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My New Friend

November 28, 2014

I was new to blogging when I began Chubby Chatterbox in 2011. Back then, I’d never even read a blog. I was looking for a way to find an audience for my storytelling, and starting a blog was my son CJ’s idea.  He helped me design my site, and guided me through how it operated so I could maintain it properly. I had no idea blogs came with a statistics page, but once I became aware of mine I waited on pins and needles for that first visit, one not originating from friends or family. A few hours after going live, I received my first international visit. According to my statistics page, the visit came from…Romania.


I couldn’t imagine why anyone in Romania would be interested in what I had to say, but I looked forward to a long and rewarding relationship getting to know Romanians, not knowing that years later I’d receive only one more visit from that country.


This was just the beginning, but I did start receiving visits from around the world. It was beyond me why people in Korea or Peru or Slovenia would visit me. I supposed there were American ex-pats everywhere and perhaps they were checking in, but I’ve since learned that the country with the most American ex-pats is Mexico, and I receive precious few comments from the country south of our border—so far only three.


I notice that some blogs have a side-bar device showing flags from countries that have visited their site, and I think it wonderful that we bloggers can reach such wide audiences, if our statistics pages are accurate. In answer to this question: I’m not convinced they are. In spite of the fact that I’ve installed a universal translator on my site,

none of these thousands of visits has generated a single comment.


I’d expected to be followed by countries like Canada, Britain, Australia, New Zealand and other English-speaking countries, but my statistics page handed me a surprise. When Chubby Chatterbox was up and running a few months, I was informed that the country following me the most, by a very wide margin, was…Russia.


Why were the Russians so interested in my blog? Did the Kremlin think America’s launch codes were secretly imbedded in my drivel? In a plot worthy of John le Carré, did Russian intelligence gatherers think Chubby Chatterbox was a front for disseminating orders to undercover US operatives lurking on Russian soil? If so, not anymore; according to my stat page, Russia has dropped me like a bottle of zero proof vodka. The frozen wastelands of the former Soviet Union have given up trying to decipher my blog. I have a new friend. For the last month, I’ve been inundated with visits from…France.            


Perhaps this is a late reward for not boycotting French fries during the Iraqi War as so many people did (more a reflection of my overweight status than an act of patriotism) nor did I refer to them as “Freedom Fries.” Still, I’ve had a few problems with France over the years, and I’ve made a few unkind jokes about French military prowess and the fact that the only ones capable of winning French military victories were a sixteen year old girl and a short Italian.



I guess it’s time to let bygones be bygones as I reach out to embrace my new Gallic friend. Like Sally Fields once famously said, I’m sure France, “…really really like me,” and I trust Blogger isn’t beefing up my statistic page with phony global visits just to keep me on the hook for their tawdry advertisements.


Surely, the French will be more social than the hundreds of Russians who, if I’m to believe Blogger, visited their silence upon me. What about you? Do you receive lots of visits from questionable places? Do you believe your statistics page?   




