There are different ways to measure popularity online. Some say pageviews; others say hits. In this case, we're looking at something a little different.
What stories from 2013 caused people to click through from other sites, or come to us from a search engine? What we found are not necessarily the absolute most popular stories on the site, but the top landing pages of 2013. In other words, if you normally come to the main page first, these don't include you. These are the stories that attracted the most non-regulars...and I hope turned some of them into regulars in the process. (This list does not include popular posts from other years, like the eternally retweeted list about Firefly's Chinese curses.)
If you know the Internet well, many of these will not surprise you. But a few might.
When Melissa Molina pitched me this list, I didn't necessarily recognize it for the goldmine it was. My only thought at first was, "Oh, thank god she thought of a superhero angle we haven't done before." Her inclusion of unexpected non-superhero choices like Archie became the hallmark of all her subsequent lists that I've most enjoyed.
Every post on My Little Pony can be counted on to generate discussion, especially if it involves something other than the fact that they're toys for little girls. So the moment I got an email that Tasha Reign was making pony inspired porn, I did know we had something big. And not just in your pants.
It took a while to get this article just right, but once we did, it hit big. The one thing that's almost as popular online as porn is an argument, especially one where all sides have strong loyalties and won't back down. Anime's pretty popular too, which is why I later recruited Brian Hanson and Mike Toole to Team TR over Twitter, a decision that has been one of my smarter ones, all in all.
Fast food reviews were controversial at first, but I always knew they'd hit eventually, and it turns out breakfast tacos were the thing to do it. That, and the revelation that Taco Bell's supposedly proprietary mix of orange juice and Mountain Dew was simply them giving you a shot of OJ in a cup and saying, "Take this over to the soda fountain to fill the rest up."
Japan, vaginas and junkfood. It's a social misfit's trifecta of obsessions. Ooh, and people got upset that I didn't hide the bread and label it NSFW, even as some insisted it wasn't supposed to resemble vaginas at all.
Tasha Reign's first appearance on the site, and her second on this list - I see why OC Weekly hired her for a regular column. Sometimes I wonder if my interviews get read; in this case, there was no doubt. Long may she Reign. I also learned stuff about Japanese taboos.
I liked Heroes of Cosplay, and didn't think it was terrible. But when you write for me, you don't have to agree with me - you just have to make a coherent and entertaining argument, which Brian Hanson certainly did as he demolished Syfy's miscalculated ode to dress-up. He did it so well, I proceeded to make him watch Fangasm. I think he still might be sore about that.
You can't possibly be surprised by this one. Can you?
In which Asher Cantrell rooted out all the secret nudity and alcohol lurking behind stray pixels. Or as we call it, "The Lord's Work."
And the number one story of 2013 for casual readers was....