Diary

More questions about Obama's small contributions

Alexa is a web information which provides information about traffic to websites. In light of Obama’s staggering $150 million in contributions in September, of which $100 million was supposedly from small Internet donors, I checked to see whether traffic to his website increased from August to September. You would normally expect that if donations go up, then traffic to the website would go up also, right? After all, you have to go to the website to donate. Also, since a large number of the donors were first-time donors, it’s likely that many of them were also first-time visitors to his website who would have explored it and driven his website traffic up even more.

So- in July he raised $51 million. In August he raised $66 million. In September, he raised $150 million. Traffic to his site should have gone up, say, 150% between August and September, right?

Not.

According to Alexa, traffic for July and roughly half of August did not change a lot. On about August 20, traffic spiked, probably due to the Democratic convention. During this time, traffic approximately doubled from prior periods. Then in September, traffic was at a higher level than July and August, but slightly lower than the August spike period.

Obama received $16 million more in August than July. This was presumably related to higher website traffic in the last third of the month. If traffic had been higher for the whole month, we might have expected giving would have been $48 million more than in July (three times the $16 million which was for only a third of the month).
Well, September traffic was a bit less than traffic during the last third of August. So let’s say that giving for all of September was at the higher rate we saw for the last third of August. Then giving should have been about $48 million higher than July- or about $100 million. But instead, it was $150 million, 50% higher than we would expect.

The numbers for October are even more interesting. Traffic remained steady from September, but giving is way down- at a rate of $72 million for the month, despite the traffic which has been significantly higher than for September.

What does this all say? It says that there is no relationship between traffic to the Obama website and small Internet donations to Obama. How can that be?