July 29, 2004

Where is Sullivan's Explanation or Denial?
— Ace

Andrew Sullivan has been called a flat-out liar as regards his claims of "increasing bandwidth costs" which necessitate another round of $100,000-plus blegging.

He also claimed that these higher costs were due, partly, to his increasing traffic. But according to Alexa's blog-rankings Sullivan's audience isn't growing:

Right Wing News also finds that Sullivan's traffic is, much like Spinal Tap's appeal, becoming "increasingly selective":

Feb: 1410869
Mar: 1250342
Apr: 1205536
May: 1233008
Jun: 1103882
Jul (incomplete): 833502

Now, he wasn't just called a liar by me. Since I've been tough on him, I could see him ignoring me.

But he's been called a liar (let's just say that's my own take on their charges) by Michelle Malkin, Spoons, and Wunderkinder, among others.

He's been called a liar. If it's not true, why doesn't he rebut the charge? Why doesn't he explain precisely how it's come to be that bandwidth is costing him more than any person on the planet?

Instead, he's choosing to ignore the charges entirely, much like Hillary Clinton. I suppose if you caught him on the street and asked about it, he'd give a Hillary style "a ha ha ha, how ridiculous" fake laugh.

A charge has been levelled, and it is entirely within Sullivan's power to disprove it, if it's not true. Evidence that he's lying has been offered; it remains at this point entirely unrebutted (and in fact entirely unaddressed).

This constitutes a tacit admission of dishonesty. It is simply not credible that he somehow missed Michelle Malkin's post (she's a power-player), or John Hawkins' (no slouch himself), or that he's just too "above" disproving a serious charge made against him on some sort of "I'm beneath that" principle.

I also seem to have missed Instapundit rushing to Sullivan's defense. If big bloggers really require such costly bandwidth, Insta-man would know.

Nevertheless, to be fair to Sullivan, I think we should email him (andrewmsullivan@aol.com) queries about his extraodinarily pricey bandwidth, and see what he might say about it. Those of you particularly concerned about Sullivan's dire financial predicament might want to send him along URL's from which he can purchase much cheaper bandwidth.

Seems to me that that would be an in-kind sort of donation that he would greatly appreciate, since you'd be saving him about $100K. Saving $100K is just as good as making it. I think it might even be fair to write "DONATION" in the subject line of such an email.

Thanks to Allah for pointing me towards Hawkins' take-down on Sullivan's claims of increasing traffic.

And Just to Clarify, Again: I've got no beef with Sullivan for trolling for donations. I'm about to execute a hoagie over donations, personally.

It's the dishonesty of the appeal that I object to. His traffic isn't rising, his bandwidth costs aren't rising, and furthermore they're fairly small costs in any event. It is dishonest for him to claim that these costs are coming out of his own pocket when he last made $120,000 in a pledge drive. He might want more money -- which I can understand -- but it's a lie to frame this as some sort of "need" in order to pay the basic costs of his shoestring operation.

PS: Please send me money. As you are aware, the costs of producing semi-colons have risen in recent months, due to increased fuel costs and labor interruptions in Malaysia (the world's largest semi-colon-exporting nations).

Now look. I try to provide a good site for my readers. And I try to provide the best, most accurate punctuation possible. But with semi-colons now costing more than ever, I'm afraid that unless I'm able to shake you folks down for additional cash I'm going to have stop using semi-colons entirely, perhaps replacing them with the amatuerish short-dash ("-": the Pabst Blue Ribbon of punctuation) or maybe some low-quality "factory irregular" ampersands that look like a cross between a percent-symbol and a testicle.

You want this site to continue with the same high-quality and varied punctuation you've come to expect? Then fork over the greenbacks. Right now I'm paying for my semi-colons out of my own pocket, and that's just not American.

Posted by: Ace at 09:24 AM | Comments (27)
Post contains 705 words, total size 5 kb.

1 John Hawkins did a little digging and came up with these traffic numbers for Sully:

Feb: 1410869
Mar: 1250342
Apr: 1205536
May: 1233008
Jun: 1103882
Jul: 833502


Posted by: Allah at July 29, 2004 09:30 AM (EeR5C)

2 Hillary's fake laugh always reminds me of Barney Rubble.

Posted by: zetetic at July 29, 2004 09:38 AM (Y7NDU)

3 Actually, if I remember correctly from last years pledge drive, he was justifying the expense by hiring a "staff" person to sort through all his emails and to keep the site running (Geeze, his site looks like crap and he's paying someone to do it). I know that he posted about it last time, but he doesn't archive his site, so I can't prove it.

