"Oh and by the way, we are racking up the comments here. We must be successful again. Those 2 million visitors aren't important, just the comments." [/sarcasm] — Henry Gómez, July 30
Of course, I was right. It was all about the comments. The Babalunians may claim that they are not in the least perturbed by the fact that Babalú's posts have garnered almost no comments lately. As we have pointed out, there have been times when their last 20 posts have barely managed to elicit 40 comments between them, with at least half receiving no comments at all. Since Babalu has between 2000-3000 daily visitors, how can one explain the paucity of comments? The Babalunians pretend that its all about the visitors not the comments. That's like saying that the number of visitors to a store matters more than the number of buyers. Of course, they know the truth even if they scoff at it.
For the last week they have desperately labored to find their way out of this slump. First they increased the number of daily posts, and, to their dismay, their increased activity was met by a proportional decrease in the activity of its commenters. That is, the few commenters they have were overwhelmed by so many posts and retreated in silence. Then they tried to be controversial by trotting out the tried and true subjects that had once been the most successful for them, such as the Estefans. A little interest was generated but nothing like the old days. Finally, they had no recourse but to do the unthinkable, that is, to resurrect the "The Wet Foot/Dry Foot" policy debate, which is a subject that is usually avoided at Babalu because Val & Henry's opinions on it are diametrically opposed to that of most Cubans; this is the reason also, as Henry has stated, that there will never be a BUCL campaign to condemn that policy. 95% of Cuban exiles may disapprove of it, but the majority opinion is inconsequential to them because Val & Henry adhere to the nativist branch of the Republican Party, which is really more like the headquarters than a branch of that party. Henry, in particular, as an avid supporter and admirer of Newt Gingrich and Fred Thompson, has an especially vehement disdain for immigrants, which mirrors that of another first-generation American — Tom Tancredo. And, like Tancredo, Henry is not in the least adverse to exploiting the issue for his own gain.
The entire "Wet Foot/Dry Foot" post where readers were challenged to guess Val's position on it (they could really have no doubt about Henry's position) was designed for the specific purpose of proving that my contention that Babalú is a ghost town was wrong. Henry and Val both kept stroking the fires day and night with incendiary comments which they later contended were rhetorical questions or instances of playing the devil's advocates. All that really remained for Val & Henry to do was to declare themselves fidelistas in order to rile up the masses, and for a time I even thought that they might not stop short of that. And, yet, despite their best (worst?) efforts to stir the masses into a frenzy, they barely managed to break 50 comments. That is now the Ultima Thule of any recent Babalú post.
It is true that Babalú will soon have entertained 2 million visitors, but they will not have entertained them for long. Having posted 5000 editorials on every imaginable subject concerning Cuba over the last 4 years (most quite worthless), Babalú is a magnet for google. Almost every query about Cuba brings up a result from Babalú. But when googlers visit their site, they instantly surmise that it is not what they want or need. In fact, the average time spent by these googlers at Babalu is "O" minutes, and yet their aborted visit is also counted on the sitemeter. Since Babalú gets 80 percent of its referrals from google and most of these fall into the category just described, the actual number of visitors who stayed is under 400,000 divided over four years. With under 100,000 real visitors per year, 8000 per month and 2000 per week, it is no surprise that Babalú can't find commenters in such a reduced pool. In fact, the number of commenters accurately reflects its real number of visitors (300 per day). So, yes, comments are a very real indicator of a blog's readership. In fact, the only real indicator. And the Babalunians know it. And they are very afraid. Nowhere is their panic better reflected than in their "Wet Foot/Dry Foot" post.
On a positive note, it was comforting to see how Marc R. Masferrer's consternation and indignation grew as Val & Henry made each successive sally at our balsero brothers. It may take another few years, but I think that eventually the editor of the Uncommon Sense blog will leave Val & Henry's Cuban-Haters Club.