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One Million Page Views

For the first time, ScienceBasedMedicine.org has reached a million page views in a month, thanks to a surge in social media buzz. We’ve come close before, but finally pushed comfortably past that major milestone earlier this week. As of today, SBM served 1,051,943 pages to 649,315 visitors in the last thirty days. These are mainstream-scale numbers: SBM is now competing effectively with many popular websites about not-so-science-based medicine.

Dr. Evil: “One MILLION visits.”

What articles are attracting so much attention? The traffic surge is powered by several popular recent posts, but mostly two of Dr. Gorski’s, about the Food Babe and John Oliver skewering Dr. Oz. Dr. Novella’s Food Fears post isn’t far behind. Other respectable slices of the traffic pie chart include Dr. Hall’s perpetually popular Isagenix post, and Scott Gavura’s coffee enema post — which also happen to be the two busiest SBM pages of all time, with Aspartame — Truth vs Fiction in third place.

graph of one million pageviews

SBM’s inaugural post was on January 1, 2008. Unfortunately, we have no traffic data until the middle of 2013. Since then, we’ve seen a doubling in average monthly traffic. It’s been a team effort, of course, but Facebook and Twitter have been huge factors in that steady growth. Bobby Hannum manages those accounts for us, and somehow manages to post and tweet for us almost every single day while going to medical school. If you haven’t already, please like and follow.

Next stop: a million views per week…

~ Paul Ingraham, Assistant Editor

Posted in: Announcements

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47 thoughts on “One Million Page Views

  1. @GeekPharm says:

    Congrats to you all on a great achievement! This blog has been of innumerable worth to me as I’ve transitioned from naive CAM “shruggie” to vocal proponent of science-based medicine (I used to even comment under the ‘nym The Dave). I hope that I’ve been instrumental in helping you reach this milestone. The last 2 weeks I’ve taken an elective course on CAM through my pharmacy school and have been able to share this site with both the professor and other students. I hope they can find as much value out of your posts as I have. Congrats, again!

  2. Bob Blaskiewicz says:

    Very well done. You have built an indispensable resource here.

  3. Sawyer says:

    A laurel and hearty handshake to all the people that make SBM possible. While popularity is rarely a measure of quality, in this case you are the exception to the rule.

    Several times I’ve googled nonsense therapies and breathed a sigh of relief to see you on the first page of results. How Mike Adams, Mercola, Age of Autism, etc. have weaseled their way up in page rankings I will never know, but you’re often the island of sanity among the quacks. I think we can state with some confidence that the growing popularity of this site is not only informing and entertaining people, but literally saving lives. I shudder to think of how many people would get sucked into the world of snake oil if it weren’t for this wonderful resource.

  4. Gliewmeden says:

    I too have come to your website for many science/health related issues. You’ve supplied a credible source of information in a dearth of sites that one can rely on. I had a commenter on an article regarding vaccinations slag your site only to have a following commenter say that, no, your site is credible because all of you are docs in the know. I have shared (used?) you many times as a resource for many topics. My favourite was the post-xmas fat people going on “cleanse” and “purge” systems. To debunk these false claims with my gym buddies and have a credible source where they can look up information was invaluable. I have even printed out articles and placed them at my music studio for parents to read, if they choose, while they wait for their child. Thank you for your contribution to health, wellness, and debunking pseudoscience!

  5. Mike says:

    Congrats to all- I’m looking forward to seeing chapters of Society for Science Based Medicine at every medical school

  6. Stella yfantidis says:

    “SBM is now competing effectively with many popular websites about not-so-science-based medicine.. ”
    Competition?
    I would have hoped you were not trying to compete but actually exist as an informative and resourceful website for open minded people. I only visited your website to view what you are dismissing and how. Perhaps others have done the same as me i.e. visit website to have a look. However, i feel you do provide a service to enlighten us on what ‘others’ are saying to refute/dismiss or discredit ‘medicine’.

