Thursday, May 14, 2009

The Fast Implosion Of Frank’s Perugia-Shock Blog On The Case

Posted by Peter Quennell

[click for larger image]

According to the webtracker Alexa, readers have been departing Perugia-Shock in droves.

Just a couple of months ago, Perugia-Shock was about the 4 millionth site in readership in the world, out of a world total of just over 6 million.

It has since dropped an astounding 1.5 million places, and its three month average is now 5,492,938 in the world. (For comparison, TJMK’s three-month average is 1,953,715 place - and TJMK is less than half as old.)

Many vanity websites run by school-kids in the evenings see bigger numbers than Perugia-Shock. Many bloggers simply give up and go quiet when their numbers tank so abysmally.

Through early last summer, we had tremendous respect for Perugia-Shock, but three main things seem to have gone wrong.

  • It abandoned its high-ground not-for-profit status (TJMK is not-for-profit) and it started featuring money-making advertising on the site; also in other ways it seemed to be becoming a vehicle for the blogger to advance his future, and to make money out of Meredith’s sad death.
  • It moved away from its trademark cool, compassionate and often ironic consideration of the circumstances of the Perugia case; instead it seemed to reflect a growing fascination with one of the defendants, although with the evidence now mounting, that seems to be cooling.
  • It has recently allowed the repeated hijacking of its discussion threads by an off-putting group of slashers and burners, who seem to have little interest in the facts of the case, and much interest in attacks on neutral commentators who believe that Meredith, too, deserves a fair trial.

Professionals in the blog field in New York checked Perugia-Shock out at our request, and they suspect that with the core audience departing so fast, it is already beyond saving. Better to simply fold up the tent, they say, and try to start over based on lessons learned.

The one alternative that might work?  The solution Miss Represented is adopting right now. A closed membership for commenting, and some rules for respectful interaction. Otherwise, Perugia-Shock may soon be down around 6 million.

Right behind two million teeny-boppers.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 05/14/09 at 06:00 AM in Francesco Sforza


After Meredith´s murder, I started to follow the blog, Perugia Shock. Then it was OK. Now it gives nothing as Frank suddenly started to be, in a way some kind of a Candace Dempsey here. Mocking the prosecutors and Italian Law will not help Amanda Knox.

Posted by Sansrivale on 05/14/09 at 07:08 PM | #

Perugia Shock’s loss of credibility is largely attributable to the lack of moderation (in more than one sense) of the comments section. The individual who runs this blog under the name Frank Sfarzo is wholly responsible for this development. A comments section should be moderated or disabled—it is as simple as that. If Frank is too busy with other things to moderate the comments, then he should not allow them. Period.

Posted by Skeptical Bystander on 05/14/09 at 10:03 PM | #

Wicked curses, Pete!!

“....Better to simply fold up the (circus) tent” - good one.

That is one foul board that’s for certain.  I’ve never seen such filth. Lame mistake.

If they went back and deleted all the offending posts only be about 10% would remain - it’s really that bad. 
...and I think we can guess who those participants are.

A special “spell of the day” for this 3 ring clown show:
The Petrificus Totalus (Body-Bind Curse)

Posted by Professor Snape on 05/14/09 at 10:42 PM | #

Frank’s blog gives me a real headache, and that’s not just because of the white on black text. I appreciate English may not be his first language, but even allowing for that his posts are illogical gibberish. “Axis of the hallux” - what is he on about??

His latest post basically says because the prosecution experts concluded the evidence points towards the defendants, they must be wrong. Following that logic, the prosecution can never present any evidence.

As for the comments, it’s like a modern version of Bedlam.

Posted by bobc on 05/14/09 at 10:51 PM | #

Mocking the prosecutors and Italian Law will not help Amanda Knox.  EXACTLY!

Posted by mojo on 05/14/09 at 10:54 PM | #

Very interesting post Pete, the dramatic drop of visitor at Perugia Shock makes sense though. I used to read the blog, and also posted there for a while. I appreciated Frank’s cools reports and ironic remarks, once I actually complimented him   on his sense of humor and his answer to me was something like ” this murder is so sad, a smile may help people to cheer up”. I remembered having read that Meredith had a great sense of humor, must have been that dry British- style irony that I personally love, so I thought there was nothing disrespectful in Frank’s attitude after all. I also thought the blog could have turned into a place where English-speakers had a chance to learn more about the local perception of this horrific murder.

Unfortunately, Frank’s blog quickly took a radical turn. There’s nothing wrong in pointing out police and prosecutors flaws when necessary, but Frank’s posts now seem mostly aimed at showing Knox’s innocence at any cost, by criticizing police and prosecution work even when there’s no reason to do so.

This abrupt change of attitude, and the unmoderated blog-turned into a series of idiotic babble by some hard core internet trolls-have managed to chase away those readers that are concerned about justice for the victim, whose name is Meredith Kercher, not Amanda Knox.

Posted by Nicki on 05/14/09 at 11:33 PM | #

Let’s face it, Frank Sfarzo has never had it so good. His previous attempts at Blogs were a total disaster! His truffles, pasta and wine from Italy blog was a non event, I very much doubt he ever managed to get a single purchase request out of what looked like a very dodgy site. Even if he promised he hand picked the truffles himself!

His other more recent blog about the TV quiz show, the Italian version of ‘Who wants to be a Millionaire’ although still running is just a pathetic blog with hardly any comments therefore very few hits. 

With the Perugia shock blog, he is getting the hits and therefore some revenue. The crude, revolting comments is what he depends on.  It didn’t take him long to realized what kind of people the FOA were and how much better he could do, profit wise, if instead of a pro-victim blog he changed it to a friendly FOA blog.

Frank depends on the disgusting comments made in his blog, the cruder and the more perverted the better for him, what else could he offer? Has he ever written anything that we haven’t read in the proper media? NO.

He is no investigative reporter, he is just a guy that saw an opportunity to make some money by just providing the comments section of his blog as a playground for all the perverts and strange group of people that are attached or get attracted to one of the suspects Amanda Knox!

He of course couldn’t care less about the victim or her family, justice, or any of the other suspects. He is obsessed with Knox and whatever benefit he can get out of her.

Posted by Jools on 05/15/09 at 12:40 AM | #

It has taken a dramitic u-turn on its stance and now seems to be a mirror image of Candace Dempsey’s diabolical blog.

Has the PR train reached Frank as well, like I suspect it did with Candace? Let’s hope the next stop isn’t True Justice!

Posted by mikeyverve on 05/15/09 at 03:00 PM | #

Not in a million years! But you know that. We are consumately devoted to Meredith and her heart-breaking but super-important cause, and to repelling the sheer nastiness that exploded from David Marriott’s office and spread like a cancer throughout their own cause.

We do see plenty of signs that they wish they had set up a blog of this kind, to bring out the “truth” about Amanda Knox, but the learning curve for a blog like this one is a long one, and the software we use is sophisticated.

Rule one for blogs that succeed is: Loyalty to your readers. Stick to your knitting. If you disrespect the readers you have attracted (as Frank did) by thinking you can drag them just anywhere, you will end up at the wrong end of Alexa.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 05/15/09 at 03:38 PM | #

Suggested title for Amanda Knox’s post-trial memoir:
SO WHAT IF I DID IT, chirpily ghostwritten by the FOA’s own Candace Dempsey.

Posted by mimi on 05/15/09 at 11:34 PM | #

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