One of the fun things I get to do at the end of the year is take stock of my blog, both in terms of statistics and personal satisfaction. I started blogging over at SexBombsBurgers.com back in March, 2009 mainly as a promotional vehicle for my book, which was to be released a year later. In October, 2010, I launched WordsByNowak.com as my main home in preparation for my venture into the freelance life. Things have really taken off and changed since then.
The posts on the Sex, Bombs and Burgers blog were almost exclusively devoted to the three topics covered in the book: military, food and porn technology. Not surprisingly, when I looked back at my year-end statistics, the most-read posts were inevitably those related to adult entertainment.
With the new blog, I’ve continued posting on SBB topics, but I’ve also broadened things considerably. For the past year, I’ve written posts on just about anything that has come to mind, with at least some effort to tie things back to my technology beat.
Amazingly, porn is nowhere is to be found on my 10 most-read list. In fact, the highest porn-related entry – Superhero porn parodies playing with fire – came in at 22nd. Instead, readers have been coming here for a different kind of porn – it has nothing to do with skin and everything to do with telecommunications. To be honest, I’m not sure which sort of traffic I’m more comfortable with.
Nevertheless, here are my 10 most-read posts of the year:
10. Canadian broadband: the time for complaining is over (Nov. 11)
Written in reaction to the news that U.S. had put together a plan to help the poorest Americans get access to broadband, this post was all about the frustration many are experiencing in Canada over our government’s complete disregard for such issues.
9. Netflix: a tale of two countries (Jan. 28)
There’s little doubt that usage-based internet billing was the tech story of the year in Canada (possibly tying with Research In Motion’s meltdown). This post looked at the numbers behind Netflix’s network performance in Canada and the U.S.
With the Conservatives finally winning a majority government in May, I wrote about how it would be bad news – or at least no news – for technology and telecommunications. Eight months later, I couldn’t have been more right.
7. Download limits only a symptom of the problem (Jan. 13)
I didn’t really know what I was getting into when I wrote this post, one of the first in which I really let my opinions on telecom issues fly. In it, I discussed competitive problems and how usage-based billing was just one aspect of them. Seeing how the post did well, it was pretty clear that readers wanted to hear more, hence all of the entries on this list.
6. Metered internet a colossal failure (Jan. 26)
This post was in response to the CRTC’s final ruling (it didn’t end up that way) on usage-based billing and how it ran contrary to both the government’s policy direction and the Telecommunications Act. That was probably a correct analysis, given that the government wasted no time in ordering the CRTC back to the drawing board.
5. CRTC is peddling broadband Kool-Aid (Aug. 2)
To be honest, I kind of loved this post, which was about the rose-coloured glasses the regulator seemed to have on when assessing the state of Canadian broadband. Upload speeds? Who needs stinkin’ upload speeds?!?
4. Shaw’s last stand against Netflix (May 27)
This was a curious post as it may have spurred some action. In it, I brought up the spectre of tied-selling – that Shaw appeared to be trying to make its great new internet plans (with lots of monthly usage) contingent on customers also subscribing to cable TV, a practice that is illegal in Canada. The company, perhaps feeling some pressure from a possible Competition Bureau investigation, didn’t end up doing that and all was well in Western Canada.
3. UBB ruling will put government in crosshairs (Nov. 14)
I’m not really sure why this post – basically a summary of the usage-based billing issue the day before the final, final decision – did so well, but there you have it. Perhaps people had forgotten about it and just needed a refresher?
2. The world’s worst throttler (officially): Rogers (Oct. 21)
On the other hand, I remember this one pretty well. I had just come home from a party and checked my Twitter feed, to see that a research report using Google’s M-Labs had been released. As I clicked around the data, my jaw just kept dropping lower and lower as it became clearer just how bad Rogers’ throttling is. The Huffington Post, who I sometimes write for, picked it up and the traffic went crazy.
1. Top 10 myths from usage-based billing supporters (Feb. 22)
Similarly, I remember this one well. It was spurred by an editorial in Macleans magazine that supported usage-based billing. I remember reading it on a Saturday and being so angered by it that I sat down and spent the afternoon hammering out a rebuttal. As I was finishing it up, I also recall seeing a tweet from Tony Clement, who was Industry Minister at the time, also decrying it. When the post went live on the following Tuesday, it exploded. While UBB has primarily been a Canadian issue, Americans have been watching it too as internet providers down south have been testing the waters on it as well. This post crossed over and was linked to by numerous American tech sites, which explains the interest and traffic.
So, there it is – a year in which my blog completely morphed into a different kind of beast. As anyone who writes a blog will attest to, it’s often challenging and sometimes a slog to come up with something to say every day, but in the end it’s extremely worth it. Not only does traffic continue to grow nicely, I’ve also had numerous new opportunities come my way through this blog, from writing and speaking gigs to new friends and perspectives. In May, some of the Rogers magazines – Macleans and Canadian Business – also started syndicating my posts, which means I’m also making some money for doing this.
In the coming year, I’m hoping to diversify some of that list above. While I do enjoy writing about telecommunications, I think I’ve got some excellent stuff coming up that has nothing to do with it. With any luck, the readers will agree.
Have a great and safe New Year!