A colleague of mine made some observations today, which I found too interesting to keep to myself:
“If you’ve watched the news this morning then you would have heard that ‘2600’ people tried to get onto the new flu website every second – that’s 9,300,000 people every hour.
Every news anchor was using the word people in the headline but then changing to the word hits in the story (cunning - but misleading).
This is a classic case of spinning the data to make the resource (in this case the flu website) appear more popular than it really is.
Here are the facts:
The home page of the flu website is made up of at least 7 items (the page itself, 5 pictures and a style sheet). This means that before the page can be displayed in your browser, 7 things need to be retrieved (downloaded) from the server. Each time something is retrieved from a server it counts as a hit, so this means that for every person looking at the page there will be (at least) 7 ‘hits’ to the server.
Simple maths reveals that 2600 divided by 7 equals 371, so in reality, 371 people per second were accessing the website (not 2600).
9,300,000 divided by 7 equals 1,328,571, so in reality, 1,328,571 people per hour were accessing the website (not 9,300,000)
As you can see, there is a massive difference between the figures the media is quoting and figures about actual unique visits from real people. Don’t get me wrong, these are still very impressive figures in their own right - so it begs the question why don’t they use them? (clue: 9,000,000 is more headline grabbing).
This is why we, in the IT team, are always going on about the importance of using the correct terminology - visits are not the same thing as hits.”