What does “number of reads” mean?

To calculate how many times our m-novels are read we look at the number of page views of the last chapter (assumption: if a reader is on the last chapter of a story then he or she has read all previous chapters). Every time someone loads the last chapter, the page view count is incremented. A problem here is that if a user leaves a comment, then she will go the last chapter (page view+1), post her comment, and then see the last chapter reloaded (page view+1 again). So she is racking up two page views, but would’ve most likely only read the chapter once. Clicking “Back” can also reload a page that probably isn’t being read, again pushing up the page view count.

To mitigate against this we reduce the page views by a factor to arrive at an estimated figure for number of genuine reads. Since September 2009 that factor has been one third, meaning that if the last chapter had 3,000 page views then we say that it has been read 2,000 times. The one third factor stemmed from Kontax 1, where we had 94,185 page views of chapter 1 in it’s first month of publication, but only 63,310 subscribers had added Kontax as a MXit contact. (For more on this see the report by Dr Marion Walton titled Mobile literacies & South African teens: Leisure reading, writing, and MXit chatting for teens in Langa and Guguletu). Today, on Yoza, there are more subscribers than page views on most chapters (the opposite situation to Kontax 1). Furthermore, the number of comments posted on a chapter is vastly below the number of page views for that chapter (usually the number of comments is about 3% the number of page views on a chapter — and that’s for the most commented on chapters). This means that the number of non-reading page view increments due to users posting comments is very low. Lastly, the Yoza interface is also better than with Kontax, meaning fewer Back clicks are needed.

Given this shift, our page view reduction factor is changing from 33% to 10%, which is probably still higher than it should be (but rather be safe than sorry!) So, from now on when we say the number of reads of a particular story was 9,000, it means that the page view count of the last chapter was 10,000. The new reduction factor can be applied to all Yoza statistics since it launched on 22 August 2010.

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