Fact Check: LGF Tweet Counters – Rigged to Display “Clicks”, not TweetsPosted: June 15, 2011
(or, Johnson has a strange definition for “retweet”)
For the longest time, we’ve suspected that there was something fishy about the numbers displayed by the custom-installed tweet counter that appears at the top of every LGF article (remember CJ programs these things personally), but we couldn’t quite put our finger on it.
Now, I think we should say that it shouldn’t be that big of a deal, and normally we’d leave this kind of geeky quibbling alone. But like the broken/rigged “views” counter, the resulting figures are something that Johnson apparently likes to brag about:
So before Johnson embarrasses himself further, we’ve decided to keep CJ honest. After a little research, The Boiler Room is ready to let everyone know what is actually being counted up there.
As it turned out, the deception is hiding in plain sight, as the explanation went flying over the lizard’s heads a while back (I must have missed this) in the form of one of CJ’s beloved “tech notes”:
…This retweet function uses the LGF account with bit.ly, a URL shortener that tracks statistics; the number shown above the green Retweet button is the number of incoming clicks from the bit.ly URL for that article — in other words, the Twitter traffic for that article…
What he’s saying here is that, while clicking the button itself will take you to the slick tweet window with the title, url and hashtags already populated for you (I’ve used it many times), the number displayed in the counter is simply the number of times that the shortened url has been clicked. This is NOT the same as the amount of tweets or retweets, as are displayed by the counters here and virtually every other blog. “Clicks” ≠ “tweets” (but that should go without saying, especially to someone like Johnson).
Heck, just visit any of the bit.ly stats pages that Johnson is talking about. Humorously, it becomes obvious right away that this is a flawed and exaggerated method to display a figure that anyone would describe as “tweets” or “retweets”. To check, simply add a “+” to the end of any short bit.ly (or lgf.bz) url, and it will take you to the corresponding stats page. So, for this Breitbart thread, we go to http://lgf.bz/lR01pO+, and you see this:
Scroll down a bit, and you see this:
Forget “tweets” and “retweets”, according to the stats page that CJ’s using, 59% of the “clicks” for this shortened url came from somewhere other than twitter.
To hammer home the point, consider the fact that I linked to and old LGF article right here at DoD a few threads back, after making one of those short urls. At first, the tweet counter for that article was at 0. But, now that our readers have been clicking on it for a few hours, we can add the “+” to get http://lgf.bz/alUUat+, and we see:
Lo and behold:
That’s right. This thread is on the verge of showing in the LGF sidebar under the top “tweeted articles“, and it hasn’t even been on twitter. In fact, let’s see if we can get it even higher! http://lgf.bz/alUUat
Or, try your own in the comment section. Check out the bit.ly feed for LGF, find a short url for, say, one of the LGF pages and post it. (or, do what I did, and try an old article).
Bottom line: The number displayed in the “tweet” counter is just as bogus as the “views” counter. Both glean their numbers by flawed methods, and result in figures that are grossly inflated.
Update: We continue to have some fun with LGF’s “flawed” tweet counter. By simply posting http://lgf.bz/alUUat, and clicking on it:
Update: OMG this is fun:
Has this thread actually been on twitter yet?
Update: Looks like the “flaw” is beginning to go viral:
click it: http://lgf.bz/alUUat
Update: Uh oh…our friend CJ may be in trouble here:
Do we have a tweet yet? No?
Just for S&G, let’s check.
Aw shit, some asshole named Gus_903 decided to tweet it.
OK, just 1 tweet. I suppose we can soldier on…:
Update: See what I mean?
No, I don’t think that “tweet” counter is accurate.