Saturday, July 11, 2009 Traffic Comparison with

Rave - The Day Scientology broke 20,000: "As they say in Hollywood, any publicity is good publicity. The Church’s exposure has been enhanced by websites who are dedicated to exposing the organization, and newpapers running articles in series about the Church. This has helped produce a public awareness of the Church and the existence of its philosophy. While the recent advertising campaign doesn’t mention critic’s efforts, it builds on earlier exposure."

Indeed, go to There you will see the stats, and can compare them to

This is a comparison over a month:

Over six months:

This is the effect of the new advertising campaign ran by the CoS, combined with the hard work by dedicated Scientology critics who helped make the name of Scientology familiar to the public while at the same time discrediting themselves by their own ridiculous accusations.

This is the graph over the maximum period:

We can see here the effect of the work accomplished by Anonymous in February 2008. However, after Anonymous wasted their potential and became irrelevant by failing to moved beyond the level of the "old guard", Scientology's stats were down and they had to find new ways to advertise themselves, which they found and which seems to be working incredibly well.

As I said so many times, "criticizing" Scientology through outlandish accusations is only going to accomplish two things: discredit yourself and raise interest for what you are unfairly attacking.

In this way, critics are truly a great ally for Scientology and the CoS should thank them.


Anonymous said...

What accusations by Anonymous are outlandish?

Bernie said...

As far as I could see when I was following all this more closely, Anonymous just picks up and repeats and refers to the "old guards" arguments, many of which are myths that I address on my website. Check my website. The address in in my profile.

Anonymous said...

Hi Bernie,

I exchanged a few e-mails with you around march last year and am still anonymous. I occasionally check your site for your 'other look'. It's always refreshing and sometimes you actually convince me. I have stopped complaining about the abortions for example. Although far, far more traumatic it isn't fundamentally different from the abuse of celibracy (spelling is prob wrong, catholic priests not being able to marry). However, most of the time, I think you are viewing the cult with a too positive, still-indoctrinated view...(sorry)...

Anyways, that's not why I write this comment.

Over at WWP, Anon is making a list of ex-members that have spoken out against Scientology.

I wonder, do you want to be on that list? On one hand, I think you belong there. On the other hand, you know we want to use that list for our own PR purposes...

If you want to be on that list, please post your full name. I don´t know if this something your are willing to share, but I wouldn't want to let you pass on the opportunity.

Oh..also, as you know Anon can be unpredictable, so I can't guarantee they'll accept you on the list. But I am sure you are able to see that possibility as an interesting experiment :-).


Bernie said...

Hi Anonymous,

Thanks for writing. I must admit sometimes I am a bit harsh on critics and anonymous and that's not really fair on the moderate ones. I apologize for that. When someone like you write in I feel a bit guilty and a bit silly for some of the things I said. I guess I am taken by the heat of the passion, even if really I find it hard to find real interest on these topics anymore.

It is also true that sometimes I tend to be sympathetic to Scientology out of reaction in what I view as unfair attacks. Most of all we must not forget that Scientologists are human beings like all of us, who sincerely seek the truth and the good, and we must not forget also that Scientology does have positive aspects. I think it is impossible to really understand the negative aspects without understanding the positive ones.

So anyway thanks for your comment, it helps me put things in perspective a bit. Maybe I'll remember that next time I'll post some entries.

As for me being on the list, I don't mind being on it but indeed my real name is not something I am willing to share, which is why I always used "Bernie" as a pseudonym for the last 13 years I have been online. Seems like maybe I am more anonymous than anonymous, haha :-) But anyway thanks for thinking of me.

Best of luck,

Anonymous said...

You make a lot of assumptions in your piece that I don't think are supported by the facts.

Certainly Scientology is spending lavishly to promote themselves and their website. It's difficult to tell how profitable this is for them though; someone going to their site doesn't necessarily translate into customers for the them.

I don't think anyone in Anonymous is disappointed that there is increased traffic to the Scientology website. Indeed, I think many would consider it a good thing. From a strategic point of view, it's called "bleeding your enemy dry." Forcing Scientology to spend more to drive traffic to a website that provides virtually no information about themselves is a good thing and hopefully will hasten the end of their enterprise.

Even your blog provides more comprehensive information about Scientology than their site.

Beyond that, you compare the Church's stats to that of's. However, there are numerous other sites available for critical information about Scientology, including Wikipedia (which comes up before either one of the others in a Google search).

When you say all Anonymous does is repeat information from the old guard, it shows that you haven't been paying much attention lately. Apparently you're not even reading your own blog (an entirely forgivable offense).

