Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Nine Million Giggles on Bhel Cunanan and Raul Lambino

Philippine Daily Inquirer's Bhel Cunanan, who writes the OpEd column Political Tidbits (far too many times every week for public sanity and credulity) is the reigning maven of Palace crony apologists in the elite ranks of the demagagosphere, and proves her lockhold on that dubious distinction in her Monday piece, Nine Million Hits for Sigaw Website from which this laughable claim --
"I dare say public awareness of the gargantuan expense in a two-chamber set up and the stifling gridlock have been the main reasons the parliamentary/unicameral idea has made enormous headway. Sigaw ng Bayan spokesperson Raul Lambino reports a phenomenal nine million visits to the Sigaw website (www.sigawngbayan.com) since its launch less than three weeks ago.

Lambino says cybertraffic to the site is so heavy that Sigaw has had to increase its Internet servers. It’s said that no other Philippine website can claim so many hits in such a short time involving a single issue. Nine million represents almost 20 percent of the total number of registered voters."

Do Tell, Madame Bhel.

But look at what Google just brought up for me as the number one hit of a simple search on the term "sigawngbayan" but this article from Sun Star Davao dated Monday April 17, 2006 in which we read that,
The Sigaw ng Bayan also pointed out that newly established website -- the sigawngbayan.com -- has been viewed by over 40,000 Internet users since the web page was first posted on April 8.

"The sigawngbayan.com is now the hottest website in the country," Lambino said.

"The 40,000 hits registered by the website since it was first posted last week reflects the public's immense interest in Charter change. From web surfers to street sweepers, the call for Charter change now echoes across all sectors of Philippine society," added Lambino.
Sun Star got "users" wrong because a visit to the website in question Sigaw ng Bayan will make it clear that we are talking about here are "site visits" or "hits", as both Raul Lambino and Bhel Cunanan claim. Also the relevant time period is April 8 to whenever Raul Lambino told Bhel Cunanan that their website had received "nine million hits" since they started it. That would have to be last Monday, April 24, 2006, at the latest since Ms. Cunanan's column was first posted at 00:33 am on April 25, but probably earlier since she still had to write and submit it after she got the information. So on the face of it, Sigaw ng Bayan is claimed to have garnered nine million votes in between 14 to 16 days! Not only that, from the Sun Star article, we hear Atty. Lambino claiming that as of April 17, they had garnered only 40,000 hits on their site. And today, according to their very strange site meter that updates only ever 12 hours, they had received 249,722 "site visits." Even this modest number means that in the second week of operation, Sigaw had gotten over five times the traffic that they had gotten in the first week of operation.

But if we were to copy the style of the Supreme Court and "construe" these emanations such that we believe the numerical claims of both characters, both Bhel Cunanan and Raul Lambino, then Sigaw must have gotten 40,000 hits in the first week and about 8,960,000 hits in the second week! Truly a magnificent and unique feat worthy of the biggest bloggers and websites in the world.

Heck Ms. Bhel and Atty. Raul, after this whole sordid chacha choo choo train meets up with its well-deserved upcoming train wreck you folks can go into the Urban Legend and Fairy Tale Creation business and sell nine million hits of whatever you all is smokin' to Google AdSense.

Ms. Cunanan and Atty. Lambino, are plainly and tragicomically trying to impress the public by slinging around technical terms and impressive numbers. But they are only exposing their ignorance to the savvy online community that feels nothing but disdain for such naive and puerile attempts to game and exploit the cachet and growing authority of the World Wide Web with false claims and risible arithmetic gimmicks. Here are some of the most disdainful in the Comment Thread of Manuel L. Quezon III's weblog yesterday.

Maybe Sigaw Ng Bayan has one of those sitemeters that counts every visit as 66 visits. By the way, the Advocacy Commission's Atty. Romela Bengzon, is another Chacha rahrah girl with some magic numbers. This lady claims to have assisted in the delivery of seminars to all 20,000,000 of the claimed signatories to the People's Initiative. But I shall have to tackle that other set of fairy tales for adults another time...

Someone should write a letter to the editor or the PDI Ombudsman or something to tell them about this bit of self-deprecation that they just made a quarter of a million copies of, courtesy of Bhel Cunanan. (Or is that number made up too?)

A letter to the editor -- how deliciously QUAINT in this day and age!

