, weekly, or monthly as indicated on your map, depending upon the amount of traffic). Additionally there may be some hits with unrecognized IPs; i.e. hits with unknown geo-location which cannot be displayed in the maps

So, this 9 days (May 16 through 24) shows where most visitors are from, not how many times they clicked on this or that page.  My WordPress Dashboard tells me that this site’s had 817 clicks/hits/visits during the same period.

May 16 through 24 visitors (not clicks).

The FAQ continues:

Different counters can come up with inconsistent totals for a variety of reasons. For example, it is possible to get VERY DETAILED statistics from log analysis software that analyses hits to many pages on your site, including RSS feeds, whereas our thumbnail map ONLY counts the number of times the thumbnail map is actually ‘rendered’ or displayed to a user!

Anyway, it’s a neat tool to show something about the geography of visits, but I wanted visitors who looked at it to know that the number(s) are somewhat different from the actual click totals, that is, the total shown by that “Clustermap” and the incoming visit/click count according to WordPress, which hosts this site.

.       .       .

  1. Hi – many thanks for using ClustrMaps, and for alerting your users to possible differences. I just wanted to ‘beam in’ to (re)emphasize that our counter is in fact extremely accurate, and ‘unrecognized IPs’ are rare, but that different counters work differently – there is no ‘right’ and ‘wrong’. The reason is explained much more fully in a special blog posting of ours on this very topic, which has much more detail than the FAQ:


    Analytics is both an ‘art’ and a ‘science’, as the above article explains. I hope that helps clarify the situation. Many thanks for your interest in ClustrMaps.

    All the best,

    -CJ on behalf of the ClustrMaps Team

      • letsjapan
      • May 18th, 2011

      Dear ClustrMaps Team,

      I thank you for visiting and commenting. I don’t in the least doubt the accuracy of your maps for that which they’re measuring. However, there are gulfs of differences in what ClustrMaps and the WordPress counter appear to be measuring. . . . And the impression given to the site / page / blog visitor.

      On May 16 WordPress (via my Dashboard stats) tells me that I had 118 page views (i.e., 118 different clicks to various pages/posts on this blog, LetsJapan.Wordpress.Com , and those views exclude mine; wordpress is very explicit about not counting the actual blogger’s own page views). On May 17, yesterday, my blog had 106 such views. Today, as I write this at 6:26 p.m. U.S. Central Time, it’s had 72 page views. It’ll “flip over” and begin counting anew at 12:00 midnight Central Time.

      According to ClustrMaps, however, the total for May 16 and May 17 was only 66 views! You can see how this huge difference can be disconcerting to a blogger: I want visitors to LetsJapan.Wordpress.Com to know that (by my modest standards) well over 200 people visited my site (or at least that some number of people, maybe only 25, or 90, or 139… no way of knowing … clicked well over 200 times on my site). You measure people and WordPress measures views. That seems to be the simple, if not 100% exact, explanation.

      It’s no crime on anybody’s part, of course. It’s just different measuring tools.

      Kind regards,

      R Newton

  2. Well, nothing is perfect and since this is a new doo-hickey, we can be a little lenient. Still, all-in-all pretty cool as you say. Thanks!

      • letsjapan
      • May 20th, 2011

      Agreed, Mike.

      What I don’t like about it is that it shows only a fraction of the actual page views for this blog. I mean, I’d like, say, a first time visitor to know that others come here and navigate around to a couple different galleries, front page posts and read a story or three. My “dashboard” does show that (not by telling me that this or that person clicked this or that page, but it does show all the various visits). The Clustermap just shows that a person visited and doesn’t show/count if they spent some time here checking out any number of various posts/pages/galleries/stories.

      So that’s a disappointment.

      On the other hand, I very much like that the map shows where all in the world visitors are coming from. That’s quite cool and encouraging and all-the-more incentives me to put up quality posts and information and galleries and so forth.

      Cheers & 乾杯!to you, Mike –


  3. I’ve come to not like very much statistics. While it’s nice to know how many people are visiting and perhaps reading your work I find the analysis often disheartening to say the least. Say you get a 1000 hits a day bit the average time spent per visit is like two or there minutes which is hardly enough tine to read a post. Then you check the breakdown. Oh ten of those visitors stayed for an hour or two each and 990 stayed for the time it takes to read your banner. Anyway. Excellent post.

      • letsjapan
      • June 5th, 2011

      Thanks much, Loco.

      Frankly, I agree. For me it’s not about the numbers (the numbers are nice when they’re a lot, but that’s not the thing). No, it’s more about where people are coming from to find this site. That’s what this Cluster thing does (if you, or anyone clicks on the little right-hand side widget/map you can see a breakdown list of all the countries people are sitting in when they find and come here). That’s a hoot to me.

      Then there are what I call the “false positives.” WordPress’ Dashboard (as you know) will tell the site’s owner what search terms were used that day to find one’s blog. Now (unfortunately) WordPress doesn’t match the search term/phrase with the country from which that term came. WordPress should look into that, I think. Anyway, regarding false positives, an example is this story of mine (quiet true, you know), here at this blog entitled “A Night In Kyoto” (findable through the “READ THE STORIES” dropdown tab. In the story I mention Pontocho, which at one time was a Red Light street in Japan’s ancient capital. Y’know, I don’t think a day goes by that, when I check out the search terms (the check them against which pages got hits), that I don’t see 2, 3 or 5 variations of “red light district Kyoto” and a corresponding number of hits for my “A Night in Kyoto” story. I’m thinking that I’ve disappointed many, many, many traveling businessmen and college guys who thought they were going to get an “insider’s guide” to prostitution in Kyoto, only to find that the site they clicked onto (and probably only stayed on for about 15 seconds, before going, “Aw, crap, that’s just some lover’s tale!” was nothing like what they were searching for.

      Cheers to you, Loco!


    • letsjapan
    • June 5th, 2011

    We oughtta get together in August. Details via Email.

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