Image by jfl
Ionarts was launched on this day in 2003, in an era when one had to explain what a blog was when you said you were writing one. The Age of the Blog (2005-2008, R.I.P.) has come and gone since. Most of the blogs we enjoyed reading every day are now defunct or intermittent, and these days we usually describe Ionarts as an online magazine.
In the last ten years, we have published 5,950 articles, at the rate of at least one per day and often more than that. On those articles we have published over 4,624 comments -- and that is only since 2005, when we switched comment systems -- some insipid, others brilliant, some congratulatory, some cursing me and my family (yes, literally placing a hex -- oh, boy, do we get letters). Most of our articles are read by all or most of our hardy regulars, but some blow up and become Internet sensations. Why this happens has nothing to do with quality or interest and everything to do with the all-powerful connections made by search engines. I know editors at reputable publications who make more and more content decisions on the basis of this kind of data, which I think is just stupid -- business-smart, perhaps (by a stretch), but stupid.
What are the most-read articles in the ten-year history of Ionarts? I did some data mining to find out, and it turns out that a few articles have been read in vast numbers, mostly because of an image or topic that makes it big in the algorithms of search engines. If we were to tailor what we write about only to what is most popular -- the list on the left below has the ten most often accessed articles, with the lowest at around 8,000 individual hits -- we would have a rather different site. To give a better idea of what this site is about, Jens and I have both chosen ten articles we have particularly enjoyed -- one from each year in the existence of Ionarts -- as a way to look back.
At the same time, we also recognize all of the guest contributors who have each placed a brick in the structure you see around you, all without any remuneration: Mark Barry, Michael Lodico, Robert R. Reilly, Todd Babcock, Noah Mlotek, Sophia Vastek, Janet Peachey, Richard Rice, George Pieler, Rachel Conrad, Karren Alenier, Anne Marie McMahon, Richard Fitzgerald, and likely others I am missing. Thanks also to the whole gang here at Ionarts Central -- Mrs. Ionarts, Miss Ionarts, and Master Ionarts -- all of whom have put up with and even shared my obsessions over the last ten years.
And, finally, thanks to all of you for reading!