For the cognoscenti, there are a number of other interesting ways to probe the Sigaw ng Bayan website to convince yourself that the extravagant traffic claims being made for it are truly counterfeit. For example, try Google Advanced Search for "related" websites to www.sigawngbayan.com. You will discover that ZERO websites in the world consider themselves related to this 9 million hits in 2 weeks website. Also there no websites that "link" to this website except itself, according to Google Advanced Search. Finally, even a Touchgraph plot of the site yields a single solitary dot in outer cyberspace. Mute but eloquent testimony to how low, how pissing-in-the-wind low the People's Initiative has gone.

The other dead giveaway is the dead site meter or counter itself. What website administrator would use a sitemeter that only updates its displayed result every twelve hours? Anyone with 9 million hits in about two weeks would be running a couple of live site meters to show how much traffic it's getting. The only reason to run a dead sitemeter is so that nosey visitors can't observe how much the meter increments every time you "hit" or visit the site.

But it is intellectually dishonest and probably violates the Code of Professional Ethics for Journalists that the PDI still posts daily on its website, for Bhel Cunanan to make such an implausible claim, even if she stuffs it in Raul Lambino's mouth. There has to be a kind of truth-telling, even in opinion columns, don't you think?

UPDATE: (26 apr 2006 1700) Although a scrolling marquee at the Sigaw ng Bayan website claims that its contents are updated every twelve hours, there has been no apparent change for the last 24 hours. In particular the sitemeter claims it has been visited 249,722 times since April 8. But it did not increase at all during this period. There appears to be another website called Philippine Gazette that is linked to by Sigaw. But that site looks identical, thematically and in other telling ways, to Sigaw ng Bayan, as if the same web design service provider got two contracts to do both websites. There are many photographs on both these sites that reveal the principals of the People Initiative, including Atty. Raul Lambino, Atty. Romela Bengzon of the Advocacy Commission for Chacha, and two or three others (at most). From browsing the various pages (and archiving it at Philippine Commentrary) on the Sigaw website, one gets many clues and hints of DILG and other government involvement in the whole fol-de-rol.

25 comments:

HILLBLOGGER said...

But Dean, Bhel Cunanan is all opinion and no column...she doesn't know when to draw or to toe the line (not surprising really... she was like that even as a military wife!)

Bernardo F. Ronquillo said...

I am surprised to hear that some people still read Bhel Cunanan. You are right Hillblogger. I only read Conrad & Randy at PDI myself.

Cunanan is behind the times and shows her ignorance by that column when she said that nine million hits (we know that is impossible)is 20 per cent of our voters. Wrong! Site visitors are not all Filipinos, much less voters. And a single visitor do visit a site not once, not twice, but a lot of times. So the most one can perhaps grant is 90,000 visitors and that is being too generous.

Juan said...

How is Bhel Cunanan related to Alex Magno? Aren't they so insync with each other; and so out of sync with simple reality?

ricelander said...

I like reading Belinda Olivares-Cunanan for her cunanantic opinions. Good for laughs. Also gives you an idea how low some people would go down and the extent they are willing to ridicule themselves for reasons that, I surmise, should be compensating enough.

Rizalist said...

CUNANANTIC! What a gem Ricelander.

You know, I get even madder when they start to fool around with the laws of mathematics and physics.

Fool with that foolish Constitution, but don't you dare fool with Mother Nature! I say.

Dominique said...

Indeed, that should go into the dictionary, along with Imeldific.

cunanantic, n. - a senseless, often ridiculous, act of blind support that goes through all forms of logical contortions to deny the obvious; cunanantics, pl.; also, adj.

Corsarius said...

haha! "do tell, madame bhel" indeed, rizalist. great commentary. i can't believe they just got it all wrong. simple ignorance on their part, or simple deception? hm...

Rizalist said...

ah Corsarius, haven't seen you for a while...must be nice to be a certain age in a certain millieu...so many intriguing personae, so lil time to get to know 'em all! ah, the slipp'ry pen is mightier than...

john marzan said...

off topic, but if bel olivarez cunanan and ninez cacho olivarez were to fight in a boxing match, who do you think would win?

Rizalist said...

john,
your question requires an act of imagination and visualization that I shudder to undertake...it just wouldn't be right to do so!

HILLBLOGGER said...

Hi Dean,

I read your posts in my blog re MT Pangilinan.

A batchmate of hers also left a message. I sure hope she starts a blog - will be great to listen to the ideas of the very young, people who are starting to make a difference in that stodgy nation of ours.

Am also pleased that there are lawyers ready to defend her in case this dimwit Gonzales goes ahead with his intimidation.

By the way, re: "john, your question requires an act of imagination and visualization that I shudder to undertake...it just wouldn't be right to do so!" I have a question:

Why don't you want to go through such undertaking?

I don't know how old Ninez is but Bhel is in her mid-60s - should still be capable of giving an upper cut. Heheh!

