The Readership of the e-Disclosure Information Project

I have just been asked to give some statistics for readership of my blog and, having done the research, I might as well summarise it here. It happened to be quite a good day to ask – there were 436 page views that day (Monday), my second-highest daily hit rate, and 432 today.

Although I am obviously interested in knowing how many people take the trouble to read what I write, mere numbers are not a particular ambition. I am more interested in being thought of as authoritative and interesting to those who actually want to know about the subject, not to attract numbers for their own sake. My aim is to make sure that anyone who is interested in the subject of e-Disclosure / eDiscovery will come across my sites either directly or by reference from elsewhere. I am perfectly happy with 5,000 to 7,000 page views per month on a narrow subject, but it is not what I “sell”. I value the anecdotal evidence that people notice what I write ahead of the bare statistics.

Let us take the actual statistics first. The graph below shows page views since August 2007. They settled at around the 5,000 mark in September, October and November 2009; numbers were down, inevitably, for December (the same is true of the summer holidays) and then shot up to over 7000 in January and a little less in February.

Blog posts graph to end February 2010

The high hit rate recently is attributable to a combination of LegalTech, UK interest in Lord Justice Jackson’s Report on Litigation Costs, and my focus on EU-US data collection issues. That increase of visitors presumably includes some new ones who will now come back.

The bulk of my readership comes from the UK and US – of the last 500 visitors, 38.6% came from the UK and 36.8% from the US. That total of 75% is more or less constant, although the share between US and UK visitors fluctuates. 12% is divided between Canada, Australia, Hong Kong and Singapore. December’s Gartner Report on litigation software predicted both a sharp rise in total take-up and an increasing proportion of non-US buying. The 25% of my readership which comes from neither the US nor the UK is likely to be of increasing importance.

I have to say that I did not begin with such global ambitions. If that had been the plan, the vehicle for it would have been called the eDiscovery Information Project. I think it likely, in fact, that those who decided in their wisdom to give the UK’s discovery process the name “Disclosure” might have thought twice about doing so if they had realised how quickly discovery would be seen as a shared global problem. Nor is it just the problem which is shared – those of us who get involved in trying to improve the court rules share information and ideas, and watch closely to see developments in other jurisdictions in the hope of identifying what works and what does not work. Similarly, many of the software solutions are global, with the same companies and applications in use in countries around the world.

I spend the equivalent of about a month of each year abroad, mainly in the US. Whilst the primary motive for these visits is to speak, I go also to find out what is happening in other jurisdictions, which in turn influences what I write about.

The next iteration of my web site will include, in due course, a section on comparative jurisdictions, pointing to rules and other resources. The web site has been a relatively inert resource (although attracting 664 page views in February on top of the 6846 page views on the blog). The aim is to make it a wider resource of standing information to supplement the regular additions to the blog. Another idea is to build an index to those blog posts which have longer term value (as opposed to those with material whose primary focus is in news or other short-life subjects).

For the most part, I write for the longer term as well as for today. I am not much interested, frankly, in breathless requests to regurgitate press releases, partly because any fool can do that, but mainly because it will turn audiences away, both those who are regular readers and those who chance upon my site. I take the view, as do those who are kind enough to sponsor the e-Disclosure Information Project, that the take-up of electronic tools for handling electronic data will follow more from considered commentary on what the applications do and what they are for than on being just another place where people can shout about the merits of their own particular products.

I take this opportunity, as I often do, to thank those who sponsor what I do – their logos appear beside this page. That allows me the research and writing time, but it also permits me to spend time on, for example, the drafting of the proposed UK Practice Direction and Questionnaire which, more than anything, has the potential to change the way courts and lawyers approach this subject. It also allows me to speak at conferences and other events — anything, really, which serves as a platform to get the messages out.

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