In response to my recent post Online Genre Magazines: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, I received several emails asking about my circulation estimates for these magazines. Now circulation is a dated term, only truly applying to print magazines. But the question is still valid. How many people actually read online genre magazines?
As I said in that post, it's difficult todetermine the readership of online magazines. If online magazines even report the number of visitors they receive, there is a tendency to inflate their numbers. I've seen this happen several times over recent years, where an online magazine proclaims one public set of readership numbers but have admitted to me in private their traffic is actually much lower.
Based on my experience with online magazines, I believe top online genre publications like Strange Horizons likely have between 1,000 to 2,000 unique visitors per day. Most other top markets will have 400 to 1000 visitors a day, and obscure markets will have 10 to 100 visitors a day at most. For a site like Tor.com, which has an active online community and an extensive offering of unique content, their numbers will obviously go much higher. But I'd still bet the number of people who access the Tor.com fiction each day is no more than 1,000 to 2,000 unique visitors. If that.
While these numbers may pale beside high traffic websites like Boing Boing, the numbers aren't too bad. If an online genre magazine averages 1,000 visitors a day, that means they have 30,000 readers a month, which is more than the biggest SF magazine in the United States, Analog.
Still, the weak point in my analysis is I don't have access to much current data. I'm looking for a few editors of online genre magazines to share their traffic data with me. I'll keep quiet about the who and where, and if enough places share the info, I'll use it to more accurately update my estimates above. You can find my contact information here.