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Goot efenink Comrade. Comment ca va? Lies, damn lies, statistics - and history. I thoroughly enjoy your writing! By the way, I'd heard that the the country with the most Mexican ex-pats is America?
By: Mike@A Bit About Britain on November 28, 2014
I never pay attention to stats anymore - but back when I did I thought it was interesting to see visits from other countries. I decided that they weren't REAL readers since they never left comments :)
By: The Bug on November 28, 2014
I live in the US but I could move if you'd like!!
By: fishducky on November 28, 2014
I have no idea who visits my blog unless they comment, but my only commenting reader from a non-English speaking land is a Canadian who lives in the Ukraine. I'm content with only having lifelong English speakers because deep communication is more easily achieved between people who are at the same level of language proficiency and share a somewhat common cultural background. It also helps to be about the same age, but there is a specialness about transcending the age--and even the gender--barrier, and maybe you've had more experience than I in transcending other barriers. After all, it wouldn't be any fun if our readers were so much like we are that we never said anything that they couldn't have anticipated.
By: Snowbrush on November 28, 2014
Since the French played such an important role in our winning of our freedom, I am giving them the benefit of the doubt.
By: Tabor on November 28, 2014
Learn something new everyday....I had never looked at my stats....mostly my visitors are from the USA- I've been blogging since 2006, but didn't participate with other bloggers ( I was totally unaware) until 2010....then I "got it" about commenting etc. Before then I just blogged for my family members and friends to keep up with us without my having to send them photos via emails. Cheers! Your blog is one of my all time favs!
By: Kathe W. on November 28, 2014
I've wondered about that, too, and am thinking that it may be search engines visiting pages ... but why???
By: The Broad on November 28, 2014
yup, for a long time it was russians. then ukraine. now i've noticed a lot of bounces from france, too. when i got my first real commenter from russia, though, i was thrilled! :)
By: TexWisGirl on November 28, 2014
I go more by my Google Analytics than anything else, but it's still always interesting to see those random hits from other countries. This one is from Canada.
By: Vanessa D. on November 28, 2014
For my own sanity, i ignore my stats page. Let's hope the French who are visiting you start commenting!
By: mimi on November 28, 2014
That's interesting. I use Stat Counter to keep track of things. I rarely look at the Blogger stats but I just did. The only thing they agree on is that the majority of my visitors come from the U. S. Stat Counter say that Canada is next, followed by the U.K. and India. That makes perfect sense to me.The rest of the countries (France and Russia included) each make up less than 1% of my vistors. According to Blogger, after the U.S., my popular visitors are from Germany, Ukraine, Canada, France and a few others. I'm more inclined to believe Stat Counter.. it coincides with the comments as well.
By: Hilary on November 28, 2014
Your post reminded me to check the stats page. Maybe I inherited your Russians. That could explain an upsurge in Ukraine and Germany. Not sure why so many Chinese are reading my posts. UK and France, Poland and Spain are all about the same, though there's been a Spanish surge in the last couple of days. Must have been my note about the Spanish feast which was probably the first thanksgiving.
By: Tom Cochrun on November 28, 2014
Most of my visitors are American. Yes I do get people from all over the world except Africa. I think stats are fairly accurate although it's interesting to have two different stat counters. Stat counter doesn't count Word Press.
By: red on November 28, 2014
I have some lookers from Russia, too. I wonder how they find my site. You prompted me to check my my stats and I found that I had a visitor from Indonesia.
By: Pixel Peeper on November 28, 2014
I started in 2012. My biggest viewers by far are Americans, but France, Russia, and the Ukraine have a lot too. My most viewed post features the release of a book -- Escalation by Stephen Tremp (just a regular blogger/author like the rest of us). It came out around the time the Ukraine was beginning its trouble with Russia, and the post got about 3k views, mostly from the Ukraine. I figure they were looking for an article about the arms "escalation." lol
By: Lexa Cain on November 28, 2014
On my first blog, my very first commenter was from Australia. Then I got a little gang of Australians. It was great fun, but one by one we grew apart after about two years. My current blog has a ration of 3:1 Unites States to Ukraine. I hope I'm not getting a mail-order bride any time soon.
By: Val on November 28, 2014
Like The Bug and The Broad say, I think most of them are automatic hits from search engines. But it's fun to contemplate, isn't it? I did a post on the same subject at
By: Tom Sightings on November 28, 2014
Willy Dunne Wooters says it's spambot when we receive a number of visits from a country such as Russia. For a while I thought I was a goddess to Slovenians because it appeared that so many read my blog. Now I know better. Love, Janie
By: Janie Junebug on November 28, 2014
Hey, France is my #2 country now, too. Did France just discover the wonder of the blog? Did their language committee officially approve the word "blog," thereby making the google searches more viable? I don't know, but Russia and Ukraine better get their act together. They're going to be completely out of the loop when it comes to what is going on in my life!
By: Katy Anders on November 28, 2014
USA, Russia, France and Canada are my big viewers but I've had Africans, Chinese and Latvian readers.
By: Madeleine McLaughlin on November 29, 2014
My most non-USA hits come from Australia. Probably because I did a post on Australian Blue Heelers which is my most active post all time. Some times they hit on a picture I posted but most often, it is spambot. China loves me.
By: Akansas Patti on November 29, 2014
I was so excited when I received my first comment. Although, I was quite baffled about why someone from Portugal, who was obviously trying to sell some T-shirts, would be interested in leaving a comment on my FishHawk Droppings, which was back then like what AsTheCrackerheadCrumbles has become now. Several months later, I learned about spam. Sigh.
By: Jerry E. Beuterbaugh on November 29, 2014
Those stats are strange, and those hits are suspect. I recently started getting hits from France. I always get hits from Ukraine and Russia. Sometimes I get one hit every hour to the minute from Russia. I assume it is some kind of spam issue.
By: Cranky on November 29, 2014
Generally speaking I do, Stephen. Japan, Russia, The Netherlands, Poland also appear on my site, which is nice.
By: Michael Manning on November 29, 2014
I think those stats are just to stoke ones ego. I used to believe them, but like you said, why would someone from a foreign land care about the drivel I write about?
By: Scott Park on November 30, 2014
I rarely check my stats. I do believe it, but I don't believe the random visits from, e.g., the Czec Republic, are folks across the globe who heard about Life by Chocolate. They're likely looking to promote something like a mail-order-bride service and/or happened upon my blog accidentally. Or maybe they are researching chocolate and land there. Hope you had a great Thanksgiving, Stephen.
By: Robyn Engel on November 30, 2014
I am the same Stephen, I get lots of visits from Russia. I don't understand it, there must be something behind it but it is probably nothing to do with blogging. Strange...............
By: John on December 1, 2014
Who truly knows? There are fair number of automated programs (good and evil) scanning the universe... aka WEB for all sorts of things.
By: Daniel LaFrance on December 7, 2014
I get lots of Russian visitors, too! I wonder if they could get arrested for leading a blog by a gay man... i hope not. Anyway, I figure all those visits to my site are by people who got to me in a search, saw my page, and immediately left!
By: Mitchell is Moving on December 11, 2014

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