Pornhub Is Milking Its Own Traffic Data for All It’s Worth

The Citizen's Guide to the Future
Jan. 10 2014 6:29 PM

How Pornhub Milks Its Own Traffic Data

The Washington Post’s Andrea Peterson reports that traffic to Pornhub spiked on January 7 and 8, at the height of this week’s polar vortex. How does the Washington Post know this? Because Pornhub reported it on its “Pornhub Insights” blog, and included the following handy chart:

Pornhub traffic during polar vortex

It’s a cute little stat, but it’s not exactly shocking that NSFW sites would get more traffic on days when people are forced to stay home from work.

Will Oremus Will Oremus

Will Oremus is Slate's senior technology writer.

Advertisement

What’s fascinating to me is how Pornhub has succeeded in parlaying its own traffic stats into an ongoing orgy of mainstream publicity. A Google News search for “Pornhub” (which I’d highly recommend over an actual Google search for “Pornhub,” especially if you’re at work) turns up a steady stream of articles and blog posts about who’s watching porn when, where, why, and for how long. A quick sampling:

Past “Pornhub Insights” press releases have analyzed the effects on porn viewership of everything from the government shutdown to the Stanley Cup Final to the death of Osama bin Laden. (Here are a bunch more if you’re into that kind of thing.)

Not only do these stories give the site free publicity, I’d imagine they go some way toward legitimizing it in the minds of readers by making them feel less perverted for all the time they spend on there. For journalists, meanwhile, they offer a racy headline, easy page views, and the chance to toss off a few onanistic double-entendres. I, of course, would never stoop to such cheap tricks.

It would please me to say that I’ve single-handedly exposed this journalistic circle jerk, but in fact my Google News search revealed that I’m not the first to plumb this territory: Digiday’s Jack Marshall had a post on the marketing genius of Pornhub Insights a couple of weeks ago. Anyway, now that I’ve discharged my duties as a media critic, here are some more fun stats provided to me by the helping hands on Pornhub’s PR team. (I figured this post deserved a happy ending.)

Pornhub hourly visits
Pornhub traffic peaks around midnight.

Image courtesy of Pornhub

Pornhub trafic by month
January is the porn site's hottest month.

Image courtesy of Pornhub

Future Tense is a partnership of SlateNew America, and Arizona State University.

TODAY IN SLATE

Sports Nut

Grandmaster Clash

One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.

The Extraordinary Amicus Brief That Attempts to Explain the Wu-Tang Clan to the Supreme Court Justices

Amazon Is Officially a Gadget Company. Here Are Its Six New Devices.

Do the Celebrities Whose Nude Photos Were Stolen Have a Case Against Apple?

The NFL Explains How It Sees “the Role of the Female”

Future Tense

Amazon Is Now a Gadget Company

Food

How to Order Chinese Food

First, stop thinking of it as “Chinese food.”

Scotland Is Inspiring Secessionists Across America

The Country Where Women Aren’t Allowed to Work Once They’re 36 Weeks’ Pregnant

The XX Factor
Sept. 18 2014 11:40 AM The Country Where Women Aren’t Allowed to Work Once They’re 36 Weeks’ Pregnant
Moneybox
Sept. 17 2014 5:10 PM The Most Awkward Scenario in Which a Man Can Hold a Door for a Woman
  News & Politics
The World
Sept. 18 2014 1:34 PM Americans Fault Obama for Giving Them Exactly the Anti-ISIS Strategy They Want
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 18 2014 2:18 PM The NFL Is Not a Nonprofit So why does it get to act like one?
  Life
Doonan
Sept. 18 2014 2:00 PM On the Death of My Homophobic Dog I named him Liberace, but I couldn’t have chosen a less appropriate namesake for this coarse, emotionally withholding Norwich terrier.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 18 2014 12:03 PM The NFL Opines on “the Role of the Female”
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Sept. 18 2014 1:23 PM “It’s Not Everyday That You Can Beat the World Champion” An exclusive interview with chess grandmaster Fabiano Caruana.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 18 2014 2:32 PM Kern Your Enthusiasm: The Friendliness of Chicago
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 18 2014 1:24 PM Can the Celebrities Whose Photos Were Stolen Really Sue Apple? It may be harder to prove “harm” than it seems.
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 18 2014 7:30 AM Red and Green Ghosts Haunt the Stormy Night
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.