Open Left and MyDD, One Year Later

I love me some traffic charts. -Patrick

This week marks the one-year anniversary for Open Left, a spinoff of the original netroots blog, MyDD. As far as I can tell, the date was not observed on the site itself, but then Chris Bowers, Matt Stoller and the rest are busy running a political website. My own blogging though (typically at Blog P.I.) is pretty much just about political websites, so I thought it would be interesting to compare Open Left with MyDD, and see how the two sites have fared in the year since they went in different directions. Via Compete:

Open Left and MyDD site traffic comparison via

Here's how I'm reading this:

Open Left had a strong first two months, rising quickly to match the long-running MyDD in overall traffic. Yet MyDD's traffic was only slightly affected, if at all. How could this be? Naturally, site traffic isn't a zero sum game, and it's probable that a reader of one is a reader of both. But it took Open Left some time to pick up readers, while I've long been of the belief that as long as MyDD adequately covers its subject matter, campaign and Democratic Hill staffers will never remove it from their bookmarks.

Then MyDD achieved some separation in the late fall, which initially I'd attribute to growing interest in the presidential contest. One of the main reasons Bowers and Stoller left was to focus on the progressive movement writ large, rather than the horse race -- so it is understandable that it would not be the go-to site in the heat of the primaries. And then starting in December, MyDD really began to take off. While some of this is probably attributable to still more interest in the nominating contest, I'd wager the sharp spike owes to site founder Jerome Armstrong (along with Bowers/Stoller replacement Todd Beeton) taking the site in a strong pro-Clinton direction. This distinguished itself from most lefty blogs, which ranged from avidly pro-Obama to mildly pro-Obama (as I've discussed before, Open Left was at best tepidly pro-Obama).

Odd then, that interest peaked in late January/early February, as the nominating contest was only just getting under way. Open Left suffered a drop in traffic around this time as well, suggesting a broader trend. Traffic slowing just when things got interesting? Maybe it is more interesting to the outside observer, where the same thing is frustrating to partisans who expected to have a nominee. And then as Obama inched closer to the nomination, the interest of Clinton supporters remained flat, while the leftosphere overall turned to matters of organization rather than elections. This part, I concede is the most speculative; I admit to being a little baffled by this section of the chart.

And now? Well, the last month shows another slip in traffic for both, with MyDD staying slightly ahead. I wouldn't be surprised if this continued for another month. August is slow in politics, even in election years, and even in the blogosphere. But it seems clear that despite being an expansion team, Open Left is in the same league as MyDD. Then again, it seems no matter how big you get, there's always someone bigger than you:

Firedoglake, bigger than MyDD and Open Left, via


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