Increasing blog traffic with Alpha Inventions: Real readers or just hits?

About a week ago, my blog stats page on WordPress showed a surge in traffic from a referrer called Alphainventions. On one day, I got 32 hits from them. A few days later, another peak was reached with 42 hits. And yesterday, 31 hits. So far, there’s been a total of 173!

This rather took me by surprise, as I’d been chugging along with an average of 9 hits a day with a couple of peaks and troughs (one day with 0 views! talk about depressing!), so it had taken me a long time to march up to the 3000 page view mark!.

So, intrigued but apprehensive (I don’t want potential spammers to know that I exist, after all), I clicked on the link.

It took me to the website of Alphainventions, which seemed to be some sort of blog aggregator, with the tag line “Read and Share Blogs in Real Time”. Here’s a screen shot of the top of the page.

Screen shot of top of the page

Screen shot of top of the page

The rest of the page was loading the entire front page of one blog after another.

Perhaps because of my relatively slow internet connection (384 Kbs, which I believe is slow in international terms), these front pages weren’t even fully loading before they vanished and the next one started to load. There was a ‘pause’ button, though, so perhaps the principle was that, if you saw a page you liked, you could pause it. There were also links to ‘Stumble it’, ‘Digg it’, and to add it to ‘Reddit’ and Del.icio.us – none of which I use.

I also saw that there was a spot at the top of the screen where you could enter your own blog’s URL and click on ‘Notify Readers About My Blog’.

So, still a bit apprehensive, I did so… and after clicking twice to confirm that this was indeed what I wanted, the front page of my blog appeared in Alphainventions. I’d just ‘bumped off’ someone else’s blog – SORRY!!!

A few seconds later, though, before my page had even fully loaded, it vanished and another blog’s front page started to load.

Hmm…

I’d just been bumped off…. Hrmpf.

C’est la vie, I guess! 🙂

On checking my stats page some time later, I noticed that the number of hits from Alphainventions had climbed. However, there had been no increasing hits on any of the ‘top posts and pages’, which led me to suspect that there were in fact no new readers or actual views.

Still curious, I did a search in the WordPress Forums to find out whether others had encountered Alpha Inventions too. And indeed, there had been many! The person who started the thread four months ago (!) expressed exactly my concerns:

“Recently I’ve been getting hits referred from alphainventions.com, which describes itself as some kind of tool for keeping webmasters notified when other blogs are updated. Are these real hits? When I look at the site it seems to just generate hits by loading blog after blog in a frame in my browser. Is this something malicious or a scam? thanks.”

The staff response was that they weren’t sure either, but were keeping an eye on it. Comforting. 🙂

The principle behind it was explained by the creator of Alphainventions, Cheru Jackson, who – to his credit – replied extensively to the thread on the Forum and responded to all the various questions and comments, as follows:

“If you update or publish your blog at the same time my visitors are browsing blogs in my site then my visitors will get a chance to see your blog in real-time.”

“I also provide a link to your blog in case they want it to open your blog in a new window, or bookmark your blog . The links provides your title, and description to help my visitors get a better understanding on what your blog is about, and get more interested.”

I was still a bit unsure about the whole thing, though. I want actual READERS.

Another blogger also verbalised exactly this:

“I do NOT think I am getting real readers. I saw an incoming link from alphainventions, wasnt sure what it was. Hopped over to the site, submitted mine (after going through here) and in just some time I had like 70 hits (and they were counted). So, I again submitted my link and waited to see my blog in the cycle, it appeared and disappeared in less than 2 seconds as happened with other blogs. I think all it does it like refreshes your pages, which appear as links. I did not hop over to any site which it displayed and don’t think anyone did visit mine either. Will have to have a look at the extended statcounter stats to see the unique visitors.”

I don’t have an “extended statcounter” (or at least, I haven’t found the thing!), so I have no idea how many unique visitors I got. (So don’t worry, I don’t know any of your IP addresses or whatever… You can browse anonymously on my blog as much as you like.) 😉

Cheru gave the following intriguing explanation on his blog:

“Alpha Inventions is far from a robot, because it’s controlled by the visitors, and blog publishers. If you don’t publish a blog nobody will see it. If nobody is on alphanventions.com nobody will see the blogs you published or updated. Simple. It was coded this way to avoid being a spam site. Once the site has grown more, I will get more into the coding part with you, so you can better understand how it works.

