If one year for a dog equals seven years for a human, then five years in ‘Internet years’ equals… a long time. I started this weblog on January 15, 2012 and published two posts a month ever since. A look back on the first two years is already available, so here are some facts from the WordPress statistics about The 650-Cent Plague in 2014-2016:
- For some reason, 2014 is still the most popular year with 9% more visitors than in 2015 and 3% more than in 2016.
- The blog post with the most hits in these three years is still my completely off-topic review of Luzia Simons’s and Sarah Jones’s flower photography, probably due to reasons outlined in my 2nd anniversary post. However, its number of hits is declining from year to year, while the second most popular post, on Erwin Panofsky, is on the rise. The post with the 3rd most hits is the one on Heinrich Wölfflin, which makes me like to think that people might be interested in this whole ‘theory in comics’ series. So maybe I’ll write some more of this stuff this year.
- Most visitors come from the US, followed by Germany. So far, so predictable, but what baffles me is that Germany is closely followed by France (UK on 4th place, Canada on 5th). There has been almost twice as much traffic from France than from the UK!
- By far the most requested image is
gayyoung Ozymandias and his “… aquaintance” from Before Watchmen.
- Apart from image links, most outward traffic from The 650-Cent Plague goes to www.manganet.de, the website of German publisher Egmont Manga (which they seem to have changed to http://www.egmont-manga.de recently). In contrast to e.g. Marvel and DC, their manga series URLs are relatively stable, so I don’t hesitate to include them in manga reviews.
What will I write about at The 650-Cent Plague in the future? Well, is there anything you would like to read here? Tell me in the comments!
Some weeks ago, manga publisher Tokyopop Germany launched a website, <http://iloveshojo.tokyopop.de>, as part of a promotional campaign for their shōjo manga titles. Readers can ask questions by using a form on this site, which are then answered publicly by Tokyopop staff. Without counting them, I guess the topics most frequently brought up by readers are:
- recommendations which new manga Tokyopop should publish next (which the fans, I believe, have discovered via illegal scanlations);
- questions around promotional items, such as “ShoCo Cards” (“Shojo Collectors Cards”);
- publication of drawings, a.k.a. fan art.
Many postings contain an awful lot of typos, which makes me believe that these are real readers’ writings and there is not much editing going on. I guess the published posts are carefully filtered by the Tokyopop editors, though.
Occasionally, some really interesting information can be found amidst all this fannish chatter. For instance, about a week ago, there was this question:
My translation: “I keep hearing you’re unable to publish works by Kōdansha, why is that?” – “The publisher Kōdansha told us some time ago that they had decided to let the contracts for all current series expire, and that they won’t license any new series to us. We weren’t given any reasons for this decision. We were only told that the decision was unrelated to the previous collaboration between Kōdansha and Tokyopop Germany. Therefore we won’t publish any new Kōdansha titles for the time being. If the situation changes, we’ll inform you immediately!”
A few days later, a similar question was posted:
My translation: “Which Japanese publishers collaborate with you?” – “Basically all the major ones – except for Kōdansha and Square Enix… Of course there are still many smaller ones from which we haven’t requested any titles yet – but this is always worth a try.”
In other words, some Japanese publishers license their manga to some Western publishers and some don’t. This means that the selection of manga that get translated into European languages often appears, for all intents and purposes, to be random. For if the business decisions of Japanese publishers are apparently inscrutable even to their Western partners, how are we researchers supposed to comprehend them?
This blog post marks two anniversaries: I started this weblog two years ago (on January 15, with a review of the now-defunct manga magazine Daisuki), and this is also the 50th post. That means, for two years I’ve been publishing two posts per month here. On this occasion, I thought a look back might be appropriate. WordPress provides detailed traffic statistics, so here are five ‘fun’ facts about The 650-Cent Plague:
- Even if we bear in mind that web traffic statistics are always to be interpreted with caution, and that the number of hits isn’t equal to the number of people who have read a blog post, it boils down to: virtually no one is reading this.
- The people who did read this weblog probably didn’t find what they were looking for: most traffic comes via Google, and the most frequent search terms were related to the flower photographs of either Sarah Jones or Luzia Simons. Given that these searches were for the most part performed on Google Images, it seems likely that those visitors were simply looking for images by these two artists (which are available in better quality at the artists’ websites, anyway), rather than my short comparison of their art on the occasion of the Goslar exhibition.
- Another source of relatively high traffic was Facebook. I don’t have a Facebook account myself, but Robin Vehrs kindly posted a link to my review of his comic on Facebook. This resulted in the highest hits-per-day number in the history of The 650-Cent Plague (on August 4, 2012). The downside is: some people left comments pertaining to my review on Facebook, and I don’t have the chance to reply. Still not loving Facebook.
- Anyway, the real currency in blogging are not hits, but comments. And the comment numbers for this weblog are dismal. Still, thank you, everyone who left a comment here – all five of you.
- Having hardly any readers wouldn’t be so bad if it didn’t take me so much time to write a blog post. I keep track of such things in a spreadsheet, and the average time spent on a post is almost 3 hours (not counting the time I spend reading the texts I write about).
That being said, I still think blogging is a good exercise for any scholar. It helps me thinking about things, expressing that in writing, and remembering them. So I guess I’ll continue ‘talking into the void’ at The 650-Cent Plague for the time being. Any suggestions for how to make this weblog more interesting are highly welcome, of course.