Title text: There are also a lot of global versions of this map showing traffic to English-language websites which are indistinguishable from maps of the location of internet users who are native English speakers.
In the comic, Cueball compares three heatmaps, showing the location of "our site's users," "subscribers to Martha Stewart Living" and "consumers of furry pornography." The three maps are nearly identical, leading Cueball to come to the conclusion that his site's userbase largely consists of fans of Martha Stewart and furry porn, and that the audience (presumably the owners/operators of the website) should adjust their content or advertising to cater to these demographics. However, Cueball's analysis is faulty; the actual reason the maps are the same is they all match the population concentration in the U.S., not because there is any statistically-significant relation between geographic location and any of the mentioned sub-populations.
A heatmap (the term having been coined and trademarked by Cormac Kinney) is a graph showing three-dimensional data on a two-dimensional image, with each pixel's colour representing the value of the data at that position. It does not necessarily have anything to do with heat, but a heatmap may resemble a thermal image. In this comic, red represents the highest numerical values, then yellow and green, with white the lowest values, in all three maps.
The title text reflects a similar situation in world maps where the website written in English is read by English-speaking users no matter the location, because their ISP and search providers direct them primarily to English websites, so the visitors' geographic graph matches the graph of the global English-speaking population.
- [Three near-identical charts of the 48 contiguous United States are shown with heatmaps depicting population density. The first chart is labelled "Our site's users," the second chart is labelled "Subscribers to Martha Stewart Living," and the third chart is labelled "Consumers of furry pornography." Cueball is standing with a stick pointing at the charts.]
- Cueball: The business implications are clear.
- Pet peeve #208:
- Geographic profile maps which are basically just population maps
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