October 31st, 2008 Headsman
Somehow, it’s been a year since we launched last Halloween.
On this ghastly occasion, it’s time to do a little turn on the scaffold and review the highest points among the lowest of the dead.
No shock, they skew heavily towards the earlier posts that have had the most time to accumulate views (although that’s somewhat mitigated by the fact that nobody was reading last November), topped off by the runaway #1, the post that scored an Andrew Sullivan link.
Breaking it down by month …
Interestingly, there’s a heavy disproportion in both those lists towards executions in the past two centuries as opposed to earlier ones — even execution celebrities like Joan of Arc and Guy Fawkes get relatively short shrift.
My Creepy Visitor: You
But enough about me. Let’s talk about you for a while.
First, let’s get on the table what we all know to be true: I write a blog about death. You visit a blog about death. We’re all creeps here.
But still, geez … the stats tell no lies about what you’re looking for when you get here.
Most Popular Category Searches
|Broken on the wheel|
|Drawn and quartered|
Where do your meatspace selves hang your hats? We recorded 188 countries and territories paying their respects, led by …
Most Frequent Visitors
The U.S.A. is the only country among those with a present-day death penalty of its own. If you aspire to become future content for this site, get out and see the world. (One word: Singapore.)
This blog is oddly compelling to Finns, whose bounce rate — the percentage of visitors who leave without clicking another link in the site — is barely over 50%, by far the lowest of any country with more than a handful of visitors. (The site average is in the mid-sixties.) On the opposite end of the spectrum, Executed Today is shallow and pedantic to the Vietnamese, who leave town without exploring 85% of the time.
No visits at all were recorded from any of the following:
And, probably a number of island nations too small to appear on the Google Analytics maps overlay.
How did you find this site?
About 45% of visitors come from searches.
“Executed Today” is the most popular search term for this blog, and “executedtoday.com” is also in the top 10. Leaving those aside, people were redirected to this chamber of horrors when ever-so-innocently pursuing information about …
|broken on the wheel|
|lois nadean smith|
Searches for specifically named individual executed women as opposed to individual men are noticeably disproportionate drivers of traffic.
Another 40% or so come from referral links, led by Google Images (which are really searches, and would push search up to about 50%).
The remainder come from directly looking up the site by, e.g., typing it straight into the search bar.
Executed Today got a full month’s worth of its posts from guest authors, who also happened to write some of the best content on the site. Hey, you get tired swinging this big, heavy axe every day. Respect for wonderful guest turns from:
February 28, 2002: Monty Allen Delk, in a Three-Pronted Failure
February 17, 2004: Cameron Willigham, for an accidental fire?
January 24, 1992: Ricky Ray Rector, “a date which ought to live in infamy for the Democratic Party”
September 18, 1589: Dietrich Flade, for leniency towards evildoers
September 4, 1638: Three (of four) English colonists for murdering a Native American
May 20, 1820: Karl Ludwig Sand, a curious strand of German history
May 15, 1916: Jesse Washington lynched after conviction
March 22, 1796: Mastro Titta’s first execution of many
March 12, 1289: Demetre II the Self-Sacrificer
March 15, 1938: Seventeen former Bolshevik officials from the Trial of the 21
February 20, 1939: Georgy Nikolayevich Kosenko (aka Kislov), NKVD spy
April 23, 1945: Albrecht Haushofer, German Resistance intellectual
March 27, 2001: Robert Lee Massie, who spent a lifetime dying
October 23, c. 525: Feast Day of Boethius
March 10, 1302: Dante Alighieri condemned
March 7, 203: Perpetua, the earliest Christian woman whose writings survive
January 20, 287: Feast Day of St. Sebastian
Similarly, several posts were improved with expert interviews, so thanks to the wisdom imparted by wiser heads than mine in these posts:
September 10, 1977: Hamida Djandoubi, Madame Guillotine’s last kiss
August 9, 1993: Mohamed Mustafa Tabet, serial rapist with a badge
February 21, 1803: Edward Marcus Despard, a patriot without a nation
December 27, 1739: Penelope Kenny and Sarah Simpson, for concealing pregnancies
December 11, 1962: Arthur Lucas and Ronald Turpin, Canada’s last to die
The Year’s Highlights
Just weeks after ranking Chadian dictator Idriss Deby among the current heads of state in most danger of eventual execution, rebels nearly seized his capital with him still in it.
