While the world waits with bated breath for Amazon to announce which of its 20 “finalist” cities will be awarded the pleasure of trading its tax base to Jeff Bezos in exchange for the company’s much-ballyhooed second headquarters, a small local news website may have found the answer in its Google Analytics data.
ARLnow.com, which serves Arlington, Virginia, found an unusual amount of traffic to a December story about Arlington County winning an award for its environmentally friendly policies. After doing some digging, the site says the vast majority of the traffic is coming from an internal Amazon site devoted to its HQ2 search.
Does this mean that Amazon has, in fact, chosen northern Virginia, one of the 20 “finalist” cities, as the site for its second headquarters and that, in fact, the web traffic is from Amazon employees researching their new home city?
Or does it mean, in fact, that Amazon circulating the article among its employees was merely part of the research process at Amazon, and that, in fact, Amazon has yet to choose a site for HQ2?
Or does it mean, in fact, that one guy at Amazon pulled up the article for reasons unrelated to HQ2, left his computer on over the weekend, and accidentally bumped something on his desk that landed on his mouse, leading to repeated clicks on the article, when, in fact, it was only one legitimate click?
The Washington, D.C., area has long been rumored to be the front-runner for HQ2, on the basis of three area cities being announced finalists, and other strengths in the area, not the least of which is that Bezos bought a huge mansion in the area last year. It also gives Amazon an east coast base to go with its headquarters in Seattle.
Chances are Amazon will let us know the real answer in due time, but only, of course, until after it’s milked the HQ2 search for all the free publicity it’s worth.