Press "Enter" to skip to content

Blog Wars: Top Dakota Free Press Posts Draw Four Times More Traffic Than War College’s

You know you’re the best blog in South Dakota, don’t you?

Governor Dennis Daugaard and blue ribbon
No, I wasn’t talking to the Governor. But maybe he could send me a Blue Ribbon….

I’m paraphrasing, just a little, but honest to Gaia, a person I’d never met face to face walked up to me on the street here in Aberdeen the other day and, after some conversation, offered just that assessment of Dakota Free Press. That satisfied reader requested that I put “South Dakota’s #1 Political Web Site” across the top of my blog, as does the long-time pretender to that title, Republican press release outlet Dakota War College.

My satisfied reader, a South Dakotan well-versed in South Dakota law and politics, reads both blogs each day. Dakota War College used to provide that reader more satisfaction, but now scrolling through the verbatim press releases from elected Republicans to find the occasional original scraps wears that reader out. The blogosphere, my satisfied reader agrees, exists to add value to South Dakota news with local analysis, commentary, research, original reporting, and a little verve and humor. I feel comfortable asserting that Dakota Free Press offers more of all those things than Dakota War College.

My reader’s compliment and my preceding statement are open to subjective re-evaluation and counterexamples. I welcome readers’ efforts in that regard.

But let’s look at some objective numbers. Dakota War College displays the WordPress Popular Posts widget in its left sidebar. It appears to list the most-viewed posts of the last 30 days, a timeframe I deduce from the oldest post on that list, the July 28 post on Steve Hildebrand’s press conference on payday lenders sabotaging his store as political retribution. Here are the top ten DWC posts from the last 30 days, per the screen cap I took around 16:30 CDT today:

DWC Post Views in
30 days
Hang on…. 842
As a state legislator, I call upon my magical state legislator powers, and banish thee… 733
5 questions with…… Lisa Furlong, Chair of South Dakotan’s for Fair Lending 623
Lora Hubbel removed from precinct office, so Jim Bradford must be a convicted felon. ….Wait, what? (UPDATED) 595
Brown County GOP corn poll results 588
Hildebrand holding presser to complain that homeless people are spending money at his coffee house. 579
This is the New SDDP Executive Director? 501
Woster discusses Schoenbeck’s plan on improving teacher salaries 487
Aaand the winner was…… 425
Woster at KELO: Democrats can’t win  410
Average 578.3
Median of top ten 583.5

I don’t display the same widget on Dakota Free Press, but I can dig into my WordPress Site Stats and show you the top ten posts by views for my last 30 days:

Dakota Free Press Posts Views in
30 days
Daugaard Performance at Gifted Education Summit Sends Wrong Message 12,178
Rep. Hunt Wants to Look at Transgender Kids’ Genitalia 4,020
Failed Deadwood Pelting-Wolf Exhibit: More Signs than Customers? 2,370
Dakota Free Press Continues Madville Times Tradition of South Dakota Blogging 1,228
18% Rate-Cap Decoy Petition Circulating Illegally at Sioux Empire Fair 876
Fox Picks Ten Pageant Participants; Recent Entry Not a Disqualifier 828
Senator Curd’s Mastiffs Send Woman to Hospital, Require Policeman to Fire Weapon 774
Cost of Denying Gay Couple Marriage License: $44,000 715
Pawn Shop Radio Deal in Court; Brennan Acquiring Sunny Radio and USF Station 624
Hildebrand: Payday Lenders Attacking Cafe with Fake Preacher and Disruptive Customers 619
Average 2423.2
Median of top ten 852

The most attention-getting post on Dakota Free Press in the last 30 days, the report on Governor Dennis Daugaard’s disappointing speech to gifted students at the Governor’s Camp, drew more than twice as many views as Dakota War College’s top ten posts combined.

DWC’s #10 post has 410 views. My stats show 42 DFP posts that have more than 410 views.

Anybody can write “I’m #1” on top of his website. But you don’t need to be told whose blog is the best political website in South Dakota. In the spirit of the true blog ethos, you’ll see for yourself. When you read good blogging, you’ll hit the Share buttons (beneath each DFP post!). You’ll ring the Tip Jar (near right sidebar—yes, I do welcome your contributions!). You’ll come back for more.

And if you see me around Aberdeen, or Sioux Falls (reporting this Saturday at SkepDakota!), or Harney Peak (really, this has happened), you’ll come up and tell me what you think of Dakota Free Press. I welcome your comments.


  1. mike from iowa 2015-08-27

    It is fun to guffaw at human failings,which is what wingnut faux kristians were born to do. Humor makes the world go around. Anal retentive anger makes the world go round with a chip on its shoulder.

  2. MOSES 2015-08-27

    C.H. that isn’t rocket science.You can tell by the posts.Keep up the good work I wonder if Tehran John or immigration card Mike read this.

  3. Jim 2015-08-27

    You’ve been dusting him since before his failed experiment with the SOS. He used to tout “so and so” said he was the number one blog, but he hasn’t done that for years. PP, tear down that banner.

  4. Deb Geelsdottir 2015-08-27

    I’m not surprised at the numbers. Cory, you are a very good blogger. You write well, posts are well researched, comments are mostly thoughtful and interesting, topics are diverse. Good work!