    1. David Gorski says:

      Unfortunately, we do compete with various quack sites. For instance, we still haven’t caught NaturalNews.com or Mercola.com in traffic. Although no one believes he gets 7 million visits a month (which is what he claims), he probably does get around 2 million—in other words, twice our traffic.

      Other areas of competition include the look. Quack websites have a lot more money than we do, which is why their websites are usually much slicker and more modern-looking than ours.

      The bottom line is that this is a great milestone, but we have to forge ahead and do better. Our traffic needs to reach at least Mercola and Adams levels, which would be Paul’s “next stop,” about a million visits a week.

    2. simba says:

      To me ‘competing’ and ‘existing as an informative and resourceful website’ would not be mutually exclusive. If the website is informative and a good resource, then obviously it would be good if more people look at it than at the websites which provide bad advice. Especially since a lot of the articles here counter said bad advice.

      Setting aside your personal belief about the things discussed on this website, if you saw a website saying, for example, that peanut allergy is made-up and people should feed peanuts secretly to those who claimed they had one, wouldn’t you want the websites with real information to have more views?

      Bearing in mind that, no matter how much you might disagree with them, the people here believe their information is correct and that the things they attempt to counter are dangerous, it makes perfect sense that they want more people to look at this website than at the ones they counter.

      1. simba says:

        Sorry, I misread your post as saying that the posts here were unfairly ‘dismissing’ alternative approaches.

        My bad!

  7. Scottynuke says:

    Where’s the “like” button already??!?!!?

    Sincere congratulations to the whole SBM crew!! :-)

    1. Scottynuke says:

      Already took care of THAT like button. :)

    2. brewandferment says:

      sure would like one here too because I refuse to go the Facebook route–I already fail at keeping up as it is, don’t need yet another time suck to make matters worse!

      1. n brownlee says:

        Me, too. I don’t do FB because I did FB for a while and it was making me dislike people I liked. “Here’s a picture of my feet.” “I had a really really good cupcake. Here’s a picture” “Feeling a little down.”

        No. Absolutely not.

  8. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

    Why is Isagenix so popular? I’ve never even heard of it.

    1. David Gorski says:

      To be honest, neither had I, at least not before Harriet wrote about it. I have no idea why that post is so perpetually popular and gets so much consistent traffic, but it is our most trafficked “old” post.

    2. Harriet Hall says:

      My theory: Isagenix is a big multilevel marketing enterprise that depends on a constant flow of new sales recruits. When new customers and potential sales reps first hear about it and Google “Isagenix,” my SBM critique pops up right after the company website. I am probably not good for business. I still get angry personal e-mails.

      1. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

        I still get angry personal e-mails.

        May I suggest this means you’re doing things right?

        1. Harriet Hall says:

          That’s exactly my take on it. Means I have hit a nerve. And of course, the angry e-mails never say anything substantive.

      2. David Gorski says:

        As long as it’s not lawsuits.

      3. Sometimes even I get those angry emails!

      4. David Gorski says:

        Actually, these days most of the angry personal e-mails I get come from either Stanislaw Burzynski supporters or antivaccinationists.

  9. Chris says:

    I finally finished reading Michael Specter’s book Denialism. In the beginning of the notes he listed five blogs that he used in his research for the book, saying they all had good science information. One of them was this blog.

    The other four were Aetiology, Respectful Insolence, Neurologica and the Denialism blog on ScienceBlogs.

    1. Harriet Hall says:

      You do realize who writes Respectful Insolence and Neurologica, don’t you? Three out of five is pretty spectacular, if you ask me!

      1. Chris says:

        Indeed I do. In fact, both are quoted in the book. One on page 159 and the other on pages 93 and 181.

