The Reports of KillerStartups Death Have Been Greatly Exaggerated

In my very own “Dewey Defeats Truman” moment last week I published an article “KillerStartups Killed?” and used various analytic services to show KillerStartups current status versus competitors like Crunchbase.  Obviously, the title implies that KillerStartups had been surpassed and the Google Trends data seemed to back up the assumption.  The article was then picked up by Cyndy Aleo-Carreira @ The Industry Standard, shared by Lois Gray, Robert Scoble, and finally got the attention of KillerStartups’ co-founder Gonzalo Arzuaga.  Gonzalo pointed me to this useful nugget showing direct traffic measurement and KillerStartups retaining it’s title as the king of everything startup.

Quantcast graph of daily vistiors for Killerstartups and Crunchbase

Quantcast graph of daily vistiors for Killerstartups and Crunchbase

I botched the article because I wasn’t aware of Quantcast, so to verify that the service was legit I popped it into a friendfeed search and came up with a great article on the Inquisitr giving a brief rundown of web metric services.  The thread in friendfeed started off with a comment from the knowledgeable Charlie Anzman of SEO and Tech Daily:

Quantcast is the only one on the list with code embedded in the site making it positively the most accurate. 

Charlie was kind enough to let me pick his brain on the subject a little more by e-mail:

While it appears that Google Ad Planner is not (yet?) the ‘Comscore killer’ that so many predicted, my personal preference would be to use a service that has definitive metrics.  Most, if not all, of the major web measurement services buy surfing habits from ISP’s as well as major sites that use tracking cookies.  These numbers can be seriously skewed.  I have a tendency to create my own sets using analytics from individual websites and blogs that I have access to.  The reason I continue to mention Quantcast is because their numbers are definitive as they are the only one that require tracking code directly on your website as well as verification.

I find this all to be very interesting and I’ve learned a lot from my mistake.  I still felt that I needed to dig into this a little more to find out what happened to KillerStartups’ traffic.  Pepe Amorin, VP Marketing for KillerStartups was kind enough to answer a few questions for me:

- All the stats services show a drop in June and the services with more current data show a large climb, what caused the slump and how did you climb so quickly out of it?

During June we had most of our URLs changed in order to make them friendlier for our users and search engines. That slowed the traffic for a bit, and we knew it would happen. We’re constantly improving our site in all aspects, and SEO is one of them. So every time we do one of these changes, it’s like going to the Doctor for us. It might hurt a little, but we know everything will be better and these slumps are the preface of great improvements.

- There have been some questions raised about the validity of even Quancast’s direct traffic statistics, have you noticed any discrepancies?

Quantcast is the source we prefer for traffic statistics. Let me tell you why. The way Quantcast works is that the website owner or webmaster pastes a code in every page of the website. This is a script that sends information to Quantcast every time someone visits your website. Basically, it works just the same way as Google Analytics, only the results are public. The only flaw I can find in Quantcast is that it requires the website owner to paste the script on all pages, but if they do (most people do, and I recommend everyone to do it), it’s as accurate as it gets.

- How has the Digg ban affected your traffic and have you ever gotten a good explanation for it happening?

Frankly, I don’t know why Digg has banned our URL from being submitted. We sent a few emails to them, but their customer service is far from being their best feature. Anyways, they’ve banned our URL shortly after we started back in 2007, and after the second email they didn’t reply, we gave up. Since we were never allowed to be submitted to Digg, we don’t have any numbers to compare with and see how it affects us. We’d probably have more traffic, since many of our stories are very “Diggable”. But we get a lot of traffic from several other social bookmarking tools such as Delicious, Reddit and StumbleUpon. We’re more than happy with the 50,000 visits we’re currently getting every day.

Let me again offer my apology to the team at KillerStartups, thank you for your understanding and your time. I would also like to apologize to everyone that reshared this and all my readers, the article was poorly researched due to my ignorance and it turned out the premise I was putting forward was incorrect and I hope this post will help clear up any misconceptions I created.

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