If you had, you would have known that new information is coming out all the time about the Church. For example, the significant expose in the St. Petersberg Times. Even if you were to dismiss the entirety of their articles as sourced from disgruntled exes, you have Tommy Davis' admission that a "reign of terror" was in place for years that Scientology's international base of operations in Hemet and that staff members were beaten dozens of times there. Doesn't sound like the sort of Church I'd like to join.

I would submit to you that there are other significant metrics worth looking at beyond comparing the traffic of two websites. Numerous sources within the Church say that many long timers are defying dictates and reading stories like the St. Petersberg Times. More and more members are leaving. Given the Church's focus on soliciting donations over book sales and providing services, it seems unlikely that even a (entirely hypothetical) steady stream of fresh recruits is likely to offset the lost revenue of these defectors.

Bernie said...

Thanks for your comment.

Maybe it's a sign that I am a sort of old old guard in that I use as the critical reference, in the sense of the web site that was most referenced. WWP however is probably drawing more traffic nowadays, but a big part of that comes from the fact that it is a forum and thus draws constant repetitive visits.

I agree that the focus of interest is today with anonymous, not with the old guard. Last time I lurked in ARS it was almost deserted compared to WWP. Most of the new ideas and actions come now from that part of the public that got involved after the Feb 2008 events. So I would agree with that part.

However, Anonymous built on that old guard basis and, in my opinion, were not able to take it a step forward, apart of course for the masks and the caeks and the luz thing.

In particular, even though they made an attempt at it by making a distinction between the organization and the credo,they were not able, in my opinion, to distinguish between criticism and discrimination. In that,they followed pretty much the old guard and is, always IMO, where its failure lies.

I take as an important example their attitude towards Germany. Instead of protesting against what is according to me obvious discrimination, they encouraged and supported it and pretty much mimicked the attitude of the old guard and, before them, of anti-cultists.

Had Anonymous made a masked protest against that discrimination while keeping on criticizing the CoS, it would have been an entirely different story and I would have agreed that a real new blood is flowing through. In my opinion it would have marked an innovative criticism that reflects upon itself and takes care not to become an instrument of oppression itself.

As for the Miscavige beating thing I have for once agreed about this possibility at, based on context and on testimony of top ranking ex-members who have some amount of credibility in my eyes - only to receive a comment that had nothing to do with my blog entry and that was attacking me on it for God knows what reason. I don't mind the comment as I am used to it and I am in favor of people expressing themselves, but it did strike me as odd that even when I agree with critics some people seem to understand nothing about what I am saying.

Of course Wikipedia comes in front of most other things so it may be more popular now than today, but it also is not supposed to be representative of a critical viewpoint. It also remains to be seen if for controversial matter, it actually is a useful resource. Their recent,quite scandalous, decision to ban prominent representatives of both sides is certainly not going to arrange matters. But OK, it really is a very popular media, and well deserved too for non-controversial matters.

So I still think that is still the best comparison in this matter, and that there is something symptomatic in this huge leap in traffic, even if, as you say, it does not necessarily mean new members.

At the time when I was more active with my blog I closely followed things like Katie Holmes premiere and Cruise's Walkyrie, then, Travolta's son death.

In all these events, and other not necessarily focusing on celebrities, I did observe that the public at large just did not follow critics. There is a sense of "Scientology is weird but if people want to follow it it's their choice so what's the big deal" - and I don't think this comes from ignorance of available criticism. I think it comes from it not being credible - and this is the ground for the huge leap in stats once the CoS succeed in striking some cord in rather high-quality and well-made advertizing.

Just my opinion, of course.


Anonymous said...

It's "chord," not "cord."

And Anonymous NYPA.

I guess you've checked Alexa and saw that WWP had surpassed and recently.

Interesting that you decide which sites are credible and which ones aren't. I took this latest fact as evidence that WWP is coming into it's own and the public (however you want to define it) is coming to them as a source of info.

Anonymous said...

Regarding your comments about Miscavige's alleged beatings, let's take a look at what you actually wrote. You give yourself quite a bit of credit for taking on this issue, but all you wrote were that you "think there may be elements that point to it being true." You add that IF you were a Scientologist, you would be concerned about the allegations "and ask that full light be made on them."

Presumably, since you're not a Scientologist, you're not concerned about them? Being outside the church with a blog apparently puts you in no position to opine on whether or not the allegations should be investigated?

If that's supposed to be some sort of condemnation, it's half-hearted at best.

Apparently you're unable to read or process any critical comment about what you blog. The comment had to do with a fact related to the situation, one not in dispute, which was the Church's use of confidential auditing files to attempt to discredit former members. It's apparently a practice you don't have a problem with, since you essentially had no response or comment.