It’s just not about finding something interesting to read.

The purpose of Alpha Inventions is to connect bloggers with each other in a faster way, so there are no gaps in communication. Targeted communication will improve.

The fact that someone knows that they can contact you, or provide feedback to you almost instantly make your blog more interesting even though they did not search for your content.”

Something I hadn’t realised until re-reading his explanation a few times, is that Alpha Inventions “is just not about finding something interesting to read. “

In other words, it doesn’t filter through tags, categories and key words to show you what you might be interested in – it is simply tracks activity – regardless of content or quality.

As he said:

“If you update or publish your blog at the same time my visitors are browsing blogs in my site then my visitors will get a chance to see your blog in real-time.”

I don’t know why that took so long to sink in, but I finally understand what he’s doing.

Honestly, although it’s kinda cool and exciting to get loads of hits and to see my blog stats improving in leaps and bounds, I really do prefer to know that I have actual readers who have arrived on my blog by searching for keywords, categories or tags that interested them, or by hopping over from one of my friends’ sites…. Hopefully, they may even linger a bit longer to browse through my archives to read older posts too.

To get a friendly comment from one of them – heck, that’s like making a new friend!

And that’s more self-affirming and heart-warming than impressive stats will ever be.

9 thoughts on “Increasing blog traffic with Alpha Inventions: Real readers or just hits?

    • Hi Lawrence,
      you’re absolutely right. I appreciate your comment.
      I also had a squiz at your blog – so you’re a writer! 🙂 You said: “I also write and am working on two psychological thrillers set in the countryside.” Sounds riveting! From what I’ve read so far, you’re a damn fine wordsmith, and I look forward to reading more.
      Bye for now, Reggie.

  1. Stats are so misleading, for reasons like this, that I haven’t bothered looking at mine for possibly years. (Okay. I have to admit, another reason I’ve been neglecting them is that I just haven’t been blogging much at all!)

    But if you do want a closer look at your readers, try statcounter.com. It’s free (unless you want a bigger log, which is only necessary if your blog becomes very active) and really good. Easy to use too… although come to think of it… maybe not that easy in WordPress. Hm.

    • Hi Scroobious, yes, quite agree. Thanks for the tip re statcounter.com – I had a quick look at it, but don’t know how I can integrate it into my WordPress blog. I’ll have to research that a bit. I can’t change the CSS or code or anything on my blog.

  2. I checked out Alphainventions back in December and came to the same conclusion that you did Reggie. I noticed that a lot of bloggers whose site appeared there did not have recent posts.

    You have to have a browser window open to Alphainventions in order to get hits to your own site. It’s only by actively visiting Alphainventions that you get hits to your site. At the same time, who wants hits that are the result of someone having a browser window open – if nobody is actually reading what’s the point?

    I also found that my computer was acting badly – super slow – while I was visiting Alphainventions. Once I stopped, things got back to normal.

  3. I have never used their AIID – but have these stats for you:
    10/3/2009 37 referral sources – none from AI
    116 page views = 97 pages + 19 returns

    On this day, I did not submit to Alpha Inventions.

    9/3/2009 161 referral sources – 129 from AI
    210 page views = 202 pages + 8 returns
    On this day, I submitted to Alpha Inventions I three times

    I have used Alpha Inventions to drive page views in the past and find that my return visitors are steadily increasing of their own accord.

    I also get flow on traffic to my other sites that are linked to my main site.

    Hope that helps.

    http://notallpoppies.wordpress.com

    PS I have had up to 2000 in a day – but that was on a day when I specifically wrote an article about them.

  4. Hi,
    I stumbled upon your blog when searching for follow-ups on the SAX appeal issue.
    I read that you do not want spammers on your blog, and I agree. I found two plugins that really works – Akismet and WP-Spamfree. Spamfree stops the spam dead in its tracks and you’ll see the amount of spam post (can’t read it though) in your dashboard. Akismet routes it back to your spam queue where you can approve it if you want to or delete it.

    I’m not sure if you can install the plugins though, because you are on wordpress.com. It is easier for me as I am domain owner.

    To increase your traffic (if you really want to) is best to submit to ananzi or google directly and then install an SEO plugin.
    I hope this helps.

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