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Is Google Blocking FreeRepublic.com?

by Richard Poe
Sunday, February 22, 2009

8:54 pm Eastern Time
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CONSERVATIVE COMANCHE blogger David Yeagley is enjoying a record surge in Web traffic, following the redesign of his BadEagle.com Web site. But you’d never know it from reading our Google Analytics report.

While most traffic counters show Yeagley’s readership skyrocketing since the January 14 relaunch, Google Analytics shows Yeagley in a nose-dive. Part of the problem appears to be that Google is ignoring any traffic we get from the popular, conservative discussion board FreeRepublic.com.

As the designer of Yeagley’s new site, I was pleased to see a big traffic spike on January 31, two weeks after our relaunch. The spike came largely from FreeRepublic.


The charts above — both from WordPress Stats — indicate that David Yeagley’s BadEagle.com blog got a spike of 1,078 page views on January 31, at least 413 of which came from FreeRepublic.com. The chart below — from Google Analytics — shows no spike on January 31, and no sign of any traffic from FreeRepublic.com.

On January 30, a Freeper calling herself Sioux-san had posted Dr. Yeagley’s article “Michael Medved and `White Women’” at FreeRepublic.com. She graciously provided a link back to BadEagle.com, where the original article appeared.

Over the next 24 hours, some 413 Freepers followed that link back to BadEagle, according to our internal traffic counter WordPress Stats. In its list of referring Web sites, WordPress clearly indicated that those 413 page views came from FreeRepublic, and at least 326 of them specifically from the article posted at FreeRepublic by Sioux-san.

Strangely, our Google Analytics account showed no sign of any visits from FreeRepublic during the same 24-hour period. Not a single visit. Not a single Freeper. Not one.

Indeed, while Site Meter and WordPress Stats showed a big spike in our traffic on January 31, Google Analytics showed a drop.

With its massive traffic, FreeRepublic ought to be a kingmaker on the Internet. It ought to be able to make or break other Web sites by choosing which sites to grace with its traffic and which sites to ignore.

Our experience with the mysterious, vanishing traffic spike of January 31 may indicate that liberal Internet gatekeepers have found a way to curtail FreeRepublic’s influence — and the influence of conservative Web sites generally.

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