Every time some PR flap blows up in the Church’s face, their reaction and response is both typical and predictable. Regardless of the details or circumstances, their damage control tactics have varied little over the years. However, because of the prolific expansion of internet activity, they’ve added a component to their clunky PR spin machine.
If nothing else, Scientology PR is good at making much out of nothing. Perhaps no better example of this is how they explain surges in their internet traffic. They’d have us believe that this is conclusive evidence of overwhelming public support. While this might indicate gross naiveté and online marketing incompetence, I suspect that it’s just disingenuous deception.
The way the Church celebrates traffic to their org and social media sites, you might get the impression that they equate these visitors as something equivalent to Div 6 walk-in public. Not only would that be a ridiculous notion, the web analytics numbers clearly indicate otherwise.
If you look at the Alexa traffic rankings of some of the individual orgs in major population centers it’s clear that traffic to their main site doesn’t convert to traffic to the orgs worldwide. To put it bluntly, every time Scientology makes the news, curious gawkers flock to the Church’s main website like so many rubberneck drivers passing by a freeway accident. They browse through two or three pages for two or three minutes and then leave.
The Church paints a different scenario. Their press releases imply that visitors come to their website, become enlightened by Hubbard’s wonderful technology, and then contact their local org to buy a book or begin a service. It’s a nice fantasy, but the numbers indicate otherwise. (see below)
|Org||City Population||Alexa Global||Alexa Local|
|COS main site||105,385||US: 23,698|
|Los Angeles||3.884 mil||4,084,625||US: 947,398|
|New York||8.406 mil||6,897,140||No Data|
|Mexico City||8.851 mil||10,082,289||No Data|
|San Jose||998,357||15,140,644||No Data|
|London||8.539 mil||18,035,992||No Data|
|Sydney||4.293 mil||18,035,993||No Data|