RPG Communities Traffic Compared

Did you know that you can see an estimate of any Web site’s traffic, gathered by Alexa (a subsidiary of amazon.com)?  It’s just an estimate from people that have the Alexa toolbar installed, but that’s “millions” of users and it’s generally considered valid.  I thought I’d run some of our favorite RPG communities through Alexa and see what happened!

Unfortunately, you can’t put JavaScript into WordPress so I can’t paste the pretty graph.  But you can do it yourself and verify my findings.  I thought I’d put in rpg.net, enworld.org, paizo.com, therpgsite.com, rpglife.com, wizards.com, rpgbloggers.com,and some others.  The numbers are in “percent of daily reach,” which means what percent of the internet goes there on a given day.  For comparison, wordpress.com is 3%.  (The #1, Google, is 30%).  A fraction of 1% isn’t bad – the company I work for makes tens of millions of dollars a month through its Web site and its reach is listed as .0065% (about 2 million visits per month).  The results are interesting…

1.  All of the RPG sites’ traffic has been dropping off badly.  From July to September, the leader, wizards.com, had its estimated daily reach drop steadily from .06% to .025%.  Other sites had drops too, on average all of them are off nearly 50% in 3 months!  Why is this, especially during convention season?  Perhaps it’s reflective that all the releases from gaming companies and all the news from the cons seems to be board game crap and not RPGs.

2.  Rankings!

  • Wizards was #1 by far, as expected, with 0.261%.  If they could deliver on something digital and monetize it they might be cooking with gas :-P
  • rpg.net is solidly in #2, with .0044%.
  • sjgames.com in there at .0023%!  Pyramid still keeping the GURPS crowd strong.  Woot!
  • paizo.com and enworld.org are tied at .0018%.  In fact, ENWorld used to be way above Paizo, but Paizo has been holding steady and not losing traffic (well, only 11%, which is the best of any of these) and has now crossed over to be on top.  Indicative of Pathfinder being better than 4e?  I’ll say yes!
  • White Wolf has had the worst losses.  It was as high as .01 3 months ago and has dropped off to be just below Paizo and ENWorld.  What’s up guys?
  • privateerpress.com in at .00092%, with only 36% loss over the last 3 mos.
  • d20srd.org, at .00088%!  Those boys need to get some ad revenue going!
  • alderac.com (AEG) still at .00067% despite a 57% 3 month loss.  They’re barely RPG publishers any more but I thought I’d list them.
  • peginc.com – Pinnacle Entertainment, the Savage Worlds guys, .00062%
  • palladiumbooks.com – Rifts still holding strong, at .00062% as well.

Below this, at traffic ranks below 100,000, Alexa says samples are low enough you can’t guarantee reliability.  But, it’ll show ya numbers anyway – and I see:

  • rpgnow.com – sales are proceeding ok on this front, they’re only down 19% to .00046%.  drivethrugames (well, drivethrustuff, which it redirects to) is the same guys but I’ve never really had it clearly stated what the difference is, but shows at .00032%, so if you add them up they move  up three spots in the list.
  • atlas-games.com – .00044%.  Come on guys, publish some RPG stuff again.  I loved Feng Shui, the Penumbra stuff…  Not too hot on the Ars Magica but I’ve gotten one from time to time.  Board games and “regalia” – non!
  • mongoosepublishing.com – .00037%, with only a 22% loss.  If their editing was better maybe they’d bump up some.  (hint, hint)
  • edenstudios.net – still at .00037%, though I hear a lot less out of them nowadays than I used to.
  • therpgsite.com – .00023% (half of them from Germany, oddly, which adds to my theory that RPGPundit is an escaped Nazi clone hiding in Uruguay).
  • kenzerco.com – .00023%
  • flamesrising.com – .0002%, ties with dungeonmastering.com.
  • indie-rpgs.com – .00019% (the FORGE, I’m sure RPGPundit will cackle at his site beating theirs)
  • rpgbloggers.com – .00016%, everyone’s favorite new blog aggregator
  • obsidianportal.com – .00015%, added per user request below
  • indiepressrevolution.com – traffic here’s down the usual 50% to .00014%.
  • greenronin.com – .00011%, although they fragment their domains – mutantsandmasterminds.com is another .00005% and true20.com adds .00003%.  So really it’s up there tied with the FORGE.
  • rpglife.com – .000044% – I had never heard of these guys, a new blog aggregator/community site, until a recent “free PDFs to join us” promotion, I went and looked and it claimed millions of hits or users or something from the sites it was merging to make itself, but the posts are either crap or crazies (can’t find the post now, but someone suing Wizards and the Williams over some lame ezine).  I vote for rpgbloggers.com to kill them and take their stuff.  Sorry guys.  Their tech seems better though.
  • pelgranepress.com – .00004%.  GUMSHOE making a showing!
  • margaretweis.com – .00004%.  I would have hoped these licensed properties (Serenity, BSG) would be doing better.
  • goodmangames.com – .00002%
  • trolllord.com – .00002%, off 68% in 3 months!
  • evilhat.com – fell off.  Sad for Spirit of the Century!