HILLBLOGGER said...

Btw, Dean,

I was wondering how PDI could have allowed Cunanan's cunanantic (I like that adjective), preposterous claim of 9 million hits without proper verification - it was not as if the claim was buried deeply in her article, t'was a glaring, can't miss kind of column title.

Even to the not so comp tech savvy people (like me) but who read, Cunanan's claim smacks of INTOX - that's what we say in French for news claims that aren't true.

I really, really can't stand that social climbing, ass-licking, pseudo intellectual of a PDI writer.

Rizalist said...

hb,
partly it must be because the Web has not been considered a "serious" medium for news and opinion. So any outrageous claims about the net are "allowed" because few have any way of verifying or falsifying such claims. Even the PDI's editors wrote a "serious" editorial in which they palmed off well known WEb legends and hoaxes as "facts" (eg a Filipino named Flores invented the fluorescent lamp!) and it wasn't April 1 either.

But that is slowly changing. Even the New York Times has realized their Website is gonna take over the printed paper real soon!

Lord Dracula said...

Cunanan and Lambino are either Web-illiterate, or they think they could hoodwink their readers. They think all Pinoys are stupid enough to believe their propaganda.

But now people are talking about the issue, maybe it was a well-planned bait. That's why I refuse to take an issue out of this. Now, people will be curious and will look at that Web site, adding more to the site meter.

The issue that we should have focused on are the PIA advertisements on major dailies last Sunday. Not only they are misleading, they are such a waste of money. The data stated in those ads should be disputed. This administration will drown us with phony statistics, to enforce in our minds that the "destabilizers" are wrong.

Dominique said...

Hi, DJB: I've taken you up on your offer of a letter to the editor. I shot it off to Inquirer this morning. I've posted it on my blog.

baycas said...

lord, i most certainly agree.

who reads bel anyway? the pia ads were catchy…anybody could have read them, even the gullibles!

now, the 9M guffaws is talk of the town too!

Rizalist said...

Lord Dracula--Look at the biggest Leftwing and the biggest Rightwing sites in the US Blogosphere. Then look at a top blogger like Andrew Sullivan (who, in many ways was among the first to cross over from the Main Stream Media and got blogging going)--you will see he links to all the best and the biggest sites.

Why?

Because a lot of people in the Filipino blogosphere don't understand this:

NO BLOG IS AN ISLAND!

They are are idolaters of Page Rank, when the reality is, the AGE of your blog is still the best indicator of what your page rank will be, all things being equal. Only a tiny tiny percentage of sites ever get "9 million hits" in two weeks. And most of them are large commercial blogs where NO SINGLE PAGE ever gets all the visitors, even the home pages being just jump offs to where they really wanna go.

People in the Filipino blogosphere don't understand SCALE FREE NETWORKS and the POWER LAW DISTRIBUTION of web popularity, which is identical to the distribution of wealth (gap between the rich and the pooor)

But someone locally, I think it's Sassy Lawyer, has unwittingly spread these myths around about how blogs grow and what web popularity and AUTHORITY really mean. They read a couple of blogs about "link-baiting" and such -- it's all a false kind of vanity based on misapprehension of network dynamics.

NO I don't think it was "well-planned bait" because what really is important about a website is not the quantity of the traffic, but the quality of it, how long the visitors stay, and what they come away with. How the site affects the real world is more impt than some site counter.

Don't worry, visiting the sigaw ng bayan site and publicizing will test the MEMES that that site embodies. If people who visit it find those memes worthy of occupying their brains, NOT LINKING to the site won't keep it down.

The gravity, the magnetism of a site is in the ideas that are in it. Look at all those weblogs that main stream media newspapers happen to link to. They all get high page ranks, naturally. But do they have high traffic consistently?

We should not treat site traffic the be all and end all either, unless we know what the composition of that traffic is, and what they do on the site.

I just laugh sometimes. And cry.

HILLBLOGGER said...

Hi Dean, hi Everybody,

I believe the quality of a blogsite is primordial.

The contents are what draw me to a blog and not the volume of hits or whatever followed by the vivacity of the thread, the lively and excellent exchanges - they are my sitemeter.

What I like in Dean's site is that he says things that are extremely relevant. They make a reader think. One comes out of his blog not only learning something new but they actually stimulate a person's grey cells towards reflection.

I'm still a blog/web ignoramus but I sure know how to read a blog's contents. Is it worth my time? Is it relevant? To me, the worth or quality of the blog are the real indicators of its being a web authority.

