Yesterday, December 1, 2009, a day which will live, in history, was the day that usgovernmentspending.com reached its first million page views.
It was March 23, 2007 when the site first went live, and in 5 days it had its biggest day ever, 3,353 visits, after a boosting by Andrew Sullivan on The Atlantic blog.
Since then, usgovernmentspending.com has grown to become the world's leading government spending website, with over 1.000 visits a day. There is really else nothing out there that gives you:
- 200 years of federal spending
- 100 years of state and local spending
- 200 years of GDP (thanks to measuringworth,com)
- 200 years of federal debt
- 16 years of state and local spending for individual states
- Charts, charts, charts
- Downloads, briefings, and more
The reason that usgovernmentspending.com is so popular is simple. Google puts it up at the top of its rankings on literally dozens of search phrases. For instance, it appears at #1on Google's search results for the following searches (and many more): "us government spending" and "government spending as a percentage of gdp" and "government spending 2009" and "government spending breakdown".
And let's not forget usgovernmentspending.com's sister sites: usgovernmentrevenue.com and ukpublicspending.co.uk. They are no slouches either.
The interesting thing is that, even though usgovernmentspending.com merely regurgitates official government statistics, it outperforms the sites where the official statistics are published.
The reason is not too difficult to figure out. Usgovernmentspending.com is all about getting the data out and presenting it in the most convenient and appealing way possible. It's not just the numbers, it's the charts, it's the links, it's the briefings, it's everything.
How high can usgovernmentspending.com go? Well, it doesn't have celebrity gossip and it doesn't have beautiful babes, so there is a limit.
But here is an interesting factoid. Last year, in 2008, usgovernmentspending.com naturally had a surge of traffic in the weeks before the election. The interest peaked about a week after the election at 500 visits per day, and by New Year's, traffic was down by 80 percent to 100 visits per day.
Not this year. Traffic hit 1,000 visits per day in early November, and continued up. After an understandable stall over Thanksgiving it is still going up. No sign of a decline for Christmas shopping and holiday cheer. Not yet.
Could it be that this year Americans are passionately interested in the workings and the expense of their government as never before, and that next year they intend to do something about it?
Only time will tell.