About Campus: The X-rated Daily

BY JESSICA VOSGERCHIAN
Magazine editor
Published December 2, 2008

Like many companies with a stake in online revenue, The Michigan Daily turned to Google Analytics to see what keywords bring search engine users to our website.

Illustration by Laura Garavoglia

A lot of the results from the last semester are predictable — “sam mcguffie,” “michigan vs toledo” and variations of “michigan daily” dominate our top ten keywords.

But further down the list, just a little lower than a certain Daily staff writer who must have Googled himself hourly to land the 14th spot, things get decidedly more X-rated.

It starts with the 20th keyword, “playboy magazine,” which makes some sense, because we covered the audition for Playboy’s Girls of the Big 10 issue just a few months ago. But it’s a little suspicious that the average time that people who used this search term spent on michigandaily.com was seven seconds.

Something tells us these viewers didn’t care to read what School of Nursing senior Renee Alison had to say about modeling for the issue.
The same can be said for people searching for “naked run” (number 26) and “naked mile run” (number 73). These viewers managed to stick around the site a little longer, averaging about half a minute, but ultimately they left years of the Daily’s Naked Mile coverage disappointed. It’s true — when we wrote about the demise of the campus tradition in 2002 we didn’t include nude photos. We apologize.

Of course, Playboy and the Naked Mile are relatively innocent in the greater scope of dirty searches. We might even feel bad for all the soft-core pleasure seekers our website has misled. That is, we would if it wasn’t for all the really nasty stuff that leads people to our site.

At number 32 on the Daily’s keywords list is “18 sex,” and variations of searches for sex and 18-year-olds has attracted 382 visits to the website. Trying to find some hot barely-legal action, these errant onanists followed links to articles like “Survey links drugs to sex toys.”

Searches using the words “babies” and “porn” — including “angelina jolie babies porn,” “having babies porn” and “fiery babies porn” — accounted for 130 visits. People searching for vagina costumes visited the site 163 times. Searches containing "donkey punch sex" led to 252 visits, while combinations of “pizza,” “delivery” and “sex” garnered 89 visits.

Foiled in their quests for flesh, these viewers consistently fled from our site in three seconds or less. I won’t conjecture why they made the mistake of following a link to a Daily page in the first place, except to say that reading probably wasn’t their priority at the time.

The one exception to the click-and-run rule were two visits brought by the search “making a vagina costume” that lasted for an average time of almost seven minutes. These visitors or visitor must have been intrigued by our coverage of the suspension of a student who wore a homemade vagina costume to Community High School.

To be fair, there are reasons why links to our articles appear relatively high up in the Google results for some of these search terms.

Searching for “pizza delivery sex,” a Daily article appears as the third result. The 2002 article — “Sex, drugs and pizza: A night with a pizza delivery guy” — details a Daily writer’s ride-along with a local deliveryman. There is no sex in the article, and no drugs eithers. Daily editors just have a penchant for using cheap pop culture references in headlines. For this we owe pizza delivery fetishists an apology.

A similar situation occurs for the Google search “donkey punch sex,” which lists michigandaily.com as the seventh result. Donkey punching is a lewd sexual act that won’t be described in these pages, but Donkey Punch was also a ska band that played in Ann Arbor in the 1990s. The trick is that back in the days of the annual joke issue, the Daily ran a fake article about Donkey Punch returning to the campus scene with a sex video. Donkey + punch + sex + video = pissed off perverts.

It’s less clear what exactly brought the baby porn pedophiles to our pages, but the Daily’s own online search does offer 15 results for the words “babies” and “porn.”

The evident explanation is that “baby” is common in album and song titles and our Arts editors are endlessly amused by porn jokes.

Many of the articles that attract sexual deviants were published in the early 2000s. Daily alumni might be proud to know their articles are getting hits after all these years, even if their naiveté about Google search terms helped to attract viewers for the wrong reasons.

On the other hand, maybe they were on to something. As the withering publications industry has shown, the only way to make money online is to offer something X-rated. Maybe the Daily should go hardcore. Or maybe we’ll just start littering our articles with dirty words to increase Internet traffic.

Hand job. Boobs. Spanking. Rake. Sticky. Gorillas. This article should attract some dirty-minded Google users. And when it does, I hope some of them glean what it is about. That’s right. We know you’re out there, we know what you’re thinking and we’re disgusted. For shame, perverts. For shame!