  10. Frederick says:

    Woohoo! Congrats to all the team! To all regular here, continue to come often! The more popular you become the more you rank up on google ( their ranking algorithm is more complex and he his secret, but is in simple word a popularity indexing).
    Natural news 7 millions, Is it probable, but it does not mean it is all people who believe this crap. I do try to not click on any of the link author sometime provided that goes up there, I have been on NN only once.( and my brain nearly exploded because of all the non-sens ) I don’t want to help his ranking. But I know lots of people who have been on NN and a lot of them where “WTF is he talking about?”, Even thought they did not knew about the subject, the knew the guy was a little on the crazy paranoia side.

    Anyway, Keep up the good work! You are often use a reference for other website I go to like :
    http://www.pseudo-sciences.org/ A french site about science information, In medical article this site is in the reference from time to time.
    And this incredibly funny website :-) http://lepharmachien.com/

    A Science-based pharmacist and skeptic from Quebec who make those funny comic strip to explain subjects. ( In french Pharmacist is Pharmacien, and the suffixe cien is changed here to Chien = Dog, Chien can be used as a way to say that you are mean) In the comment of one of his comic, somebody mentioned SBM once, and the author replied that your site Is a incredible ressource and use it a lot!

    So you you have reach and influence !

  11. Andrey Pavlov says:

    Congrats indeed. All of it is a team effort, but I still stand in awe of the team leaders and those who work behind the scenes. Truly an awesome and worthwhile achievement. One I have done my best to help in the past, by building it in to our medical student society that I helped create and passing it on as my “highly recommended” reading list to med students. I hope to continue and expand in helping SBM grow and continue doing good work.

    And that said… my comments here will now rather abruptly peter off after tomorrow. I begin my residency on Tuesday and just found out that I will be starting out on a busy hospital medicine service, in a completely newly structured system (one which I actually rather like, but it will be new to everyone) and I start out on call. Which means I will be admitting patients from 6a-7p with just myself, one resident, maybe a med student or two, and our attending.

    But once I get into a good groove I’ll find a way to get back into it again. Regardless, I will be referencing SBM to my colleagues, to my medical students, and to my patients as I always have.

    1. Mark Crislip says:

      ah, internship. most fun I ever had as a doctor. and most stressful. and most exhausting.

      see you in a year :)

      1. Andrey Pavlov says:

        Thanks Dr. Crislip.

        Though perhaps in about 6 months – they stacked me heavy for the first 6 months which means my second 6 will be a bit of a reprieve in comparison.

        1. Windriven says:

          “they stacked me heavy for the first 6 months which means my second 6 will be a bit of a reprieve in comparison.”

          I heard they tell that to ALL the residents ;-)

          1. Harriet Hall says:

            At least he will get some sleep; when I was a resident we regularly worked 32 hour shifts and sometimes were required to work as many as 56 hours straight. Training is more humane today.

            1. Andrey Pavlov says:

              Yes, it is certainly better these days Dr. Hall. As of right now I am technically capped at 60 hours per week (and that includes any moonlighting and didactic events) and 16 hours per shift. As a PGY-2 and up that increases to 80 and 24.

              This is a direct result of the Libby Zion case. However, what has happened is not an overall improvement of patient outcomes but a change of where the negatives are occurring. No doubt errors from exhausted and cranky residents has gone down, but now errors in hand-offs and lack of patient continuity has increased. Additionally, procedural specialties (like surgery) are having a lot of trouble meeting minimum required procedure counts and doing complete cases in a single session (some surgical cases can last a dozen hours and if you get it emergently later in your shift can be forced to scrub out).

              So now there are research initiatives where certain programs around the country have applied for special “research status” to the ACGME in order to exempt them from Libby Zion restrictions on duty work hours. My program is not currently in the research, but apparently there are plans to try it out this year. The surgery folks were the first ones to jump on it and their schedule now is, apparently, as bad as yours was back in the day.