My hint to the RPG publishers – start publishing some RPGs again!  The drop in interest is obviously due to no one putting out any new gaming stuff anytime recently.

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16 responses to “RPG Communities Traffic Compared

  1. You didn’t hear about RPGLife because it’s a newly created network… I think it went online just a few days ago…

  2. Stick Obsidian Portal in there too. We get a decent amount of traffic, but we’ve got some die-hard fans…

  3. @vampir – yeah, there was some claim about it just being a rebranding of some existing communities too though. I admit I’m unclear on the whole deal.

  4. Hey .000002% is good for a website we started just a few weeks ago! :)

  5. And with my blog sitting at 0.0003% for the last 3 months (http://www.alexa.com/data/details/traffic_details/chattydm.net) I’m impressed to see how it stacks against wha I used to consider bigger fish like RPGsite and The Forge!

    Wow.

  6. By the way, rpgblogger.com is a parked domain, and not the right site.

    rpgbloggers.com (the right domain) has
    0.00016% over the last week
    0.000083% over 3 months, which is hasn’t been around for.

    So we’re doing much better than stated here.

  7. Hell, my site (criticalanklebites.com) even has 0.000019% (10x that of rpgblogger.com)

    And there is no way that I’m 10x more than the rpgbloggers network.

  8. @ve4grm – ooo, I’ll correct that stat. and the rpgbloggers network is only a couple weeks old, it’s entirely likely you may still be beating it…

    @Chatty – exactly. I think we make a lot of assumptions of how popular Web sites (and games) really are, and it’s interesting to see what real data has to say about it! Gratz.

    If any of you want to compare your actual hit numbers, either here or with other people on the list privately, it would be interesting to see how accurate the Alexa stats are, relatively, down in our low-hit ghettos :-)

  9. my site also has low.

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  12. The RPGLife site has been out since at least August 30, because that is when I recieved a comment from James Mathe (the guy behind RPGLife), asking me to write or share content with it.

    I responded to his post here where some of the minds behind RPGBloggers responded as well as Mathe.

  13. @madbrewlabs – yeah, it may be an unfair first impression thing, but the first time I went to rpglife the posts were a mix of incoherent junk and some psycho talking about how he’s suing Skip Williams, his wife, and Wizards over calling him a “high jacker” or something. And the site itself making some millions of users brag about the things it was bringing together. I can’t find any of these posts now, whether that’s because the search isn’t good or because they’re gone or what I’m not sure, but it really left a bad taste in my mouth. It does appear they are going to aggressively solicit material from certain good people, but I worry about the default membership of the community. I considered also adding my feed there but decided not to, or at least to wait and see.

    On the one hand, RPGlife has lots of “technology” – forums, this that and the other. On the other hand, there wasn’t, for example, any explanation of forum moderation etc., which as we all know is one of the biggest divisive gripes about all the existing forums out there. And, it’s down right now.

  14. Hey, thanks for thinking of us! To clear up a few facts. We promoted moving our 200,000 monthly userbase from forums at RPGHost.com, community3e.com and some other of our sites to the new RPGLife.com – but that isn’t fully done yet as we’re not forcing people to move at this time. RPGHost.com is way down too as pertains to this article. So is my RPGShop.com store :( Why? Not sure, I like to say the economy but that’s not going to explain why people are just not browsing

    Anyway, when we contacted madbrewlabs we were still not open to the public. I think we’ve been open to the public 2 weeks now and it takes time to build a community. Everyone gets “oddballs” like you pointed out… but have a look at all the exclusive articles we have generated so far (we have some 50 content contributors now): http://www.rpglife.com/directory

    I hope people will continue to check in from time to time. For the record I own half of RPGNow/DTRPG. I also moved the private ePublishers forum to RPGLife which means there are a lot of publishers visiting the site for freelancers to solicit.

  15. @James – good points all. I’ll make sure and check in later on. Thanks, a little bit of explanation’s helpful.

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