Off the Media
Off the Media
A few months ago I wrote an article for a website where the standard agreement for writers is a bonus incentive on social shares for the article. This was both usual, and unusual for a lot of reasons.
First, most websites don’t pay writers anything. A good portion of writing online is done for exposure (which a lot of people laugh at but content marketing can be hugely lucrative and I encourage my clients to do it). So that was slightly unusual. What was more standard was the fact that for a site that did pay, the payment was partially contingent on page views (there was a bonus for how many social shares the article got).
Tipping the Scale
It doesn’t take Noam Chomsky to see that the state of media is bad.
But in 2011, I had the sense that most people didn’t fully grasp the absurd lows the system was spiraling toward. So I set out to illustrate it.
And in the process surprised even myself.
When I sold my first book of media criticism to Portfolio/Penguin, I decided to use the launch itself as an experiment. I even wrote some of the experiment into my book proposal and subsequent deal.
Along with their announcement of a $85 million series E funding round earlier this week, Tumblr offered some statistics on their explosive growth. Most impressively, perhaps, was the fact that the site now does 12-13 BILLION page views per month, an astronomical increase over this time last year.
But these numbers are perhaps even more staggering: Tumblr has only around 13 million users and 30 million monthly unique visitors producing this massive pageview count. The people who spend time on Tumblr, it seems, are highly-engaged, and that’s what convinced the venture capitalists from Greylock Partners, who led this round, that real revenue and even profitability, is just around the corner. “They will succeed in working through that over the next months and years,” John Lilly, a partner at Greylock, told Reuters.
It’s Ad Week in New York, so expect a lot of announcements geared to catch the attention of the buyers who spend big bucks for top brands. The Huffington Post kicked things off with a bang, announcing that it had broken one billion pageviews for the first time this past this past August.
The growth is paired with a push by Arianna Huffington to craft verticals around every type of audience. The site has recently launched HuffPost Gay Voices, HuffPost Weddings and HuffPost High School, among the more than twenty new categories it has brought online since being purchased by AOL.
International expansion is also ramping up. Ms. Huffington was in Brazil when the whole Crunchfund drama erupted and is planning more trips abroad in the coming weeks.
There was no indication in the press release of how much of this new traffic comes from AOL’s considerable network. If the growth is simply the result of the new partnership, then it’s less interesting than new organic highs.
As Kara Swisher points out, HuffPo is also acquiring companies and continuing its hiring binge, taking full advantage of its big new bottom line.