              One very nice thing is that they have restructured the schedule to a 4+2 system where we do 4 weeks of inpatient work (wards, ICU, consults, whatever) and then 2 weeks of clinic. Morning clinic is a different specialty for each 2 week block with afternoon being our continuity clinic. This not only makes life much easier when you are on inpatient rotations and allows you to focus on your inpatient work, but also give you a much nicer reprieve since during your clinic weeks you get weekends off, no call, and a set schedule from 8a-5p. They also worked in a thing they are calling “Friday School” where each Friday of those 2 weeks you are not in clinic but instead have a morning and afternoon didactic session for teaching.

              Overall I am actually pretty happy with how they restructured the program for my intern year. What will be interesting is to see how the new call system will work. It means that for tomorrow, from 6a-7p, it will be me and a single PGY-2 resident on call taking admits for the medicine service. We may or may not have some med students. Obviously we have our attending, but the brunt of the workload is squarely on us. I will be very busy and very tired by the end of tomorrow.

              I am very much looking forward to it.

            2. Chris says:

              “Training is more humane today.”

              And that includes the patients, and in our case the patient’s parents. It is very difficult sometimes to deal with a sleep deprived intern when your child is hooked up to monitors at a Children’s Hospital.

              What was really bad was a resident who I never met or talked to ordered an IV for my toddler when he had croup. Our experience is that croup is a condition where any stress or strife makes it worse, we called it the pampering disease. We were not about to let someone stick a needle in his arm “just in case” he needed to get surgery. The poor technician who was just doing as she was ordered was the unfortunate target of parental wrath.

              1. MadisonMD says:

                What was really bad was a resident who I never met or talked to ordered an IV for my toddler when he had croup.

                It seems like we’re damned to have either a very fatigued resident that knows the patient, or one that is fresh but 3 out of 4 times never met the patient (at least not after hours).

                I remember that families always came in on weekends (well why not?). It was always difficult to break away from the extra work of covering 3 other interns to speak with a family about a medical issue for a patient whom I had never met.

                The mishaps I saw from hand-offs and left me fearing cross-coverage more than fatigue. But, then, I never experienced the hours Harriet did as a resident… tired but never fell asleep in an emergency. I did learn to sleep while listening to giant backhoe-jackhammers digging a building-sized hole across 68th Street. That’s as fatigued as I ever got.

                I can’t begin to imagine a 56 hour shift.

              2. Harriet Hall says:

                One of my colleagues once fell asleep and collapsed onto a patient while listening to the patient’s chest with a stethoscope.
                The only advantage I can think of to the very long shifts is that you learn you can always keep going longer than you imagined you could. Helps build confidence in your endurance and performance under stress.

              3. Chris says:

                “(at least not after hours)”

                Midday, I remember there was sunshine. One would hope that the parent of a toddler would be informed of any invasive procedure while the child was stable.

                Twenty five years ago the reason for the hospitalization was the epinephrin given in the emergency department to get the airways open. Apparently it affected other systems, and there really was no indication for surgery for his croup. I have been told procedures and medications have changed.

                He was a frequent flyer with croup. For some reason it just caused him so much difficulty in getting a breath. So we were pretty used to the routine.

                During one of the four times in the emergency department a pair of guys in scrubs (interns? techs?) came in to push a tube with a camera of some sorts to check for epiglottitis. It made the kid very upset, but he did not have it. They did remark that since the Hib vaccine had come out just a couple years before they were seeing less and less of that.

            3. MadisonMD says:

              Hi Harriet,
              Did you ever sleep during these shifts? I did my internship at the Libby Zion hospital where we had 24h-ish shift restrictions. It was difficult to cross-cover 3-other intern’s patients while admitting new ones. I always wondered if it would have been worse to work 36h without as much cross-cover. I’m guessing it was worse.

              1. Harriet Hall says:

                Sometimes we got to sleep, but usually not for long. In one hellish weekend covering OB, I worked straight through from early Saturday morning to late Monday afternoon and only got to lie down for about 20 minutes total. I was running on fumes by Monday afternoon, was afraid to sit down for fear I wouldn’t be able to stand up again. Patient continuity was better, but I don’t think the long hours made me a better doctor.

