Hit Counters

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Related terms: Kudos
See also: Feedback, Fandom Statistics, Critique
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Hit Counters can be installed on fan pages. It is one way to try to estimate how many readers/views accessed a page.

Hits on AO3

Archive of Our Own defines "Hits" simply as "the number of times your work has been accessed."[1]

It is, of course, much more complicated than that, making the hit counter something of a controversial metric and spawning many discussions about fandom feedback culture.

The phrase "been accessed" could apply to any number of things. By search engines? By an individual fan, visiting once? By multiple visits from the same fan? Are hits a good way to obtain information about a fic's quality? Controversy? Popularity?

Hits also don't necessarily indicate that the fic was read, or how much of it was read.

See much more, including fan discussion about AO3's hit feature at Archive of Our Own and Hits.


Fans with websites and online journals have the ability to use services to see how many "hits" their posts generate.

A fan posted: "In the fanzine days, it was pretty easy to estimate readership. If an editor said they published 300 copies of a fanzine, and they eventually sold all those 300 copies, then you could figure you had, at a minimum, 300 readers. If some individual zine copies got handed around to friends... well then, the readership, however invisible, would only go up from there.

Posting stories to the web, and having counters to gauge readership, creates the opposite assumption. If there's 300 hits on the story, that's pretty much the maximum possible, rather than the minimum. Depending on the sophistication of the counter, you don't know how many of those hits are repeat visitors, as a person might click on a story repeatedly, mulling over whether to read it or not, and never actually getting around to doing so. Or, if the counter doesn't have a way of disregarding your own hits, then you can't be sure how many of those hits are actually potential readers." [2]

Further Reading


  1. Glossary, Archive of Our Own. Accessed May 28, 2018
  2. from Counter Power, posted by Charlotte Frost, October 2013; WebCite