A follow-up to yesterday’s post for the five or six people who care. After I and a few others questioned his theory, Ruffini conducted an experiment on Hewitt’s site to see if he was right. Result: he was able to generate two separate visits in the span of a little more than three minutes, seemingly by simple virtue of the fact that more than 100 other people visited the site during that span. SiteMeter claims that it counts 30 minutes of activity by the same IP on a site as a single visit so Ruffini would seem to be right. Except I’m not sure what he means by this:

I clicked back to Hugh’s blog at 4:36:43 PM, after I had been dropped. This resulted in the following new visit (#17,433,195) being counted, a full 26 minutes, 56 seconds short of Sitemeter’s claimed 30 minute window:

It sounds like he navigated away from Hewitt’s site during that three-minute period and then came back — which would, certainly, make the second visit a separate visit. (SiteMeter doesn’t specify that in explaining its 30-minute metric but I’ve always assumed that if you navigate away and then load the page again that it’s a new visit.) His theory is significant only if separate visits are being generated while users are navigating within a site, i.e. if someone clicks over to dKos, reads the frontpage for 30 seconds while 100 new users are flowing into the site, and then clicks a link to another page inside dKos. That shouldn’t generate two separate visits but if Ruffini’s right, then it will. I can’t tell from the way he worded his post whether he did that.

The only way to prove this on our end would be to compare our SiteMeter stats to the other stat programs we use. MM runs two others, I think; she’s never said anything to me about the numbers being grossly different but I’ll check. Whatever Kos’s actual numbers, it’s safe to say that he’s as big as Instapundit and MM combined. Which is pretty darned big.

Update: Ruffini updates to say he did not navigate away from Hewitt’s page. Like I say, I’ll ask MM about our stats.