Web site's visitors come from all over

Monday, January 31, 2005

If you have a question, e-mail factorfiction@semissourian.com or call Speak Out (334-5111) and identify your call as a question for "Fact or fiction?"

Q: I recently saw an advertisement for semissourian. com that indicated more than 700,000 visitors visit your Web site. How do you know that number is accurate? That sounds way too high for this area.

A: "Tracking Web site statistics is a notoriously tricky business," said semissourian.com webmaster James Baughn. "Because of the anonymity that the Web provides, it is impossible to directly count the number of people who visit a site. However, it is possible to count the computers that connect to a site by looking at their IP numbers. The IP number uniquely identifies each connection to the Internet. In 2004, more than 700,000 unique IP addresses logged onto semissourian.com.

"IP numbers do pose some problems, however," Baughn said. "To bolster security, some companies will arrange their networks so that all employees sit behind the same IP number. However, people at home with a dial-up connection are assigned a different IP number each time they connect. In the end, most webmasters believe that these factors cancel each other out and give us a reasonable idea of the number of people that visit a site.

"Certainly, 700,000 does seem like a huge number. However, this figure includes visits from all over the country and the world. People may have arrived from a search engine, or from following a link to a particular story. We know, for example, that over 10,000 people followed a link from the Trans-Siberian Orchestra Web site to our review of the concert.

"So when you add up all of this Web site traffic, semissourian. com really does have this large of an audience," Baughn said.

Q: Is it true that Starbucks has been scouting the area to establish a new coffee store?

A: "The Starbucks people in Seattle tell me that they have no plans to build any new freestanding stores in Cape Girardeau or Southeast Missouri," said Scott Moyers, business editor for the Southeast Missourian.

"What the questioner may be referring to is that Saint Francis Medical Center is looking at adding a separate coffee vendor at its new Fitness Plus health center. Rumors have been that it will be a Starbucks. Saint Francis spokeswoman Dana Hukel said the issue is in discussion with a member advisory commission.

Moyers said there are already several places to get Starbucks coffee in Cape Girardeau. Barnes & Noble, HealthPoint Plaza and Lacey's on the Hill in Southeast Missouri Hospital all serve it.

Q: Is it true that there was once a small jewelry store on Broadway named Shaltupsky's? I have vague recollections of being taken there on occasion by my dad.

A: Southeast Missourian librarian Sharon Sanders didn't find any record of a Shaltupsky's jewelry store. But there was a shoe store at 122 N. Main St., which was opened by Morris Shaltupsky in 1914 after he moved to Cape Girardeau with his wife Sarah and children from St. Louis. Born in Grodno, Poland, about 1855, Shaltupsky came to the United States in 1903. Newspaper archives indicate he died Jan. 11, 1953, at the family home on Bellevue Street.

Jon K. Rust is publisher of the Southeast Missourian. He can be reached at jrust@semissourian. com.

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