Inside The Web Numbers: Hagerty’s Olive Garden Review

The Internet is a weird creature.

For a few years, the engagement announcement of two people with the last names of Wang and DeCock was’s most-read story ever.

Now the Grand Forks Herald, our sister paper to the north, has Marilyn Hagerty.

Her simple, down-to-earth tone of her Olive Garden restaurant review immediately went viral, being picked up by dozens of other websites, including our own. At noon Friday, the column remained at the most-read story for the day at and by the power of social media sites, the article was posted to Facebook more than 21,000 times and tweeted 14,300 times.

These numbers had me thinking, so I did a little research.

Wang-DeCock had 81,607 views on So far, Hagerty’s column has had 323,000 hits on

  • An average top story on is 10,000 views
  • An average top story on is 4,000 views

This means Hagerty’s article has generated a 7,975 percent increase, while our engagement story garnered a (relative just) 716 percent increase over a typical most-read story.

More perspective

The top day for was March 27, 2009, when it collected 392,836 hits, which was when Fargo was hanging on by a thread to save itself from the raging Red River flood.

Shortly after 2 p.m. Friday, 349,000 people had read Marilyn’s single article worldwide.

With more stories on Hagerty popping up, including one by the Star Tribune this afternoon and another by The Associated Press’ Dave Kolpack, which is now on the AP’s national wire, her celebrity status will continue to rise.

That’s going viral for sure, and the storm isn’t over yet.