Last year was interesting for this industry, and as I write this, Feral Jundi is celebrating 10 years of publication! Yep, my first post on this blog was January 22, 2008, and I am still here! (and alive… lol)

But back to the year of our lord, 2017. Last year my traffic decreased even more on the site. A big part of that is my transition to Facebook and Twitter. But mostly the work I do on Facebook, which has been fantastic. I get to interact with tons of folks in this industry through that page and it has been fun. But like I have mentioned in the past, I like to keep the blog going so I can get into subjects that are unique and not being talked about in the main stream media. Or if it is being talked about, at least I can correct the record or let folks correct the record that are not being heard in the debate or discussion.

My overall stats for the blog for 2017 is 49,550 visits and 67,617 page views. For 2016 I had 83,436 visits and 109,102 page views. Definitely getting less traffic on the blog. But that was expected and these statistics do not reflect the massive amount of traffic and interest I am seeing on Facebook.

The health of the blog is alright considering I am using an older theme. I have had a few repairs done last year, and those involve code and what not. My theme is not being updated anymore, so until I find something that is more appealing than the current one, I will keep repairing the old one. And actually, I have stumbled upon some outstanding services that can repair WordPress blogs pretty easily for a good price. WPfixit is a group I highly recommend. They are fast and they get the job done.

Now for the data… The US, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and South Africa were the top five countries that folks came from that visited the blog. France and Germany were on the top five in 2016, but not this year.

My next graphic is devices. Not much change in ratio from 2016. Just less traffic. Mobile devices are still king and everyone uses their smart phones to read stuff. I find myself using my iPhone to check out Facebook and Feedly all the time. I try to keep the blog operational for mobile use, and that can be tough sometimes when there are bugs in the code. I use WPtouch Pro for converting my blog into a mobile friendly site.

The top mobile devices used were Apple products like iPhone. No surprises there.

For search, or how folks find the blog, here are the numbers. Organic search is still the top means of people finding this site.

Under the social category, here are some of the primary spots that folks come from to get to my blog. Of course, Facebook is king, followed by Twitter and LinkedIn. Reddit is another interesting source that I really haven’t leveraged that much. If there is an interesting PMSC topic that pops up, and folks bombard that thread, then a Feral Jundi mention in that thread could get a lot of views and possible clicks.

Another deal to point out is Wikipedia. Feral Jundi has been referenced in Wikipedia entries and I imagine I will continue to get traffic from that stuff as more people use FJ material as a source in their research. I have also seen FJ referenced in publications, which is kind of neat as well.

Let’s now get into content. For 2017, I have not posted a lot of stuff, but it is still cool to see what was the most popular. It is usually a mix of posts from this year and years past, and like in 2016, my Job Tips post is still the most popular. Which tells me that folks are hungry for information on how to get into this industry. That meshes with what is going on at Facebook. I get guys and gals contacting me all the time wanting answers to questions about this industry. Either they are in the process of getting a job, or wanting to apply. That is the majority of my emails as well. So there is still a strong interest in gaining employment in this industry.

The other top article of interest was the Erik Prince Plan For Afghanistan post. That had a ton of interest in 2017 and certainly was a benchmark for this industry. It is the first time in the modern era that a private citizen was consulted and asked to draw up plans for replacing US troops in Afghanistan with private contractors. The longest war in the modern era for this country, might I add.

I called this historic, because I never thought I would see the day that the leadership of this country would actually consider using our industry to effectively end US troop involvement in Afghanistan, and at a fraction of the price! It would have included a private air force and a 5000 man mentor/advisory contractor force, and it would have been quite the effort.

Unfortunately, the Erik Prince plan was not implemented and President Trump decided to go with his General’s plan. We will see how that goes….

For demographics, my readership is 45.85% female and 54.15% male. Kind of surprising that there is still a strong female interest in this industry. Women are making it into contracting, and even security contracting, and are absolutely interested in this stuff.

