Last night while staring at the logs I freaked out and wrote some Microsoft privacy invasion rant asking the readers what’s going on. They said it’s Weave, a WP7 app which we reviewed, an RSS reader. I had difficulty buying that because, at first, on the server side the forensics indicated this was web browser traffic and not an RSS client, also because its involvement went from zero to 76% of our Windows Phone hits which is extreme and, unless this was additional traffic, as in if the Weave developers were sending us a lot of traffic we weren’t getting because of maybe some table of contents browsing thing in the app or whatever, there’s no way David K got his WP7 cult to install it in droves. Had to be Microsoft triggering their phones to let them spy on you. Had to.

So you the audience and I went back and forth on this for a while and I said that I’d crunch the numbers to get to the bottom of this. I would have done it then but the thread was more interesting without the facts, otherwise what’s there to debate about other than whether or not I’m a journalist.

Without revealing our cards too much let me offer you the results because it’s crazy. Because the mobilizer stripped out Javascript none of these hits were showing up on Google Analytics so it flew under Smith’s radar. Fortunately I also pagetag using my own server to catch anything Google misses and did the math on A) all hits this month, B) all Windows Phone hits this month and all C) Windows Phone hits this month not involving Weave’s thing.

So, A) overall there’s been a noticeable increase, a little bit exponential, beginning on April 10th. Next, B) our Windows Phone overall, both with and without Weave, shot up on April 9th by six times what it was before. Six frickin’ times. By last night it doubled from that. So in the last six days our Windows Phone (relative to itself, not overall site traffic) blew up twelvefold, closing a good notch higher yesterday than the day before so it’s still climbing.

magnets2Woah.

That’s great, but are we getting more or less Windows Phone visits who are using the browser and not the Weave program became a good question, so I ran some more numbers to see what the vanilla non-Weave Windows Phone IEMobile traffic looked like over that time period, to see if our visitors were just installing the thing or if the program was getting popular elsewhere and, like I said, if the people behind it were somehow plugging our site and pumping us full of more of you Microsoft fanb… err Microsoft patrons and as a result helping us grow our base in getting some of those people, thanks in part to my great writing, to keep coming back with or without the Weave software.

Which leads us to C) and our non-Weave Windows Phone traffic since April 10th has not fallen. Instead, it has shot up threefold. Three frickin’ fold.

My conclusions: Weave is rapidly, really rapidly, becoming successful and not only that, because they appear to be in the content discovery game, a concierge for your Internet experience, their success is bleeding success juice onto us and presumably sites like us. In addition, this is not just wambam thank you ma’am traffic they’re sending us, they are clearly giving us visitors who remember the site’s boring, long domain name and come back for more without being guided directly to us by the Weave software, which means that’s sustained growth for us and also, even though their mobilizer probably strips out our regular banner ads (me, my adblocker strips them out), those newly loyal visitors Weave creates get to see wonderful ads Google carefully selected for them after painstakingly and meticulously spying on the world.

magnets3As much as I’d prefer the Weave team to have done their thing for Android instead of Windows Phone (the flames I deal with are hot enough as it is, my own Vietnam over here), that’s a beautiful thing, and what’s also beautiful is to see firsthand right in my raw logs a bona fide success story in the making of a developer on a young and budding platform. I’m not going to install Zune just to figure out who you guys are to thank you by name, but you know who you are – thanks. Thanks for plugging us heavily and for making what judging by the logs appears to be a quality piece of software and therefore a good contribution to the world. Though Microsoft may still be listening…

If there are any of you Windows Phone extremists who still haven’t tried the Weave software which is a rich RSS client I believe, go here I think and maybe report back on whether it’s legit, well coded or if the developer just knows how to promote. And to my loyal but often mute Android soldiers who now want a taste of the Weave, just stop right there, don’t get any ideas — stick to NewsRob.

Doug Simmons

8 COMMENTS

  1. Weave is by far the most used app on my WP7. Simple, smooth interface, great developer response and continued new features added, almost never any bugs. It’s quick to set up, and more importantly the quickest way I have to check the news and feeds I’m interested in at any moment. I won’t even hold it against em that they lowered their price after I spent my $3 – well worth it! Glad to see they’re expanding their base even more with an ad-based version.
    My favorite part though? Seeing Simmons write an article related to WP7 with a positive spin!

  2. I don’t know if it helps, but maybe it should be mentioned that Weave and the other RSS readers based on it (Windows Phone News) are using IE Mobile to display full articles.

  3. Yeah, this is all well and good except that you dont take any responsibility for the fact that your rant was lazy, irresponsible and stupid. And I do mean stupid, since you didn’t even bother to Google “weave-mobilzer” from the URL before declaring it a Microsoft service and decrying it for its privacy implications and bad design.

    So yeah, this article’s headline shouldn’t be, golly gee everyone were getting hits. It should be, “I am sorry and I was wrong.”

  4. Just another anti-Microsoft rant from a Microsoft hating idiot. You come to expect this from tech journalism nowadays. The vast majority of tech journalists are fanboys, and they all seem to hate Microsoft.

    As for Android, I used it for 9 months. It was a painful, awful, messy experience. So screw Android.

  5. By the way, don’t you just love how this a$$hat uses words like “cult” and “extremists” when talking about people who use WP7? What an idiot. A prime example of what I was talking about in my previous post.

  6. I did my research, including googling it, and nothing in that article is untrue, other than that I was unaware that some software developer was using Microsoft’s servers for their RSS reader. Looked up the domain’s owner, looked up all DNS records associated with the host, even portscanned it for the hell of it and tooled around with the server logs to try to figure out what was going on as it did not look like RSS traffic in that it was grabbing images outside of each individual RSS entry. On top of that, the user agent the client was reporting identified itself as the phone’s stock browser would:

    “Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 7.0; Windows Phone OS 7.0; Trident/3.1; IEMobile/7.0; HTC; HD7 T9292)”

    Wanted more information so I asked the readers (one of our categories, ask the readers, actually using you and the others as a resource) and they answered, then I dug through my own logs and wrote this follow-up which is good stuff.

    As for name calling, it’s in jest. Never purported to be a journalist, I’m a contributor in my own way. If you don’t like that way, maybe don’t read my articles if you’re unable to enjoy the other articles just because some headline you saw with my name underneath it incensed you, try WMPU where you’ll be among friends or ZDNet and MSNBC where they do think they’re journalists.

    I’ve got a question for you: What kind of asshat writes a$$hat? Are you protecting the eyes of the sensitive or young with the dollar signs? Do you think there is one person who visits this site or whom you’ve met whose innocence would be untainted because you obfuscated such language? Serious question, I’m intrigued by this reflex you and some others have, want to know why you do it, what you think is made better somehow by doing that. And the quotation marks, around words you said I use — why bother?

    The data goes through Microsoft’s servers asshole. It’s datamining now matter whose app engine it is. If you think that because the Weave people made an account on their system that Microsoft goes out of their way not to have access to data that could help their business, maybe you shouldn’t be so selective in the air of journalism and responsibility you perceive in someone’s writing and instead be more interested in whether or not you have anything to learn because that’s just a dumb assumption right there, even for someone who’s not technical. I’d be surprised if collecting such data with this service wasn’t toward the top of the list of reasons for them to go set it up when they were brainstorming this Azure setup.

    If this is what you’ve come to expect from tech journalism, why bitch like a little bitch? Multiple posts like that, pretty fired up there Joe.

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