I Only Did It For Attention
(IE users having problems with the site now — I know, I know; I’m working on it. Also: use Firefox.)
These are dopey things, but sincere gestures of appreciation are coin of the realm to bloggers. (That, and Google ad clicks. Lots of Google ad clicks.) Being reckoned eighth-freakiest was also a nice one, since I didn’t make any effort to push the award after an initial ask, but the votes to keep Executed Today in the top ten kept coming organically. (Can I be freakier still in the year ahead? You decide.)
There have been too, too many friends, linkers and well-wishers to hope to name them all. In addition to — but overlapping with — the fabulous passel of guest bloggers, a few among the many to whom I owe a debt (I reserve the right to extend this list as appalling omissions become obvious):
Erudite historical crime blogger Laura James of CLEWS
Tireless crimebloggers Trench Reynolds and Lilo Verbrechen, and the Coalition of Crime Bloggers
Jeremy Young and Dmitri Minaev, to both of whom I owe writing.
Melisende of Women Of History, for guest content, tips, timely links, and general aid and comfort; and, Lara at Tudor History for the same less guest content (but I’m leaning on her)
I Should Be Working
Kind of the whole universe of history bloggers — the types who post to things like this — for welcome, friendship, and help.
The quirky BigManBr.com.br
All my readers and commenters — especially the many who have gone out of their way to send me tips, feedback and constructive criticism; and the (gratifyingly many) who have linked me in their own blogs.
The friends and family I neglect while I write this thing. They’re real good sports about it.
The year’s lowlights
My original, terrible host.
Regularly, randomly down for seconds or minutes or (a couple times) hours, and when I showed disinclination to quintuple my user fee, they made the downage permanent without warning on the preposterous grounds that a few hundred page views a day were monopolizing multiple web servers. Yeah, the old “CPU usage” canard, just one of many ways that LunarPages sucks.
They have yet to document my actually violating any terms of service or exceeding any usage standards — for that matter, they’ve never documented CPU usage — and naturally they’ve kept the rest of the service fee I paid in advance. Now that they dropped a daisy cutter on my site and forced me out, they’re very graciously keeping my account open for me until it expires. Nice.
The company is a scam, and not hyperbolically: it’s literally the core of their business model to perform negotiation-by-hostage-taking.
As for this site, it would likely been down for several days had not Logjamming fixed my cable. They’re a brilliant host with $5 and $10 packages and smart support. Just a couple weeks after this forced transition, an unexpected A-list link served up the site’s biggest traffic surge, several times anything LunarPages had ever seen. Logjamming didn’t bat an eye.
Really, I can’t endorse Logjamming strongly enough.
But the infernal deserts due LunarPages would confound Dante himself.
The Digital Oubliette (the phrase is not mine; see here)
I probably should have planned to archive locally more of the video embeds I’ve used — there’s been a lot of great supplementary content eaten by the Internet. Many outbound links will probably follow a slower but ultimately similar path of decay.
Also on this date
- Seven-Out: Executed Today's Seventh Annual Report
- 1814: Private John McMillan, deserter
- Six Years Under: Executed Today's Sixth Annual Report
- 1698: The last Streltsy executed in October
- Executed Today's Fifth Annual Report: Hang Five
- 1907: Evstolia Ragozinnikova
- Executed Today's Fourth Annual Report: Wrung, Wan and Quartered
- 1893: Bertha Zillmann, completely prostrate
Entry Filed under: Administrative Messages