SecurityNewsDesk Accuses Rivals Of Lying, Exposes Their Own

Manufacturers are not always the source of lies, often they are the recipients of them.

One trade magazine admitted this, accusing their rivals of 'inflating readership' to charge manufacturers more for advertising. Unfortunately, in the process they exposed their own.

The publication, SecurityNewsDesk, 'showcased' their web server statistics from AWStats, listing ~64,000 visits and ~500,000 page views.

However, AWStats is well known for reporting much much higher numbers than Google Analytics, Quantcast and other more common services that track based on client side javascript.

What SecurityNewsDesk's MD and author of that post either did not know or choose to leave out was that his site is directly measured by Quantcast and their Quantcast numbers are dramatically lower. Quantcast reports just ~13,000 visits and ~20,000 page views for the past month.

SecurityNewsDesk is radically inflating their readership levels relative to commonly accepted metrics.

For a direct comparison, Quantcast also directly reports and measures traffic from SecurityInfoWatch, showing ~123,000 visits and ~200,000 page views for the same time period.

Note: for those interested, IPVM uses Clicky, which has a similar approach to Quantcast (javascript embed, etc.), and reports ~126,000 visits and ~330,000 page views for the same time period.

The bigger problem for all the trade magazines is that they publish very little original content and even less that is insightful, interesting or timely. Without that, it is very hard to get people coming back to one's site regularly and forces a dependence on inflating numbers or maximizing search engine optimization.

As a company who advertises to security professionals, I've come to the conclusion that I can get a far better return on my advertising / marketing dollars on retargeting and social media campaigns.

"The bigger problem for all the trade magazines is that they publish very little original content and even less that is insightful, interesting or timely."

That, and this may be a personal pet peeve of mine, but I get regular emails from one of these that usually have teasers along the lines of "This central station is going to re-paint their offices in pastel colors. " Of course they want you to click the link to read the full story. I usually don't, when you go out of your way to craft a headline/teaser that purposefully leaves out key info, I'm not interested in having to "beg" for the story.

Give me the relevant details in a good summary. If it's something I'm truly interested in I'll gladly click a link to read the full story and get more background. But when the teaser omits the info I need to determine if it applies to me, my assumption is going to be that it's a no-value story and I'm not clicking.

"This central station is going to re-paint their offices in pastel colors."

Lol. To me the bigger issue in that headline is how trivial the news is. Re-painting offices is not far off from the actual ones; Things like "Tyco Fire brings three new sprinkler valves to American market" and "Guardian implements ASAP to PSAP in Richmond" and "ACT Docks at Dublin and Cherbourg with Irish Ferries"

This might be clear enough, but the topics are so niche (even for our industry), it's impossible to get much traffic.

We privately alerted him to this yesterday but have heard no feedback.

In their new spirit of transparency your private communication has been pubically shared on the site and has been discussed since yesterday.

That's wrong.

The response he posted was to my first comment, which was before I discovered their publicly available Quantcast numbers.

Since I discovered and alerted him of his Quantcast numbers (later yesterday and as a second comment on that article that 'disappeared'), there has been no feedback directly to me nor on that article or their site.

Ok, I totally got it wrong.

Maybe you can see why it looked that way, since

Your first comment was not in the actual comments section, rather it was inlined by the author.

Your first comment provided a link and suggestion to look a quantcast and SIW, one would assume you had looked at the link yourself, and also tried SND at the same time, and were gently nudging him to do the same, hence the alert.

He makes a comment regarding quantcast and why he feels it would be wrong to rely on them. You didn't report his stated position on quantcast, saying only he doesn't know or care, nor do you hint at any direct response to you from him.

I think anyone following the link to SND and seeing the comments might have also thought the same, so this might be helpful...

SecurityNewsDesk's MD and author of that article responded to me, emphasizing that "I don't know Quantcast - it looks like another Alexa to me."

It seems that he is new to web publishing and genuinely naive about these things. However, a directly measured Quantcast metric is far more accurate than Alexa's guestimate of sites.

Worse, the comparison to Alexa is a smokescreen. He's basing their numbers on AWStats, something that no one else in the industry has ever done, to my knowledge.

Given the low number of posts and comments on SecurityNewsDesk, the ~13,000 visits and ~20,000 page views Quantcast directly reports sounds quite accurate.

This all goes to show the issues in fairly measuring and reporting traffic.

After SecurityNewsDesk duplicity was exposed by us highlighting their own Quantcast direct traffic, SecurityNewsDesk has hidden them.

We anticipated that and screencaped those numbers, copied below:

This is the sad state of our industry. They started with:

"Security Media Publishing is in a pole position, ready to lead the way and set the benchmarks for this standard. We’re throwing down the gauntlet to the rest of the industry."

And then when called out, they hid their real numbers.