A Monopoly Mystery: Traffic Spike On Baltic Avenue


We had a funny surprise for our Wedding Anniversary/St. Patrick’s Day – a huge traffic spike in our daily blog visitor count. In fact, it set a new record for us.

I’d like to say that we’re urbane enough to take these things in stride, but I have to say that it generated a few giddy conversations at “Gallivance World HQ.” In addition, it presented another big blogging mystery … why did it happen?


First the facts. Before our recent trip to the Baltic, Terri wrote a fun and popular post, Monopoly: Gotta Love Baltic Avenue, that tied together our trip with some interesting Monopoly trivia and history on the Baltic Avenue property. Lots of people read the post, and we received many comments, from all over the world,  recounting childhood Monopoly memories, anecdotes about strategy, and expressions of joy or pain when playing the game. In fact, the comments are almost as much fun to read as the post.

Gallivance experienced a serious spike on March 17!
Gallivance experienced a serious spike on March 17!

And then on March 17, for no reason we can determine, the spike hit. Our total views on the blog for this day were 625. Of this number, 188 views were the “Monopoly: Gotta Love Baltic Avenue” post. The search engine term “baltic property card” was searched 176 times! I don’t know what our followers and fellow bloggers experience, but these are very big numbers for us.

Monopoly Players

We googled, yahooed, and binged this phrase, but didn’t discover a link to our blog. There are very serious bloggers that advise on analyzing and dealing with spikes, and after reading their advice, we still don’t have a clue. So that leaves us where we started, very happy to have so many visitors to our blog, but totally mystified as to why.


Our blog is a fascinating endeavor for us. We enjoy being a part of a larger community, and having a way to share our experiences and ideas, while also receiving advice from fellow travelers. But, we’re also curious types, and hope to learn about the process and how the system works.

To that end, we cast the question to the blogosphere. Has anybody out there experienced a spike like this, and if so, were you able to track down the source? Also, is there some global Monopoly cabal that we don’t know about? Or, is there something obvious that we’re missing. Any ideas?

Happy Blogging,

Monopoly tokens

Photo Credits:
1. BP Miller
4. By Matěj Baťha via Wikimedia Commons
5. By Lukas Merl via Wikimedia Commons
6. By Bengt Oberger via Wikimedia Commons

Author: gallivance.net

We're Terri and James Vance - high school sweethearts who went on to international careers and became world nomads. Today, 65 countries later, we're still traveling ... and still in love. Check out Our Story for more of the backstory at gallivance.net.

42 thoughts

  1. Happy anniversary! Yes, aren’t these spikes weird. I have had one or two and have never quite figured out why… The wonderful world of blogging! 🙂

    1. Thanks Emma. I guess that this is the proverbial “gift horse”, but it really would be good to know. In the meantime, we’ll just look forward to the next spike. ~James

  2. I spiked on 8th October 2012 with 1,672 hits including 1,007 for one post about polio vaccinations although there was no real evidence that anyone had really visited with no comments or likes!

    1. 1600 hits in one day, wow! Your spike sounds just as mysterious as ours. And the thing that I can’t understand is my inability to link the search term to our blog. But, in the meantime, these spikes certainly help the stats. ~James

  3. I, too, have had a major spike day in the past. And i have no idea why. None. Wish I could figure it out so that I could keep things at that level. 😉 Congrats on your spike & your anniversary!

    1. Thanks Liz. If you’ve read the other comments, you see that other bloggers are just as confused as we are. If I ever come up with any ideas, I will write a follow-up post for sure. ~James

  4. Yes, I have had a major spike day. It was a post I wrote in November 2011, but it mentioned the word ‘Christmas’. 988 people searched for ‘Christmas’ and found themselves at my blog. Many of my posts after that day also mentioned the same word, but my normal traffic (very modest numbers) resumed.

    1. Thanks for the comment Elaine, and for dropping by the blog. Yep, it’s a fact that spikes have two very steep sides, and the return to the norm can be painful. From the other comments, it seems like there’s a “fickle finger of fate” out there randomly selecting unsuspecting bloggers for the honor, and then just as quickly yanking the rug from beneath them. It hardly seems fair, but it certainly is an interesting mystery. ~James

  5. haven’t had any “spikes” like yours, but our Karate Dentist post received a lot of hits, I also tried to google various words to see what was taking people to our post, and I found it was not words, but images. I had picked a silhouette image of a karate person, and there was a period where this image was coming up first on google if you were searching “karate image”….. still don’t get how all this works!

