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How Bad Is Mark Penn With Numbers?

By Matthew Yglesias on April 22, 2009 at 8:31 am

"How Bad Is Mark Penn With Numbers?"

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There are all kinds of problems with the statistical inference Mark Penn reaches in this article but just take a gander at this part of Penn’s response to his critics:

The question of how much traffic it takes to make a living also comes from the Technorati report. We say it takes “about 100,000 unique visitors a month to generate an income of $75,000 a year” and Technorati states those who had 100,000 or more unique visitors the average income is $75,000.

I’m pretty sure you couldn’t get a passing grade on an AP math test making this kind of mistake, much less pass yourself off as a data-crunching expert. Technorati says that the average income of professionals bloggers who have over 100,000 unique visitors per month is $75,000. Penn glosses this as saying that “about 100,000 unique visitors” is enough to earn $75,000 which isn’t even close to being the same thing. The mean earnings of high-traffic bloggers are pretty decent. The median earnings are almost certainly lower. And the earnings of a blogger operating at the low-end of what counts as high-traffic will be lower still.

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