I took a look at the most popular posts on this blog in 2008, though my data is a bit of a mess as there are various stages where the stats system failed entirely, including for the entire (and merry, as I got hired then!) month of May. Another trend is the increase in people who read on Google Reader (heading for 100) and other RSS-based systems. Anyway, here’s what I came up with…
The old favourites, two 2006 posts, are still the most popular: Travelling between Dublin and London? and Tim Hortons. In Dublin. For real.. The ‘Travelling’ post needs to be updated, and might be moved offsite entirely – it’s really surprising just how popular it is. Quite humbling too that no matter what I do, cheap travel and Canadian coffee will always draw more eyeballs than any ‘serious’ posts.
The impact of searching (and Google placement) is quite visible (I don’t consciously do any SEO and in fact use silly titles more often than I should, which is against all good advice). So for example, the most popular ‘real’ post was the last post of the year, where I wrote a quick note and posted the video from IT Crowd episode Friendface. As it was one of the first blog posts on a name that Graham Linehan made up for the episode, it was for a couple of days a top 5 Google result, and got a whole lot of traffic without anyone linking to it. Similarly, an unexceptional post about university lecturers and Facebook, Prof. Facebook has consistently been a popular one, because for some reason it is the first result when you search for ‘facebook’ on Eircom (for this purpose, an Irish ISP/portal)’s site. I’ve never quite understood the people who search for sites that they probably use every day (though one hopes they don’t type Google into Google). A 2007 cyberlaw post about a presentation by Karen McCullagh, (
What Is Private Data?) is also getting good traffic, probably because Karen doesn’t have her own blog (yet)…
Conference posts, which are a lot of fun to write, are consistently popular. This year I’ve seen a lot of traffic on posts about January’s UK Centre for Legal Education conference (Learning In Law: UKCLE Conference 2008) in Warwick (I won’t be there this year, so I’m hoping for other bloggers to carry the baton). Also popular from January (quiet at first but picking up lots of search results during the year) were the two posts on Media Law and Regulation, TCD School of Law Seminar. I also wrote about the BILETA conference in Glasgow. I’d imagine the stack of posts on the Berkman@10 Conference would have figured, if it were not for me messing up my installation and losing most of those stats. Oops.
Bloganna Thar Barr ended up in the top ten because it was the ‘leak’ of an Irish Blog Awards shortlist. So I can’t take any credit for that. Some other high-hit posts are pretty much the result of a link from others, so for example a little post about a Magners ad (Don't blame Father Ted) and the ASA got almost all its traffic via Mulley, and Legal news in Ireland seems only to be popular by way of not one but three links from Cearta. The link I appreciated the most was that from the Today Programme, though!
Quirky stories about law is surely what the Web was made for, and that’s the category that Once you tax, you can't stop (about tax, statutory interpretation and Pringles) certainly fits into. It also drew the response from Lilian Edwards that I am becoming the Charlie Brooker of IT law, which I take as a huge compliment and am considering including on my CV. My own roundup of interesting law posts, Blawg Review #151 had its moment in the sun too. (See Charon QC’s magnificent Review published this week, here).
Although I’m no longer living in Ireland, I still post on Irish developments, and of course I only made that move in the middle of the year. The most popular posts about Irish media and technology law included The Record Companies vs The ISP – in Ireland (written in great haste but relatively comprehensive), and The strange death of criminal libel? (probably helped along by a mention on Cearta). I also don’t post about music here any more (that’s over on Rhymes With Porridge, though quite infrequent), but the most popular musical post was that on the Living Music Festival 2008.