The CIA and FBI weren’t the only ones noticing Russian activity during the presidential election this year.
So did Wichita’s Carl Chance, who operates the websites Wings Over Kansas and Wings Over the World.
Chance, 79, is retired from careers in media and education, and he has a particular interest in aviation.
He started his websites in 1998 to promote aviation news.
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Chance says he regularly checks Google Analytics for his sites in part to see where visitors are coming from. Normally, he says visitors from the United States are the most common. During the three months leading up to the election, though, visitors from Russia were No. 1 for Wings Over the World.
“It’s interesting, and I don’t understand why they suddenly came to that one site,” Chance says.
He says visitors from Russia accounted for about 70 to 80 percent of all visitors to the site.
“Now, not as many are coming to that site,” Chance says.
He says visitors from the United States now account for about 40 percent of the site’s visitors and visitors from Russia account for about 25 percent.
During the peak time of Russian visitors, Chance says a strange ad came up on his Google Analytics page that said “secret.google.com” and invited him to vote for Donald Trump for president.
“Why it was there, I don’t know. It just, it came up.”
Chance says he immediately thought of his Russian visitors.
“I thought hmmm, I wonder if they did this or Google?”
It turns out it was some spam that others reported seeing elsewhere nationally as well.
Chance is left wondering about the visitors, though.
“I didn’t feel threatened,” he says. “I felt like this is interesting. Why are Russians all of a sudden coming here? That made no sense.”
Chance says he always welcomes more visitors to his site, but he remains confused.
“I’m pleased for the added … visitors, but I want to know why they’re there.”