SEO keeping MSM off DOA

Bloggers and crackpots (is that a redundancy?) love to heap their scorn upon the mainstream media, the liberal elite (Wall Street Journal excluded, of course) of the East and West coasts. Too stodgy, too out of touch with Real Americans. Nobody reads them anymore.

Well, not so fast.

Turns out, if we are to believe Bnet, and I do, the five “major” newspapers in the United States see some of their biggest readership traffic come via the most popular Web aggregators and search engines: Google, Yahoo and Bing. And to prove that I’m not making this up (that is someone else’s job), I’m going to paste up a graphic shamelessly ripped off from BNet’s site. Making the graphic a downloadable GIF amounts to tacit permission to reuse it. [See the terms of my blog written in indecipherable legalese so hard to find that even I don’t know where it is. Of course if BNet objects, I’ll take it down. But that would mean BNet took notice, which is OK by me. After all, this is all a pathetic cry for attention anyway, isn’t it? ]

I don’t know whose bright idea was to let the WSJ slip in with those other bastions of liberalism, but there it is, with fully 30 percent of its online traffic directly attributed to

BNetter David Weir, citing metrics service comScore, says: “These figures, as of September 2009, are some of the firmest evidence to surface to date illustrating the reliance that the big newspapers have on Yahoo, Google and Microsoft to drive their online revenue models.”

What this tells me, beyond how ubiquitous – I just love using that word, “ubiquitous,” whenever possible, even if it’s not appropriate, although it certainly is here … ahem, where was I? –Ahem.  What this tells me, beyond how ubiquitous search engines have become, is that if you have content worthy of an information consumer’s attention, it will attract attention. Eventually. SEO and other processes obviously manipulate the figures to some degree, but repeat traffic is repeat traffic. The Big Five MSM (incidentally, the linked definition to MSM is No. 2 on Google thanks to SEO) of Ye Olde Presse, or YOP, (Sorry, no credible links yet available for this term, seeing as I might have just coined it) have lumbered their way into the hearts and minds of Internet users.

Now all the little, medium and mid-major market media outlets have to do is work out ways to carve their little, medium and mid-major niches. And make money doing it. That, of course, is the tricky part.

Meanwhile, I just learned today of still more of my friends and former colleagues losing their jobs in the media. These aren’t “elite” media Beltway types that certain commentators love to bash. These are decent people who happen to be pretty good writers, editors, artists and photographers. And now they’re screwed.

If something isn’t done to stop this soon, we will witness during this generation the creation of a new permanent underclass. Bright, educated, underemployed. And broke. And people, I am here to tell you, that is f***ed. But I shall save the remainder of that rant for another day.


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