Mr Speaker

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 (+

...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="";)
  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.


  1. Nobody: I am a nobody! I was never here. I didn’t read any articles. And I didn’t enjoy them…

    helloAnybody: Aha! You are here, I see you.

    Nobody: Dang I have been discovered! Am I still a nobody?

    Thursday, October 13, 2005 at 11:17 pm | Permalink
  2. The obvious question still is… why?? Why email!!! Don’t you get enough spam as it is? I hate to break it to ya, folks have been doing this using stats reports for years.

    (I figure I can be as unconstructive as I please as nobody is reading this…)

    Keep fighting the good fight against purpose.

    Friday, October 14, 2005 at 9:51 am | Permalink
  3. Yeah, but… I read it… *sob*

    Besides… that’s what I’m talkin’ about – I check my stats alot – and that made me think people were here! But it’s all bullderdang I tell you! I’ve found I get about 300 real, non-bot page views a day. My stats says 4000! And the stats are too general – unless you read the raw log files.

    I’ve learnt heaps about what people look at here – like your post for example: At 9.45 am, using Thunderbird, you got the article via the rss feed from the site. Then, 2 minutes later, you clicked on the link to open it in Firefox (version 1.07 – good work). 3 minutes later, at 9.51 am, you were done with your harsh comments. And then you were gone. Not to return. It also says you were listening to Chris De Burg and you forgot to put the rubbish out last night.

    I never could have found that out from my stats.

    Also, I filter the hits into a folder, and mark them as “read” automatically. And usually just scan them for interesting stuff and delete them all. I’ll be de-activating it over the weekend for sure though.

    The other cool thing, that isn’t reported in the admin section of my site, is the full request – I only get “” but now I get this huge string that shows me exactly where they came from, so I can go have a look.

    Though it doesn’t explain to me why there so many people in Germany searching for “Big Bum”

    Friday, October 14, 2005 at 10:06 am | Permalink
  4. I’m too lazy to put that piece of code on my site, so I’m just going to put some text (perhaps accompanied by a rainbow animated gif) on it asking people to email me themselves after they’ve looked at my site. I’m sure they’ll be happy to let me know what platform/browser/Chris De Burg album they were listening to at the time.

    Personally, Cutting Crew’s “I just died in your arms” is my favourite soundtrack to the Mr Speaker site. That is when I’m actually looking at it, which is never.

    Saturday, October 15, 2005 at 10:29 am | Permalink
  5. Maybe people are offended by how much of a nerd you are.
    I wouldn’t stick around if I wasn’t in need of a hot geek injection….

    Monday, December 19, 2005 at 12:28 pm | Permalink
  6. put this link on your site “click here for chicks”, you will note that this link is heavily trafficked. The internet is a large front for pr0n :)

    Monday, January 9, 2006 at 7:09 pm | Permalink
  7. I would never have thought about installing this plugin weren’t it for your delightful post. I’m going to set up an email specifically for this function and download it when I get home.
    GoogleAnalytics works great, but this sounds fun.


    Tuesday, January 10, 2006 at 10:00 am | Permalink
  8. actually –

    i’ve installed this plugin and i’m thoroughly enjoying the emails coming through each time someone visits my site.
    It tells me exactly where they’ve come from and what they do afterwards — people come from the most obscure places!

    This is really fun for someone like me who doesn’t have a heap of traffic and really wants to know exactly who is visiting.


    Wednesday, January 11, 2006 at 4:31 pm | Permalink
  9. Dear Mr Speaker!

    This is certainly one of those rare WP plugins and presented in a beautifully calm albeit saddish voice.

    Good reading ( if not on the statistics ;) !

    Monday, February 6, 2006 at 7:37 am | Permalink
  10. Wouldn’t it be perfect if this script could only send a global Email once a day ? This would be fantastic.
    Personnaly, I found this script very usefull. For eg. when I developp a new website, I can be aware if my client is visits the site.

    Monday, April 2, 2007 at 8:48 pm | Permalink
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