Are the Puppies all bark and no bite?

On March 30th I predicted that the Puppies would sweep the Hugo Award nominations. Since then my ongoing Hugo/Puppy commentary and analysis has received a good bit of traffic, with my website receiving more than 100,000 visitors over the last month.

All of which, ta da, allows me to rank the sites which sent the most visitors my way. While this isn't a scientific analysis of which genre sites have the most traffic (more on that in a moment), it does give a relative look at where people are reading about the Puppies' Hugo Award martyrdom operation, or at least those places which linked to my analysis.

Here are the top ten sites which sent traffic my way over the last month, along with their percentage of traffic.

  1. Twitter: 25.32%
  2. Google: 21.80%
  3. Direct visitors to site: 20.70%
  4. Facebook: 12.40%
  5. 6.63%
  6. 5.62%
  7. 2.54%
  8. 1.76%
  9. 1.64%
  10. 1.59%

Again, this isn't a scientific analysis of the overall popularity of these different sites. For example, if someone's post focused specifically on one of my essays, that might send more traffic my way than a link buried in the bottom of a long post. In addition, I'm not the only one writing about the Hugo Awards, and many many many people and sites didn't link to my essays at all.

But one thing I draw from this is that most people who care about or know of the Hugo Awards are not involved in genre politics. The reason Google sent nearly 22% of all the traffic to my site over the last month is that, for several days in late March and early April, anyone who typed "sad puppies" or "sad puppies hugo" into Google saw my commentary as the first link. I suspect these were genre fans or members of the general public who knew about the Hugos, had heard that something called the Puppies swept the awards, and were searching for more information.

If this is a correct analysis, it suggests there's a massive group of people interested in the SF/F genre and the Hugos who didn't know about the Puppy campaigns beforehand.

I also find the traffic comparison between and rather interesting. Over the last month both sites featured multiple posts with prominent links to my essays, yet one of them clearly sent more traffic my way. While people can draw their own conclusions from this, it makes me wonder if the reach of the Rabid Puppies ringleader has been overstated by everyone in the genre.

Yes, VD has a passionate group of followers who helped the Rabid Puppy slate become the true winners of this Hugo mess. But perhaps the actual number of his followers is rather small, at least when compared to other groups within the SF/F genre.

That doesn't mean he and his followers can't continue to game the Hugos — the award's nomination process, as recent events have proved, are very easily dominated by small, organized voting blocks.

But if my take on these numbers is correct, then it appears the Puppies are mostly all bark and no bite. Which give me hope that, in the long run, John Scalzi might be correct and the Puppies will turn out to be a "rear-guard action" with very little lasting influence in the SF/F genre.