Anyway, we should ask him if he ever hired that person and how much he is paying them. In other words, how much pledge money is this rat bastard pocketing so he can go to Provincetown?

Posted by: doug at July 29, 2004 10:04 AM (V7z56)

4 Also, I find it ridiculous that anyone needs a "staff" to run a blog.

Posted by: doug at July 29, 2004 10:06 AM (V7z56)

5 Maybe he needs a staff to attend to his "staff". I mean I am sure you are aware that young massage boys do not come cheap. I assume that he needs said massages to relieve the stress from his blogging. Seeing how I was a solider until just recently I want people to send me "buttloads" of money, and why you may ask. Because I say so ")

Posted by: Cowtipper at July 29, 2004 10:16 AM (9oHQ+)

6 Is the sandwich execution gonna show up on a website somewhere? What are ya using? Rusty scimitar?

Heh, Cowtipper. Funny.

Posted by: rick at July 29, 2004 10:38 AM (oA/Vb)

7 Rick,

If the threat of terrorist violence weren't so real at the moment, it might be funny to videotape the sandwich in such a hostage situation, perhaps reading a prepared statement.

Alas, some things just aren't funny right now.

Posted by: ace at July 29, 2004 10:42 AM (iog7U)

8 Related but OT -- have you been following Sully's breakdown this week? It's nothing less than spectacular. Never mind the brainless gushing over Clinton and Carter -- as of today he seems to be propagating the "Bush stole 2000 with the courts' help" meme.

I've seen that mentioned on Vodkapundit and elsewhere, but what I haven't seen mentioned is his bizarre paranoid reaction to the iconography on DemsExtremeMakeover.com. Said iconography is one of the pictures of Kerry and Edwards canoodling in what seems to be the precursor to a soul kiss. The decision to use this picture -- absent ANY text or captioning -- has been described as ol' Glutes as "gay-baiting." Unbelievable.

Oh, and no mention of the devastating video the website in question plays host to. Sully has gone way beyond parody in a few short weeks.

Posted by: Il Padrino at July 29, 2004 10:43 AM (76mbh)

9 I've been skimming. I didn't notice the stolen-election thing. I'll find that.

Posted by: ace at July 29, 2004 10:44 AM (iog7U)

10 Okay, I can't find it. Can you point it out to me?

Posted by: ace at July 29, 2004 10:48 AM (iog7U)

11 Sure:

QUOTE OF THE DAY: "As few as five people in black robes can look at a particular issue and determine for the rest of us, insinuate for the rest of us that they are speaking as the majority will. They are not." - Rep. John Hostettler, the Republican who authored the bill that would strip federal courts of the right to consider the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act. But, of course, it could also be said about the five Supreme Court Justices who made George W. Bush the president of the United States. The Republicans love courts when they reach the right decision; they just despise them when they don't.

And the gay-baiting post:

GOP GAY-BAITING: Check out the top right-hand picture of Edwards and Kerry on this Republican site, challenging the Democratic convention. They make it look as if Edwards and Kerry are about to lip-lock. This has been a mild tactic so far, but it's getting blatant. And it's another indication that gay-baiting is now a central plank of the GOP.

The site in question is, as I mentioned, demsextrememakeover.com.

Posted by: Il Padrino at July 29, 2004 10:51 AM (76mbh)

12 Well, you could have Paul Anka threaten Johnny Coldcuts. "You're on fucking notice, Johnny."

BTW, if you think semicolons are expensive, you should be aware that missing a period can be very costly, up to $250,000 or so...

Posted by: Joan of Argghh! at July 29, 2004 10:52 AM (v5daR)

13 I've been hearing quite a bit about this precious, precious bandwidth, and I decided I'd do some detective work:

If you run a WHOIS on andrewsullivan.com, you find that it's being hosted at an ISP called West21 Systems (west21.com). After going over to their website, I try to find where the pricing is.