The age of my readers are mostly younger, with the 25-34 year old range being the top group that visits. No surprises there. They are probably the ones clicking on the Job Tips post as well.

Now onto the posts that I liked last year and that were significant. The Chennai Six or the AdvantFort contractors that had been rotting away in Indian prison since 2013 were actually freed last November. What a fantastic surprise and gift to the friends and family of those contractors for Christmas.

Now, if we can only get the Raven 23 or Blackwater contractors freed from their nightmare. We will see how 2018 goes and I am hoping that this new administration will right the wrongs of the prior administration when it comes to this case. I know the friends and family are still actively involved in this deal and you see articles now and then about the status.

The Erik Prince plan was my favorite post and John Stossel even did a cool segment on the good that Blackwater and PMSC’s do in this industry.

I am still following what China and Russia are doing with PMSC’s and I wrote a couple posts dealing with that aspect of the industry. Honestly, I think they look at what the west has done with contractors and they feel that contractors could be used as a proxy force for what they want accomplished as well. It’s just with countries like Russia, that you might see their contractors do a little more that defense related stuff. Meaning those groups are gaining offensive capabilities and experience. Russia and China also have a lot of control over their companies, so it is still questionable how ‘private’ they really are.

The Somali Project was a fun review and I recommend watching this documentary if you have an interest in Somalia and the PMPF, and how Roelf Van Heerden and company trained and mentored them, check this out. It also goes into how Lodewyk Pietersen died.

Finally, the private air force scene kicked it up a notch with Draken International getting some huge Red Air contracts with USAF. I think Claire Lee Chennault of Flying Tigers fame would be jealous. Or imagine John Boyd flying as a contractor pilot for Draken and being a private Top Gun guy? lol Pretty cool.

The big news items that happened last year is ISIS has lost some serious territory in Syria and Iraq, and we had some heavy duty hurricanes and fires that did a lot of damage in the US. In both cases, contractors have been called upon to help. Puerto Rico has seen some armed security work, and in Iraq, CENTCOM showed contractors numbers increased 37 %! Mosul and other cities will require a lot of clean up work, and munitions clearance.

Some things to look out for in 2018 is a possible contract in Iraq to run a toll road. If that goes through, that will be interesting. I expect to see a slight increase in the use of contractors, both in Iraq and Afghanistan. The US military presence is not going away in both of those countries, just because they do not want to lose territory gained in Syria and Iraq, and they are sending in more folks to try to take territory back from the Taliban in Afghanistan. There is also other commitments throughout the world where contractor support will be needed. Where the US military goes, so do the contractors…

MARSEC is another one to watch in 2018. According to recent reports, world wide piracy is down, but the typical hot spots are picking up again. Gulf of Guinea, Somali and Southeast Asia have become more active. Armed guards on boats will not be going away anytime soon.

Mergers and Acquisitions have chilled out a little. We might see some more activity in that area now that there is a new Tax Plan in the US, but so far I have seen anything.

On Facebook, I continue to write about my favorite subjects like Mission Command and EBFAS. The private space industry is fun to watch as well. I am always interested in the operations of other companies outside of this industry with the hopes of finding any lessons learned that might be applicable to our industry.

Finally, I want to give a big thanks to those of you that have followed Feral Jundi over the years and have given your input. A blog is nothing without it’s readers. On the FJ facebook page, it is fun to get a PM from folks saying things like ‘man, I was following your blog back when I was in Iraq’, or ‘your blog really helped out when I was trying to get a job’.

This blog has been immensely valuable and fun to me. From the networking to the deep dives into business and war, I have really gotten a lot out of this enterprise. If you have an interest in writing and have some cool ideas you want to share, then blogging could be your thing.

It is also interesting that on Facebook, folks are blogging on the pages. Or at least that is how I view it. They share articles and give opinions about those articles, and entertain their readers or friends with lively comment sections. FB is like hanging out on a hyper blog network, and that is why I have been hanging out there a lot. Here is to a new year and new opportunities for all. –Matt