There is definitely a lot more to this story than the graph below.  However, this report from Compete.com shows declining web traffic from 4 of the 5 major tech blogs (that I read regularly).  If this graph was the story, year over year numbers are looking ominous.   Techcrunch and Lifehacker both down more than 50% is a drop that can’t be ignored, assuming it’s accurate.

Some reasons why this might not be the whole story:
1. Compete.com’s data is just wrong for general web data – it would be a good bet to assume these numbers are incorrect.  I’ve always found Compete to be off when compared to actual web data.  Most of the time the numbers are lower than the real web stats.  However, I’ve also found the relative positioning between the sites being compared and general increase/declining indicators to be accurate for sites with high traffic.
2.  Mobile traffic is making up the difference, but not being counted accurately – audience analytics companies have had difficulty measuring mobile traffic accurately due to sampling methodologies and challenges getting onto the mobile devices
3.  Access is coming from sources not measured here – RSS and Twitter are delivering enough of the message to keep visitors from hitting the website.
4.  Content is being syndicated and effort is focused on delivering there

The actual reason is probably a combination of these.  However, I would still want my trends pointing in the other direction if I were any of these publishers.  Also, with all of these Tweets, you would think an increasing number would get clicked from non-mobile devices.

One other interesting note is that Techcrunch hides their traffic info on Quantcast.  Why is that?  For competitive reasons?  If things were going great, I’d want the world to know.

And if people aren’t going to these websites for their info as much as they were, where are they going?  Has social media diluted the impact of the largest media vendors, including tech?

What do you think is happening?

NOTE: GigaOm was up significantly in year over year comparison.

Kevin