            4. Frederick says:

              Wow, And I’m complaining when I Do 16hres of overtime, wow That crazy, I understand why a lot of Md just lost it. MD or not MD , a human being can only take so much. And yet you manage to carry on and become a Great MD and do incredible Work in the Army and all. it is impressive

            5. David Gorski says:

              56 hours straight? 32 hour shifts? That’s only eight hours plus a 24! Luxury! :-)

              Try doing a surgery residency before the work hour restrictions. During my fourth year, there was a week when I don’t think I got more than about six hours sleep over the entire five or six days, and I didn’t manage to get home more than one night. I was chief of the transplant service, which meant that I was expected to fly out with the transplant surgeon on any organ harvest. Normally, that was it; the transplant chief didn’t have to do general surgery call too, but during that month we were short and I did both transplant call (on 24/7) plus general surgery call every third night, meaning that on my “off” nights I still got called out to do organ harvests.

              Then there were the several months of trauma service over the five year period, which required every other night call. True, we were supposed to be out before noon the next day, but that seldom happened. Then there was the cardiothoracic service, where we had to cover call Friday through Monday (alternating with the other resident) and usually couldn’t leave the hospital during that time, although the program got away with it by calling it at home call.

              We used to consider rotations at the VA to be a break because that was the only hospital where call was only every fourth night, and it usually wasn’t too demanding, at least for the senior.

              Don’t get me wrong. I thought it was barbaric and thought of quitting on multiple occasions. I wouldn’t advocate going back to such a system at all. Still, one good thing is that it did show me that I really could push myself far beyond what I had ever thought.

              1. Sawyer says:

                Just wait till we get this A.I. and cloning stuff figured out and it will all be done by a robot army of William Halsteds. Have to get Rob Ford to become a hospital administrator though, to keep the wheels greased. :)

              2. Dave says:

                That’s one reason I didn’t go into surgery. At my training institution the surgery call schedule was every other night for 6 years in a pyramiding system with lots of stress. On my surgery rotation the surgeons made rounds BEFORE the OR started at 0700, meaning the day started at 5:30 or 6. We usually finished at 6:30 or so the following evening. Occasionally you got to lay down. There were four call room beds (all in one room) for about 16 people on call. I used to bring an air mattress and roll it on one of the ward labs (this was back in the day when urinalyses, gram stains, hematocrits etc were done by the interns and residents on the ward) in case I could lay down. The medical call rotation was every third night, cushy by comparison. The thing is, back then in private practice after residency I frequently worked all day, was at the hospital most of the night, and had a full schedule the following day. Right now I regard these hours as insane, especially the way the practice of medicine is right now.

          2. Andrey Pavlov says:

            Well, I know what the rotations to be done are and they gave me the 4 hardest ones to start with. I have to do the other ones, so they must by definition be easier than the first round. Of course, one of those is my elective which, knowing myself, I may well end up putting myself in the ICU and obviating some of that reprieve…

  12. MadTez says:

    Interesting you’ve reached this goal. Good for you. I for one was brought to this site doing research for a CAM class on the interconnection of modern medicine and monetary-political barriers to progressive science in health. All of this coinciding with the Common Wealth Fund’s rankings of 11 developed nations on healthcare quality and access, in which America came last in nearly all categories but cost. Cheers to the future of American Health!

    1. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

      I for one was brought to this site doing research for a CAM class on the interconnection of modern medicine and monetary-political barriers to progressive science in health.

      Jesus Christ. They’re now actually teaching, as a classroom subject, the spurious pharmanoia propaganda speaking points on why CAM doesn’t have any scientific evidence to support it and why CAM is unproven because science is a big meanie. I mean fucking really? “Oh, of course acupuncture doesn’t have any evidence, because Big Pharma doesn’t want to pay for it.”

      That’s disgusting.

  13. Elza says:

    Dr. Novella’s Food Fears is not there anymore, why so? Or link is broken.

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