I think you're wrong about the level of awareness regarding critical information. I seriously doubt that public at large is aware of the more critical information. How could they be? They wouldn't be getting that information from the general media, which has largely been cowed because of the litigious nature of the Church. Only now are we beginning to see the press begin to expose some of the information that is available to them. This is due in large part to critics and especially Anonymous, who have worked diligently to provide documentation to back up the charges they make.

I think you're last point is off as well. Critics don't expect the public to "follow" them (I don't even know exactly what that means). They DO hope the public may pay attention to some of their well-founded warnings about what they're getting into with Scientology (i.e., a grab for their wallets). Apparently this message has been getting across, if the across the board downward trend of the Church's stats are an indicator (a momentary spike in web traffic in response to an expensive advertising campaign notwithstanding).

Bernie said...


There are quite few things I don't agree with in your comment but, honestly, I don't find it worth spending time debating them.

Anyway,take a look at that comment:

"I seriously doubt that public at large is aware of the more critical information. How could they be? They wouldn't be getting that information from the general media, which has largely been cowed because of the litigious nature of the Church. Only now are we beginning to see the press begin to expose some of the information that is available to them. This is due in large part to critics and especially Anonymous, who have worked diligently to provide documentation to back up the charges they make."

You seem to have a very high idea of the work done by Anonymous. The press has been out with the worst allegations for years, more than 50 years in fact. Anonymous dig out and leaked some information that was not available before. That's true. But these have had virtually no impact compared to the information that has been available before and its effect on the public and the press.

Call it a different perspective if you will, but I think you really need to look out of your anons circles and down through recent history. My web site can help you with that :-)

Anonymous said...

No offense, but you website is practically worthless in terms of providing useful information (though, as noted previously, it's still better than the Church of Scientology's official site).

That's fine though; your site is largely devoted to propounding your opinion, which can be largely summed as Scientology good, critics bad.

I really don't think you can compare the critical information in the St. Petersberg Times article to pieces like Life Magazine's article or even the Time Magazine cover story. Former executives coming out and telling stories of being personally beaten by Miscavige is just qualitatively different than a story on whether or not the tech works, or exploring the church's cult-like nature.

It's not just Anonymous itself working to develop information, it's the protests themselves, which have largely helped to diffuse the Church's ability to pinpoint and attack individual critics. There's safety in numbers, and why I can't speak to why people like Rathbun and Rinder felt like now was a time for them to speak out, I would think the current environment may have facilitated their decision.

Anonymous said...

Hi Bernie,

The first Anonymous poster here, regarding the list of ex-members. I am afraid Bernie will not do - unfortunately the list involves full names. only.

Regarding your critisism of anonymous, it's a tiny movement in the bigger scheme of things, but I do think what they are doing is important.

Someday in the next few years there will be another big news item, maybe the asbestos on the freewinds will be 'discovered' by media, maybe the European parliament connects the dots between Belgium, France and Germany and issue statements along the lines of Scientology probably being a criminal organisation in other countries too.

At that point, the fact that there is a protest movement as well, will help (in my opinion) to allow a large swathe of the population to conclude pretty quickly that Scientology is not just weird (which is the current average opinion) but actively dangerous.

But we'll see.

And Anonymous becoming like the old guard. I am afraid that that is because the OG was right.

I, like most anons, realize there are positive elements in Scientology, otherwise they wouldn't be as succesful as they have been. But this usefull foundation is thoroughly intertwined with thought control techniques (which keeps people on the Total Bridge to Freedom-scam).

The problem is that I am convinced that it was designed as a mind control experiement by LRH. Add in the Nazi-rethoric in the History of Man and the heartbreaking stories of the kids you sometimes read, and I cannot help to arrive at a very simple conclusion: Scientology is a sinister invention.

The fact that LRH added some useful elements in the mix, only makes it more sinister in my view, because it makes the trap more effective. This is why critics develop the tendency to swipe this element under the carpet. And although this makes critics rabid (in your point of view), I am of the opinion that the average member of anonymous has a better understanding of Scientology than you do.

And regarding Germany: I must admit I think the French/Belgian approach is more effective. However, Scientology has bullied the IRS into providing the cult with an illegal tax-break (I know this is quite a statement which includes several elements that need to be 'proven', but Google Sklar vs IRS for a start).

Now put that in the context of Germany's past. This has lead to a consitution, which places defending a democracy against organizations with a totalitarian mindset above certain personal freedoms.

And although I´d wish they´d focus on the fact that Scientology is a scam rather than a totalitarian organisation, I can appreciate that their approach is lawful both according to their own constitution and international laws.