UploadVR is both significant and influential. Like with most things in life, this generates a magnetic force towards controversy, most notably being sued for sexual harassment. Yet what cannot be denied is its influence – across the ‘net, no website is more significant than UploadVR. With a cursory glance at their sidebar of hot topics, their articles regularly hits hundreds of thousands of points, if not millions:
What I am concerned about is the legitimacy of these scores. Many people think these are ‘views,’ though this is a common misconception – they are points on the ‘Heat Index,’ a system of rating articles which, as far as I can find, has no publicly available criteria online. It’s a set of numbers, sometimes high, sometimes low, which rates how ‘popular’ an article is.
So I’m going to attempt to work out what these criteria are. As someone who has a History degree and rarely counts past twenty, this should be fun.
What is UploadVR’s Heat Index?
Firstly, these are the number of monthly visitors the website receives each month, taken from SimilarWeb:
SimilarWeb is not the most accurate tool to measure visitors, though it is certainly never off by several million clicks. Similarly, Hype Stat calculates the page receives around 56,703 page views a day – times this by 30 days, and the calculation comes back with 1,701,000 views. These are not sophisticated tools, but the similarity of the numbers should reflect an element of truth to the ratings. From this, we can confidently say that the millions of points on the heat index is not linked to the number of clicks they receive.
The amount of actual clicks an article receives is impossible to track. Analysing their social media brings limited use as well – as any writer knows, the number of social shares does not draw parallels to the number of people who actually read an article. In many cases, an article is shares as the title reflects an area of significance or interest for the reader; people are more quick to comment than to read a few hundred words.
I am also reluctant to trust second-hand rumours. A treading Facebook post states that an article received 3,000 views when the heat index had 3,000,000 points. The article in question was not cited, and the figures could not be confirmed, so I would like to discount it as conjecture until I receive full confirmation on this.
Making an impression on social media
The most likely factor to the Heat Index is the number of ‘social impressions’ an article receives – in other words, the number of times an article was seen on social media.
This isn’t unreasonable to believe. The Facebook page has 120,000 likes, and the Twitter is on 56,300 followers, with some reasonable reach on both platforms. With a few social shares and retweets, it’s not hard to imagine that these articles are ‘seen’ by a large number of people.
This is difficult to quantify, but with the reach UploadVR has, it’s probable that the Heat Index partially reflects UploadVR’s activity on social platforms beyond its website. This would mean articles are nowhere near as significant as they let on – a page title is nothing compared to an engaged reader.
Inflating the numbers for UploadVR
And really, why not make this approach? Media has always struggled to drive traffic to websites unless they use clickbaity titles or list formats. And with each article receiving a few thousand views each, it is much better to say that an article has been seen by hundreds of thousands of people instead, in whatever fashion possible.
With respect to the UploadVR, and it is understandable that the Heat Index is used to make articles seem bigger, more significant. What I would like to ask is the criteria on which the Heat Index is judged, and the actual impact of its articles across the internet. Transparency is something to be valued.