Checking in on the wonk wars

Ezra Klein and Nate Silver. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak/Randy Stewart)
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Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight and Ezra Klein’s Vox.com, the twin-star explanatory journalism sites that launched within weeks of each other earlier this spring, are now rounding out their first few full months.

As the hype has simmered down, the content has begun to do the talking. 

So how are the two biggest digital launches of the year doing thus far?

According to internet traffic counter ComScore, Vox.com pulled in 3.7 million unique visitors across platforms in May, its first full month of existence. Its rosier internal Google Analytic numbers, provided to Capital by a spokesperson, showed 6 million multi-platform uniques in May and 14 million pageviews.

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It was a fairly significant uptick from April, during which Vox.com was only a destination for three weeks. According to ComScore, Vox saw 2.3 million multi-platform unique visitors in April.

Meanwhile in May, ComScore had FiveThirtyEight at 2.2 million unique multiplatform visitors. ESPN's internal numbers, based on readings from Omniture and provided by an ESPN spokesperson, showed the site garnered 2.8 million uniques in its second full month.

Launched March 17, the vision for FiveThirtyEight’s first full month is a little murkier. In April, ComScore pegged the site at 476,000 unique visitors between desktop and multiplatform. A ComScore spokesperson said that though the site may have seen mobile traffic, there was not enough to meet the company's minimum reporting standards. An ESPN spokesperson told Capital that the number was way off, but declined to provide internal numbers for unique visitors during the month of April, preferring to speak in pageviews.

“Based on our numbers from both Omniture and WordPress, FiveThirtyEight received close to 10 million pageviews in April, 2014,” the ESPN spokesperson said. “These numbers are scaling pretty well from the previous incarnation of FiveThirtyEight, when they were about 1.5 million during a comparable period (April 2012) at the NYT – and we’re very encouraged by what we’re seeing for May and June.”

That Vox.com came out ahead of FiveThirtyEight in May could perhaps be attributed to the former's tendency to use its explainer model on trending and timely issues. Silver and company haven't seemed to put as high a premium on covering the news cycle topics so far. That may change of course, and there are the results of his Burrito Bracket yet to consider.