Shared Hosting:
Level 1: 25MB, 3 GB/month (averages 100 MB/day) - $24.95

Level 2: 75MB, 9 GB/month (averages 300 MB/day) - $39.95

Level 3: 250MB, 25 GB/month (averages 833 MB/day) - $99.95

Level 4: 500MB, 55 GB/month (averages 1.83 GB/day) - $149.95

Level 5: 1,000MB(1 GB), 100 GB/month (averages 3.33 GB/day) - $224.95

Now, personally, I think this is a little highly priced for service. Still, maybe this is a friend of Andrew's and he's wanting to help support the business. Fine, whatever. Let's say that Andrew's got Level 5 service, and let's assume a fee of $20/GB for every GB over his transfer limit. If he receives 125 GB of traffic:

$225 + ($20 * 25)
= $225 + $500
= $725 / month
= $8700 / year

Now, if this is an accurate assessment, he's _still_ making a lot of money from his fundraising. However, he should realize that he's getting screwed over. If he decided to have a colo'ed server (which he'd have to manage) from the same hosting provider, it'd be $800/month for 160GB transfer.

[By contrast, instapundit.com is hosted by hostingmatters.com. The _smallest_ dedicated server they have has 300GB for $179.95/month (approx. $2160/year), and the provider would be responsible for managing it.]

Posted by: Jonny Catbird at July 29, 2004 11:33 AM (sBIVx)

14 Not in defense of his begging, but merely a point of fact:

The fact that his total traffic, or site "visits", has been decreasing does not prove or disprove whether or not his bandwidth has increased or decreased, as the two are not entirely related.

Two sites having the EXACT same number of visits can have totally DIFFERENT bandwidth usage, as a bandwidth usage is an aggregate total of the amount of data transferred from the server on each site visit.

So, in effect, a more graphic intensive site that has a lot of pictures and graphics on it's main page that have to be transferred with every site "visit" will use more bandwidth than a site with little or no graphics that need to be transferred on each visit.

Also, I don't know about sitemeter and their tracking method, but typically site "visits" does not take into account "total page views". Each site "visit" can generate a number of "page views" as visitors browse the site. This will also cause bandwidth usage to rise.

Again, this is not to defend him, only to point out that his number of visits declining is not "proof positive" that his bandwidth usage has seen a corresponding decline.

/Turning off annoying professor mode.

Posted by: The Fog at July 29, 2004 11:38 AM (BXF6V)

15 Fog,

I quote Sullivan directly:

"The good news is that our traffic keeps going up. The bad news is that our bandwidth costs have also risen, and although I was hoping to go a full year without asking for more support, the site needs some extra cash to keep going at least until the election. "

His traffic is not going up. I'm not guessing that he means to say that his traffic is going up; that's what the man is claiming.

It's not.

Now, there's a very minor point wrt to that page-visits-per-visitor thing, but there's no reason to imagine that his page views have been going up while his readership has been going down. In any event, I doubt very much it would have changed that much.

People are going to visit a site, on average, somewhere between 1.3 and 2.0 times per visitor.

And, btw, he's not even a frequent updater, like instapundit. He usually does a big dump of posts in the p.m.

Posted by: ace at July 29, 2004 11:46 AM (iog7U)

16 ace,

"between an ampersand and a testicle"

which testicle is tht, the one that hangs too low?

please, don't actually tell me, you'll start sounding like sullivan

Posted by: hobgoblin at July 29, 2004 11:49 AM (2da3S)

17 I wasn't arguing with your assesment that he is exaggerating his "needs", Ace. In fact, I agree with you completely that he is just pandering for money (at the web-hosting company that I work for he could have an account for 199.95/month that includes 10 GB of disk space and 500 GB of bandwidth...all that for $199.95), So, either he is the dumbest fucker on earth and getting bent over roughly - something he might be keen on - or he is lying and using the money for other things.

I was only pointing out that his site traffic does not equate directly into bandwidth usage, so his declining visits are not the "smoking gun" you were looking for.

Either way - sully is full of it.

Posted by: The Fog at July 29, 2004 11:59 AM (BXF6V)

18 But Fog, I'm not saying his declining traffic is evidence that he's lying about his bandwidth needs.

I'm saying his declining traffic is evidence that he's lying about his claims about increasing traffic.