I enjoy bloghopping (great way to roam the world you get a variety of opinion on one issue) and like most of those that I visit but I am choosy so would regularly patronize some more than others.

Dean's blog is on top of my favorites 4 others of in the US plus a couple of British and two other French based.

Have fun folks. I won't be visiting you guys here for a week coz am off visiting Czech Republic and Slovakia for the next 9 days.

Rizalist said...

hillblogger,
hope you will post about your travels, as you know people in the archipelago, including me, know next to nothing about what used to be called Eastern Europe. Do they even still call it that?

the jester-in-exile said...

to my mind, site traffic is useful primarily to advertisers, in the same way they look at ratings to broadcast media, and circulation on print media.

the true value of a blog (and by context, of the blogger) can be measured (albeit subjectively) by

1. how much information it imparts to its visitors
2. the relevance of such information for its visitors
3. the ability of such information to stimulate critical thinking and commentary (whatever the topic or theme the blog may have -- technology, politics, art, urban living, and what have you)
4. the creation of a space for discussion, debate, conflict and resolution stemming from the outcome of critical thinking (hyde park rant melded with the town hall meeting, quite possibly)
5. the resulting debate fostering a further hunger for information, truth, action, and values

1 through 5 may seem cyclic, but one must add a sixth, in order for a blog to be truly relevant:

6. what the reader takes from the blog becomes part of his offline (i.e., real, day-to-day) life

of course, a blogger can try to be irrelevant by blogging for himself as his sole audience. unfortunately for such bloggers, in a world of more than 5 billion and with more and more getting wired in every day, no doubt he will have a following sooner or later.

i believe that blogging is the last remaining means of communication that is free of constraints (save internet access), and is becoming the primary means of getting up-close-and-personal with the audience (sort of like a digital one-on-one conversation). bloggers therefore have a choice -- they can (wittingly or unwittingly) build something up or (wittingly or unwittingly) tear something down.

sorry about the long comment -- i just wanted to tell you how i look at that issue.

Rizalist said...

jester,
there's no limit on comment length around here. It's all free from Papa Google and Mama Blogger.

But don't get me wrong about traffic! I would be a hypocrite if I said I wouldn't want 9 million hits a day myself. hehe. But it better not be Raul Lambino's staff over-exercising their forefingers clicking on mice or a clever webmaster who has a programmable counter. It's quite possible they don't even have a a real site counter. and are making it all up as they go.

I'll take nine thoughtful regulars over 9 million who stay for half a second and click out because they really didn't find what they were looking for on the search engine that sent them.

Also, I guess since even those with ads on their sites made about $12 from Google Adsense over the last year (according to several at the FEAC conference last week) we certainly don't write our blogs for the commercial value. i.e., better not quit our day jobs!

Mike Abundo said...

Excuse me, I gotta go "increase my Internet servers".

Rizalist said...

Haha! welcome mike abundo. (Now if your photo is meant to impress, i must inform the rest of the comment thread that you've been using that same one for a few years running now...)

Amadeo said...

Regarding the worth and effectiveness of blogs, this is what I can add based on my regular peregrinations of the blogosphere, particularly in the US setting.

Based on how popular, how often they are linked to, the credibility assigned to their opinions, and other such standards, I do not really see how at the present time, when we know that this blogosphere is still in constant flux, we can know what the magic formula (or –lae) to use to assure gaining stature and prominence.

Some very prominent blogs do not even allow comments, two such prime examples are Powerline and Michelle Malkin, both decidedly conservative sites. Some are essentially blogs that do round-ups of other blogs that the blog-owner has kept close to his vest and then some. Such would be the likes of Instapundit (Glenn Reynolds) and Real Clear Politics. Reynolds does opinionate in other venues and other blogs. Now, MeMerandom is almost like a different animal. What it does is rate the hot-button issues of the day, based on certain standards such as how often written by blogs, arranges them and enumerates the blogs who have dealt on the subject. The entries are updated as the issues come.

Now DailyKos is a joint effort and thus overhauls everybody else in the blogosphere in terms of visits/hits, etc. Members can create their own blogs within the main blog called diaries, and commentaries are practically unrestricted. It is almost confusing trying to navigate through the many mazes within this blog.

But consider this little ironic twist. Reynolds’ book, Army of Davids, sells a lot better than hits-king Markos of Daily Kos’ book, Crashing the Gate. The latter could only muster so far sales of less than 5,000 copies.

So one asks how does popularity, whether reckoned in hits or visits, translate to patronage?

ellen said...

Dean, I like your description of Bel Cunanan- "the reigning maven of Palace crony apologists in the elite ranks of the demagagosphere."