Statistics are something I love. AWStats is my friend. We go out on Fridays and I buy it shots of Jack at the local tavern. Seriously though, statistics are something I generally love to look up and ponder…mainly because with statistics, time is a huge factor and in business time is money. So, if one can learn from past statistics to save oneself time and effort, business can benefit…which explains my interest.
I recently moved and during the move found a couple of old hard drives. Dusting off and installing one brought back some memories…it contained an install of SimplyMEPIS 2003.10, which was my second install of that particular OS. This got me thinking…I wondered what benefits MEPIS garnered from my old, defunct enthusiast site mepislinux.org? At the time and shortly thereafter, no benefits were clearly visible. In fact, with my somewhat loud depart from the MEPIS community, there were many claims that both my site and I did nothing for the distro.
With Google Trends, statistics are at my fingertips. Using this site, I’m able to look back in time and see if my old 12 page review did any good at all to help MEPIS along…I was very surprised to see that I was part of the highest surge MEPIS has made to date according to Google Trends.
First I needed to identify what I should search for. The term “simplymepis” comes to mind since it is the flagship offering aka coin phrase for MEPIS. However, this search didn’t yield as much data as one for MEPIS…although I did note that comparing the two trends shows that they mirror each other quite a bit. I finally settled on choosing the trend word “MEPIS”. Let’s take a look at the broad view for MEPIS, we can see four distinct surges (drops followed by immediate, quick recoveries). All of these surges happen in the last part of 2004 and the first part of 2005:
The largest surge is evident in 2004. Let’s take a look at this surge by narrowing our data to 2004 only (pictured below).
As you can see, the larest surge in 2004 happened in October. Indeed, the largest surge for MEPIS ever happened during this time. Coincidentally, my 12 page review of SimplyMEPIS came out on September 29th, 2004 and was picked up by various news websites the week following. I remember that this was the deciding moment for me to switch to a hosted platform…that review brought my apache box (running slackware) to a snails pace for about 3 days (although some quick tweaks and an apache restart helped things quite a bit).
Next up we see a rapid decline in searches for MEPIS after Oct-Nov 2004. It was during this time that I closed my site with a large, public send off. Reasons being the stifling of free speech in the MEPIS community when a forum member critiqued a business direction that MEPIS chose to go (My nick was TKS). The original announcement has been deleted from MEPIS.org but google cache still contains the announcement and the original front page comments from mepis.org (once again, I am TKS). The important part of this thread was the fact that I was defending someone’s right to comment, not the comments themselves. A day later, 6 November 2004, I closed my site forever. This means that the review had been in place one month, one week and had received 400k plus unique views. Not bad at all for a review. How did the trend look? Let’s see. Well, not a huge drop but a decline nonetheless.
So what does it all mean? Perhaps nothing. But it’s fun to ponder if my review which had over 400k unique views before the site closed actually helped propel MEPIS into the top 10…then again, it could just be coincidence right? Either way, as the webmaster of 2 PCLinuxOS support sites, a project leader for 2 projects in the PCLinuxOS community and a very active member of the PCLinuxOS community…I have to wonder where I’d have been had free speech never been stifled. I can imagine that I’d have remained very active, supportive, and perhaps a loud and unwavering voice for MEPIS. As for now, the trend has turned downward despite riding Ubuntu’s coat tails and life goes on. But it was fun to think about things past with my old friend MEPIS. I’m just glad I have only a positive trend in my horizon.