    1. Interesting observation about the photo. After your comment, I went back to search the images in the post, and got no meaningful info. Oh Well! In the meantime, I had to check out your blog for the “Karate Dentist.” Pretty funny (weird not HaHa) ~James

  6. I have only ever experienced 1 such spike. last February I posted on a local burrito restaurant Harrisburg Pennsylvania. I shared my post on their Facebook page and had over 700 hits in 1 day. Apparently , the restaurant has a serious cult following.

    1. Interesting comment about Facebook. We’ve written a few posts that we managed to get onto someone’s (e.g. a city tourist board) Facebook, and it definitely picked up the stats. But 700 hits, WOW! That must be one popular restaurant. Our spike seemed to be related to “Baltic Avenue” and “Monopoly”, so the challenge now will be working those two words into every post. ~James

  7. The wordpress stats are a dark mystery to me, too. I’m currently (while not traveling) getting 50-100 hits/day, but back on 2012-7-20 (when I was also not traveling) I had 888! Turned out there were 806 searches for “subotica art nouveau” but the relevant post – http://mytimetotravel.wordpress.com/2011/10/03/novi-sad-vs-subotica/ – only got 8 hits,while there were 806 on Home page/Archives. I’m not clear what the Archives bit means. The Subotica post is generally popular, but not THAT popular!

    I also figure these searches must be on WordPress itself, as Google and Bing seem to ignore WordPress pages.

    1. Hey Kathy. It sounds like your experience is just as mysterious as ours. Unlike yours though, our post had 188 views, which makes sense. Its the other 600 views that are strange. Also, re: google and bing, we have good luck with our posts showing up on both of these search engines. Not sure what’t going on there. ~James

  8. WOW! CONGRATULATIONS ALL AROUND! I haven’t had anything near this. WordPress stats are a mystery to me as well. Regardless I have fun posting.


    1. I’m with you Francine. Regardless of stats, we have a lot of fun posting. But having said that, it’s nice to have a bit of recognition as well, and a spike helps. ~James

  9. Love your blog and am not surprised that you receive so many views. Having said that, there have been some mysterious spikes from time to time on my site as well, all unexplained.

    1. Thanks LuAnn. Hopefully, either you, me, or some of the other commenters will figure this out, and let us know. Interestingly, we’re having a “mini spike” today, and the post is one of our “Tree Spirit” posts. However, this one we can track down, and all the interest (174 views) seems to be coming from Japan. Why 174 people in Japan would be interested in faces carved into live oak trees in Georgia, is a mystery to me. ~James

  10. We had the same experience. Lots of hits, and a bit of sleuthing proved that it was people searching for an image of a dog digging (there’s on on our blog). Not much to bolster the ego there…

    1. I can relate Tom. Both Terri and I have each written posts that we thought were interesting, well written, and had great photos. A number of these posts then turn in marginal results and get little or no feedback. The other end of that spectrum is a post that I wrote about going to the DMV for new car tags. It took about 15 minutes to write, it has photographs of our old and new tag … and wait for it… it’s one of our top posts. Who knows? ~James

    1. Thanks Jade. We really do have fun blogging, and so far, all of our blogging surprises have been good ones. Feedback and encouragement from our readers are always welcome, and they help us maintain a global perspective. ~James

    1. Thanks Jennifer, for the comment and for dropping by the blog. It’s always good to get feedback from readers as to why they came to the blog, and what they like about it. If your experience as a blogger is like ours, a lot of what we do is essentially like yelling into a canyon, and hoping that we hear an echo. Thanks for the echo. ~James

  11. Hi Terri and James! First, I was remiss in not congratulating you on your wedding anniversary . . . Happy Anniversary!

    I have had two spikes and each time I suspect it had something to do with 3 things that coalesced. Number 1, I was provocative in the headline by using the word “death” and I think people are naturally curious about the subject. I can’t recall exactly what the headline was in the first spike instance, but I do recall the headline being a bit more provocative vs. my standard, “Blah City, Australia” or some other mundane headline I will use because I am exhausted from exploring that day and I just want to get out the facts mam. Grin.

    Second, I purposely held back on the time of day I posted, i.e., I might have a post ready during my morning, but everyone else on Earth is sound asleep, so I hold back a few hours. For example, in Nepal, I am nearly 13 hours ahead of people in the United States, where my readership is greatest. Depending on what country I am in, I have been as many as 16 hours ahead of people in the States. In short, I found that if I post in “their” morning, then I will get more hits throughout the day, as well as my “publicity” via Linkedin, Facebook, etc., being a bit more effective.

