For the first time that I can recall (and my memory stretches past a decade) Salon burst past the 6 million number for monthly unique visitors to the site, according to Google analytics (6.308 million, to be exact). Pretty cool. It continues a pretty satisfying three-month climb in 2011 (I've written about February and January).
There are a few key points that are particularly encouraging. For one, we didn't really have any huge, viral success stories in March (I usually think of any post above 200,000 PVs as viral -- with the exception of our slideshows, but I'll get to that). Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't turn down a viral sensation or a huge breaking news story. We strive for them, we're willing to pay top dollar for them. But I think it's a lot healthier that we're showing growth without any outliers that otherwise muddle the picture.
Ironically, our year-over-year growth is (compared to previous months) a relatively modest 9 percent bump. But that's very much a result of an outstanding March 2010 -- our biggest month of the year -- that was compounded by three giant viral success (led by the huge talker, Hipsters on food stamps; and a little Oscar scoop I even contributed to the site). Without those? A fine month -- but I'll take our 2011 success any day. Here's a 2010-2011 comparison:
Our five biggest posts from March were:
- Paglia on Taylor: "A luscious, opulent, ripe fruit!"129,927
- Bringing up the rear 103,484
- I preached against homosexuality, but I was wrong 91,725
- Snapshots from a rock 'n' roll marriage 85,313
- What happens when computers stop shrinking? 78,608
But back to those slideshows. We love them. You love them. We do a fair amount of them. But we really try to make them worth your while (you won't see side-boob-only slideshows on Salon) and choose subjects that lend themselves to particularly effective slideshow treatment. Our TV guy, Matt Zoller Seitz, does this as well as anyone on the Web, with is Friday Night Seitz feature. These regularly get over 200,000 PVs, but I don't include slideshows in our big post counts. Why? Because there are multiple clicks on slideshows, whereas with most posts, there's only one -- it seems a little like comparing apples to oranges. But his slideshows are consistently marvelous, popular and he deserves a shoutout.
As does Justin Elliott, our NY-based War Room reporter, who manages to find fresh, illuminating ways into stories that packs of his fellow reporters are also chasing. In a big news month, Justin wrote urgent, essential stories about the post-Japan tsunami nuclear threat, and shrewdly raised critical questions about our war in Libya -- including the reluctance to call it a war, our arming of the Gadhafi army, and our history of blowback over there. That barely begins to capture what Justin pulled off in March. Dazzling.
On a sadder note, Francis Lam, our food impresario, has decided to leave Salon for an impressive-sounding new job over at the Gilt Groupe. We'll miss him dearly -- he's as lovely a guy as he is a writer, which for those of you who regularly read him know is tough to imagine.
Until next month!