He says his traffic is increasing. It is not. I don't know how you can get more on-point than that.

Posted by: ace at July 29, 2004 12:04 PM (iog7U)

19 Not tryin' to bust your balls or anything, Ace. Just trying to point out that a sites bandwidth usage CAN increase despite declining "visits" (I am not saying it is likely or anything...just saying it IS possible).

Sullivans claim about "increasing traffic" could just be his lack of knowledge in regards to the differences between hits, visits, sessions, pageviews, etc. and that his PERCEPTION is that his "traffic" has increased is a result of increasing bandwidth usage (not saying that is what it is...just saying it COULD be).

Once again, I feel that I must emphasize that I DO agree with you on the basic point of your post; that there is no fucking way he could have blown $120,000 on bandwidth usage in one year. That's just ridiculous.

I was just playing "annoying professor with a small bone to pick"...but trust me...I haven't "missed the forest for the trees". I understand the point you are making AND agree with you.

Posted by: The Fog at July 29, 2004 12:15 PM (BXF6V)

20 "And, the Anal-Retentive Award for the most pointless, dragged-out, if-not-missing-the-point-then-what-the-f*ck-are-you-gassing-on-for goes to: Mr. Fog!!"

Posted by: Joan of Argghh! at July 29, 2004 02:22 PM (9XQFH)

21 Oooh, oooh, let me try to be a witty little bitch:

"And the Sycophant Award for the most annoying, kiss-ass, suck-up, if-you-really-wanted-to-suck-Ace's-nuts-all-you-had-to-do-was-ask-so-why-the-f*ck-are-are-being-a-b!tch goes to: Joan of Argghh!!"

That's actually pretty damn easy as far schtick goes, but a little jeuvenile, don't you think?

Posted by: The Fog at July 29, 2004 05:22 PM (FNVwt)

22 Ahem, a "hoagie" is NOT a sandwich, rather the antithesis. A sandwich CAN be eaten, hoagies MUST be executed. Every hoagie executed in the history of the universe has been within a 41.8 mile radius of HOG ISLAND.Although I understand there are several overnight delivery smuggling operations for the nostalgic who have left the radius.Outside of this radius, hoagies do not exist!I only mention this because,uh, who the fuck and his bandwith(?) is so inconsequential relative to the importance of the hoagie and the HOG ISLAND radius, both historically and for our futures and also to offer proof of how easy it is to insult an asshole. I was insulted by the relative ease with which sandwich was substituted for hoagie, almost as if the Earl himself was laying claim to something that was not his.

Posted by: Mr. Bad Example at July 29, 2004 08:57 PM (JbRSA)

23 OK. I apologize for trying to point out the fallacy in the argument. I will never again try to point out when someone is confusing "Cause and Effect" and "Ignoring a Common Cause". From now on, I will let you guys build your straw man arguments in blissful ignorance.

Posted by: The Fog at July 30, 2004 04:11 AM (6/7pD)

24 Juvenile? Yes. But, I save my sharper wit for better prey. However, since you need something more highbrow, how about Shakespeare?

[Fogberry] ost thou not suspect my post? Dost thou not suspect my years? O that Ace were here to write me down an ass! but, bloggers, remember that I am an ass; though it be not written down, yet forget not that I am an ass. No, thou villainess, thou art full of piety, as shall be proved upon thee by good witness. I am a web-wise fellow; and, which is more, an gear head; and, which is more, a I.M.'er; and, which is more, as pretty a piece of flesh as any in the Blogosphere; and one that knows SiteMeter, go to; and a technical fellow enough, go to; and a fellow that hath had hair losses; and one that hath two I-pods, and everything geeky about him. O that I had been writ down an ass!

Posted by: Joan of Argghh! at August 01, 2004 12:36 PM (9XQFH)

25 Uh, shouldn't that be Dogberry?

Posted by: zetetic at August 01, 2004 01:02 PM (Wg+KD)

26 Zetetic: that post was for The Fog, hence Fogberry. Don't you start being tedious too! Don't make me stop this car!!


Posted by: Joan of Argghh! at August 01, 2004 01:14 PM (9XQFH)

27 Oops, my bad. Well, in my defense, I try to gloss over the trolls whenever possible.

Posted by: zetetic at August 01, 2004 01:23 PM (Wg+KD)

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