Hello? Anybody? – A WordPress plugin

Businesses realised it in 1999. Bloggers realised it in 2004 - If you put something - anything - on the intraweb, gazillions of people will stream to it every day - drawn uncontrollably by some mystical intraweb force. This converts to MASSIVE ANNUAL SALES for business and MASSIVE INTERNET SUPERSTARDOM for bloggers.

helpful mailbox diagramThe logic is simple - there are currently 957,753,672 people using the Internet. At any one time at least 1% of those users have to be reading my blog don't they? That's 9,577,536.72 people reading my blog - RIGHT NOW!

Well that was the logic behind the dot com boom anyhoo. But dot-com-crash hardened bloggers are much more realistic. They look at their stats - Not 9 million, but, you know - still like, 3000 page views a day or something...

The Plugin

That's why this WordPress plugin I made seemed like such a dumb idea: For each person who visits your site - for EVERY PAGE they look at you receive an email notifiying you of their presence.

Dumb. But I did it anyway. And as expected - just seconds after activating the plugin, emails came trickling in. Not gushing. But trickling nicely.

Next up - start analysing the data - Let's see what people are looking at...

Request: /
User Agent: Googlebot/2.1 (+http://www.google.com/bot.html)

...This one's from googlebot... This one's from msnbot... This one's from googlebot... This one's from googlebot...

Ok. Stage two. Get rid of the bots and spiders.

The nice trickle has turned into a slow, slow, drip. And worst of all the drip shows peoples viewing habbits - and no one sticks around! They only look at one page, and are gone! How, after reading one of these captivating pieces, could you simply flit away like a butterfly with A.D.D? Or something.

What began as a simple experiment in plugin programming ended in a dissapointing realisation - I'm not going to make a million dollars from Google ads. At least it means I don't have to bother finding out how to get them though. I suppose.

Anyway, if you want to see how many people aren't reading your blog, here is the Hello? Anybody? plugin for WordPress (change the extenstion from .txt to .php after saving)

To install

  1. Upload helloAnybody.php to your /wp-content/plugins directory
  2. Go to the Plugins tab in the admin area
  3. Go to Plugin Editor and open "Hello? Anybody?"
  4. Add your email address to the $ha_mailHitTo variable (eg $ha_mailTo="mrspeaker@gmail.com";)
  5. Activate it on the Plugin tab

Advanced features!

  • If you don't want to get an email when you look at your own site, add your IP to the $ha_ignoredRemoteAddr variable
  • If you don't want to get an email from a particular user-agent (eg, googlebot) add them to the $ha_ignoredUserAgents variable

And there you have it...

This area was going to contain a nice concluding paragraph to tie it all up. But now that I know nobody is reading this stuff I don't have to! That's saved a bit of time.