Biglaw, Blog Wars, Blogging, Law Professors

Teaching Brian Leiter About The Internet

You get used to it. I don’t even see the code. All I see are SCOTUS sightings, Bonus Rumors, and Law Schools Ripping Off Students.

So last Friday, while I was sipping chugging Jack Daniels and curating the weekly GIF roundup in the airport lounge, Professor Brian Leiter went on his blog to assert — without a lick of evidentiary support — that Above the Law was in some kind of financial trouble. Since the reality is that Above the Law is coming off its best year ever by every metric available, we responded.

Well, it takes a big man to admit when he’s wrong.

In related news, Professor Leiter did not admit he was wrong. In fact, he updated his post with a retort so drenched in weak sauce that we figured we’d reply again.

How weak was it? Well, let’s school the prof on some basic math about his own site….

So, if you don’t remember, Professor Leiter suggested that Above the Law readership was severely flagging. Firing up ye olde Google Analytics reveals that’s… not remotely true. Indeed, as we helpfully noted in a footnote to last week’s piece, our traffic reports reveal “[r]ecord traffic in 2013, including multiple months of 1 million unique visitors or more.”

How would Professor Leiter respond?

Yeah, pretty much:

UPDATE: The Blog Emperior does pay based on traffic. “LOL” as the bottom-feeders in cyberspace say! Happy New Year to all readers, the blog will probably be relatively quiet until the New Year (thanks Mr. Patrice, for filling my quota), unless something exciting happens (like ATL releases the comparative data [to contradict the evidence noted] for public inspection). My philosophy blog alone runs roughly 400,000 “unique visits” per month (and I don’t make my living off of it!), so if ATL’s “best” months are only a million visits, they are in worse trouble than I realized!

“Unique,” eh?

So Professor Leiter’s response is basically gibberish because he’s playing with specific Internet traffic terms that he either doesn’t understand or he’s intentionally trying to pull a fast one. You see, the same person visiting a site 20 different times (say, at least a few hours apart) during a week constitutes 20 “visits,” but only one “unique visitor.” This is not the same as “page views” either. If during one of the above visitor’s visits, he or she read 3 pages and during a later visit hit 4 pages, that’s 7 page views during 2 visits for 1 unique visitor. We could teach Professor Leiter all about how “visits” and “unique visitors” aren’t the same thing at our conference.[1]

Also, top-notch logical reasoning in that response: “ATL must provide more backup to disprove the assertion I’ve made with no evidence.” Prove that negative, ATL!

Well, the problem for the professor is that traffic numbers ARE publicly available. Or, perhaps more precisely, approximates are publicly available. Quantcast is a web service that estimates traffic numbers for various websites. It is by no means perfect and underestimates a bit. In my experience (based on a number of sites where I’ve had Google Analytics access), its numbers are about 90 percent accurate. So typing in Leiter Reports: A Philosophy Blog, we find that — forget what he “runs” monthly — his absolute high-water mark in a month for the entire year of 2013 is around 300,000 visits, and his top performance for unique visitors per month clocks in at around 70,000.

So… not coming close to Above the Law’s numbers.

While we’re not about to give out access to our Google Analytics reports because we’re running a business here, you can also use this trick to estimate ATL traffic if you want to see if we lied to you last week. See how that unique visitors number reaches just a smidge under 1 million multiple times this year? Well, you can take our word for it that we actually beat that number. More importantly, even if you don’t want to take our word for it, this still demonstrates how Leiter’s blog really is the tiny side project he pursues in between quiet nights lamenting that he’s not Gilles Deleuze, while ATL is wildly successful.

So with that unpleasantness behind us… how are you all doing? Did you have to field questions from the family about your legal career over the holidays?

You probably didn’t actually have the week off, but if you did, Life In Biglaw knows the feeling of returning to work next week.

We feel for you. Be strong.

But hey, next week can’t be too bad. New Year’s Eve is coming up! But What Should Law Bros Call Me shows you how to approach the situation if folks from the office try to hang out with you on one of the hardest partying days of the year.

Good advice. Remember they’re hiring lawyers just to snitch on other lawyers these days.

[1] Except, he used to act like he understood Internet terminology. Hmmm.

Is the “National Enquirer” blog for law about to fold? [Leiter Law School Reports]

Earlier: We Were Just Having Fun On The Internet And A Law Professor Decided To Attack Us. Us, Of All People!

(hidden for your protection)

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