    Finally, someone mentioned photos. I agree that a good photo, as well as an excellent opening paragraph, will get someone’s attention. Mea culpa – I saw the first few lines of your post on my “reader” blog list and was immediately curious because you mentioned blog statistics.

    Great post! Thanks for sharing. 🙂

    1. Hey Steve. Thanks for the great info on what works for you. I totally agree with all your points. Re: titles of blogs. Marketing pros have used this technique for decades, and it appears to work for blogs as well. I know that it works on me. Re: photos. We always try to make our posts photo-rich, rather than long and wordy. There are so many sources of information available to readers, we want our blog to be fun to read, not an effort. Good photos help accomplish this. Re: timing of posting. We have a pretty big international audience, and we’ve discovered the best time for us to post in slightly after midnight, Eastern US time (we use scheduling for this). That way, we get the late night readers in the US, early morning folks in Europe, and daytime people in SE Asia, Australia, etc. And around 8am Eastern, we pick up the US audience (our biggest group) Thanks again for the feedback. It’s always good to hear what works for other bloggers. ~James

  12. That’s fascinating. There’s nowt so strange as fluctuations in blog statistics and what prompts visitors. Glad (and unsuprised) you are getting the visitors – it’s interesting here! And thanks for the insight into how and when you post.

    I only have a babba blog (a couple of months old) and one of my biggest spikes has been posting about a 1976 pop song. And I’m still getting visitors under that search. Weird, but fun.

    1. Thanks for the comment and for dropping by the blog Bernadette. You summed it up perfectly, weird and fun. There’s hardly a day that passes that we don’t have something mysterious show up on our blog. It can be a post that suddenly gets wildly popular, a contact from a really interesting follower, or great information on a travel destination. These are the kinds of things that keep us motivated, and make blogging fun. ~James

  13. One of my high scoring blog posts is one I wrote about skin cancer. I can’t figure out how people find it because when I google skin cancer my blog doesn’t come up anywhere near the front of the search lists. But I’m glad people are reading about skin cancer.

    You write fascinating articles and post gorgeous photographs so it’s not surprising that people return, but why one day is a big spike, I don’t know. You might have been linked on a travel blog. It would be great if someone who came from a link would tell you how they got there!

    1. My biggest spike was a post that was mostly written by my son about shaving with a straight edge razor. So I’m not even the most popular writer on my blog when it comes to stat spikes. I did find out where the hits came from. A blog on shaving and supplies had linked my (my son’s) post. I should enlist his skills more often!

      1. Hey Catherine. It’s funny, I read and commented on that post a few days ago, and it brought back memories of my Dad. So maybe I was a tiny part of your spike. At least, you were able to determine where your views came from. Even after all these informative comments, we still have no clue. ~James

  14. Well here’s a strange coincidence… After my comments of yesterday I am now experiencing a spike today. Already today I have had 305 views from the search term ‘snow load bridge’. The post that has had all the views is from February 5th last year and shows a photo of London’s Tower Bridge in the snow!

    1. Congrats Elaine! It appears that the “Fickle Finger of Fate” got pointed at your blog. I’m always glad when an older post gets some attention. It helps expose newer followers to some of the things that I’ve written in the past. I hope you had a record day. ~James

    1. Hey Laurie, I’m glad you had a spike as well. We thought that St Pats might have something to do with it, but the post was about Baltic Avenue, the Baltic, and Monopoly. Very strange. I suspect that it will always be a mystery. But in the meantime, it’s great to have lots of visitors. ~James

  15. Great blog. Just discovered it today, and we look forward to following your articles. As far as the spike, we actually experienced a spike yesterday from seemingly out of no where. I’ve experienced the same thing before on other blogs that we manage. From what we can guess, it’s more of an SEO driven thing. Meaning that for some reason whatever people are searching for on that particular day, our number was called and we ranked high that day. It sounds crazy, but it’s a hunch. Hope this helps.

    1. Anyone that manages more than one blog, and uses terms like “SEO” obviously knows more than me, and I appreciate your feedback. After reading your comment, I did a bit of research, and I must admit that given the topic of the post, and the timing, it still doesn’t make much sense. However, as a blogger, this is the proverbial “gift horse” and I was happy to have a spike. ~James

  16. Ok, I confess… I admit it, it was that link I sent you for Tim Moore’s “Do Not Pass Go” UK Monopoly book. That brought you all the good karma you needed for a spike. 😉

    (Sounds as reasonable as any other theory posited here, right?)

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