  5. CraigSk 2015-08-27

    Cory, I did not need the numbers to tell me you have a great and popular Blog. I have looked for a long time for a thoughtful blog that delt with local issues that affected me and when I found Madvilletimes I hit a goldmind. Not only is your blog great, the followers provide excellent, intelligent comments to each post keeping the conversation alive. Thank you for having DakotaFreePress rise from the ashes of MVTs and continue the high brow discussions of issues important to all South Dakotans. Keep on Blogging.

  6. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-08-28

    “The followers provide excellent, intelligent comments to each post keeping the conversation alive.” Bingo, Craig. That’s one of the key advantages here. If all I drew were Pat’s anonymous insult-slingers, I wouldn’t come back to these pages day after day with nearly as much enthusiasm. The quality of what I learn from you commenters on various issues makes me think “followers” is not quite the right word.

    Thank you, all, for helping make Dakota Free Press an interesting read. There’s lots more to come!

  7. rwb 2015-08-28

    The numbers speak the truth. An interested person can come here to participate in thoughtful, respectful (mostly) discussions of issues that affect us all. A person can go over to Powers’ twisted echo chamber and see people belittled, lies propagated, press release after press release (I think the staffers literally have the username and password), and various other musings that don’t require or reflect any level of intellection. Just anger. And much stupidity.

    No one could think more of Pat Powers than I do, and I think he’s a cruel, small-minded loser who suffered some type of major trauma as a twelve-year-old and has been unable to move past that age emotionally. He’s an older version (I can’t use the terms “adult” or “grown-up”) of the playground bully we all had to tolerate in second grade back in the day. Stupid. Clumsy. Mean. Vindictive.

    So, Cory, while your accomplishments stand great – purely on their own here – no serious thinker could ever count Pat Powers and his crap blog as competition for your wonderful piece of work.

    And while it’s probably pretty easy to see that I hold Pat Powers in as low a regard as I can – even below rattlesnakes (because rattlesnakes have a real purpose in the world), I do have a huge respect for how Powers can devour plateful after plateful of food at the little Chinese buffet in Brookings. Man, that guy can hammer down that Chinese Buffet. I can’t eat like that anymore and do wish I could.

  8. mike from iowa 2015-08-28

    Master only needs more humor and this blog would reach Nirvana. Example (hilarious and true)-Texas Attorney General,who is under felony indictment for securities fraud,had to be reminded by a district court judge to stand up when addressing the court. Voters were fully aware he was under indictment before the election and voted him in anyway.On a personal level,this is the side-splitting laughter I’m used to seeing from the far right.

  9. rwb 2015-08-28

    mike from iowa, I remember far back in my career with an oil company in Wyoming. One of our employees – not a bright guy at all, or maybe you could even call him stupid – was taking a transfer to one of our Texas operations. It was widely speculated throughout the company that the transfer from Wyoming to Texas would literally raise the IQ of both states.

  10. mike from iowa 2015-08-28

    rwb,I can see where Wyoming made a net gain in IQ. Texas….not so much.

  11. Bill Fleming 2015-08-28

    MIA, I think the idea rwb is expressing here was once rendered in song by Paul Simon under the title “One Man’s Ceiling Is Another Man’s Floor.” ;-)

  12. MD 2015-08-28

    I enjoy that this blog seems open enough that it draws readers and commenters from both sides of the aisle commenting, including those that carry significant influence. It is better to engage someone that thinks differently than you than to isolate. Isolation leads people to go and find others that are like them an they propagate (and form blogs).
    Keep it up Cory

  13. Porter Lansing 2015-08-28

    AND ….. Power’s numbers are inflated by the posts he himself makes, calling himself anonymous. That’s probably 20% of his posts and he often talks to himself with post after post admiring his work or ridiculing his followers.

  14. Kurt Evans 2015-08-28

    Cory has the courage to debate those who honestly disagree with him, as opposed to labeling them bigots and blocking their comments.

  15. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-08-29

    MD, Kurt, the presence of multiple viewpoints is a key to any good comment section. I’ve had to violate my openness to all voices and block a handful of opponents, not because they disagree with me, but because their personal obsessions end up hijacking conversations. I don’t like doing that, though.

    I wouldn’t mind if a few more South Dakota blogs would propagate. Competition is good for all of us. But competition doesn’t happen in isolation. The blogosphere depends on healthy interaction.

  16. Porter Lansing 2015-08-29

    My new approach …
    1. Does it need to be said?
    2. Does it need to be said by me?
    3. Does it need to be said by me, now?

  17. The King 2015-08-29

    I read both sites regularly, and on the political spectrum am more right than left. Even given my leaning I can say that DFP has more content and more thoughtful commentary. Don’t let it go to your head.

  18. rwb 2015-08-29

    “Don’t let it go to your head,” says the guy who dubs himself The King… That’s funny right there.

  19. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-08-29

    Ha! RWB, I appreciate your wit. King, I appreciate your readership and your remindful call to humility. Far from letting it go to my head, I’ll take your readership as a reminder that I have to keep working hard to rise to your standards and keep earning your participation in this forum.

  20. larry kurtz 2015-08-30

    now pat is pandering to the gropers: has he no shame? nope.

  21. leslie 2015-08-30

    Cory, HinHan Kaga would indeed be a place for a great chance meeting, and during your blog picinikki-i may be lucky enough to be up there then, instead. Just like tonight’s mile swim in a clear cold Black Hills lake, moments before a crashing hail/buckets o’ rain storm blew through, after a 105 degree day! Is there anything else quite like summer? Every day is a treasure.

    best of luck there. will enjoy seeing photos of Lynn, HC, Spencer, Gravytaters and Barry carry.

Comments are closed.