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How Huffington Post's Clever Traffic-Generation Machine Works

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the learn-the-truth-about-squandering-asbestos-viagra dept.

Google 165

Hugh Pickens writes "Frédéric Filloux writes that traditional newspapers that move online are losing the war against pure players and aggregators because original stories are getting very little traffic due to the poor marketing tactics of old-fashion publishers. Meanwhile, aggregators like the Huffington Post use clever traffic-generation techniques, so the same journalistic item will generate much more traffic. Here's an example: On July 5th, The Wall Street Journal runs an editorial piece about Mitt Romney's position on Obamacare and the rather dull and generic 'Romney's Tax Confusion' title for this 1000-word article attracted a remarkable 938 comments. But look at what the Huffington Post did: a 500-word treatment, including a 300 words article plus a 200-word excerpt of the WSJ opinion and a link back (completely useless) but, unlike the Journal, the HuffPo ran a much sexier headline: 'Mitt Romney is 'Squandering' Candidacy With Health Care Snafu.' The choice of words for the headline takes in account all Search Engine Optimization prerequisites, using high yield words such as 'Squandering' and 'Snafu,' in conjunction with much sought-after topics such as 'Romney' and 'Health Care.' Altogether, this guarantees a nice blip on Google's radar — and a considerable audience : 7000+ comments.""Huffington Post has invested a lot in SEO tools and will even A/B test headlines to random groups. 'I was told that every headline is matched in realtime against Google most searched items right before being posted. If the editor's choice scores low in SEO, the system suggests better terms,' writes Filloux, adding that original stories are getting very little traffic due to the poor marketing tactics of old-fashion publishers. 'Who can look to the better future in the digital world? Is it the virtuous author carving language-smart headlines or the aggregator generating eye-gobbling phrases thanks to high tech tools? Your guess. Maybe it's time to wake-up.'"

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7000 comments (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40590015)

but not a single frosty piss.

Only the SEO Part Is True (5, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 2 years ago | (#40590027)

First concern is that a comparison of 938 comments at The Wall Street Journal versus 7000 comments at The Huffington Post means nothing to me. Some sites attract more vocal readers and when you cater to one side or the other you're going to get a lot of stupid comments reiterating the same thing. I'd also wager that The Wall Street Journal is trying to target the online demographic of their paper readership that are used to reading the paper the old fashion way: if you wanted to comment, you wrote the paper. Just because internet citizens don't have the patience to read 1,000 words so they don't comment doesn't mean you experienced less traffic. You could just as well argue that the sites had the same exact readership but 7x the amount of "readers" got through the article with enough stamina left to comment at The Huffington Post.

I agree that The Huffington Post is doing much better search engine optimization. That part is true because when I google for a news item they somehow will beat out even the AFP in my search results. And I do think that gets them more traffic. But I don't think counting the number of comments means anything at all. Even as a liberal, some of their titles disgust me so there's no question they are poking and prodding readers into commenting more.

Lastly, ever since The Wall Street Journal put up that arcane paywall, I don't think I can even read the comments let alone click a link to go there and see anything. Even if it's an Op-Ed they are practically gutting themselves while aggregators feed off their remains.

using high yield words such as 'Squandering' and 'Snafu,'

How exactly are those "high yield words"? They just seem more memorable and inflammatory to me which (surprise surprise) nets them 7 kilocomments.

Re:Only the SEO Part Is True (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40590077)

Even if it's an Op-Ed they are practically gutting themselves while aggregators feed off their remains.
 
Yeah, because they're doing so poorly compared to sites like, let's say, Slashdot. [/sarcasm]

Re:Only the SEO Part Is True (2)

WhiteHover (2679613) | more than 2 years ago | (#40590083)

It works like Slashdot then. And noone reads anyone elses comment. As illustrated by my post and the total ignorance of that huge wall of text.

Re:Only the SEO Part Is True (1)

nospam007 (722110) | more than 2 years ago | (#40590351)

"It works like Slashdot then"

Exactly! A lot of dupes and the comments number raises.

Re:Only the SEO Part Is True (1)

unitron (5733) | more than 2 years ago | (#40590993)

Oh, they read each other's comments. (and then the claws come out)

They just don't bother to actually read the article.

Sound familiar?

Re:Only the SEO Part Is True (4, Informative)

Troyusrex (2446430) | more than 2 years ago | (#40590111)

Moreover WSJ is a pay site, and not a cheap one by any means. In contrast HuffPo is free. I'm surprised that HuffPo only got 7 times as many posts.

Re:Only the SEO Part Is True (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40590127)

Lastly, ever since The Wall Street Journal put up that arcane paywall, I don't think I can even read the comments let alone click a link to go there and see anything. Even if it's an Op-Ed they are practically gutting themselves while aggregators feed off their remains.

Moreover WSJ is a pay site, and not a cheap one by any means. In contrast HuffPo is free. I'm surprised that HuffPo only got 7 times as many posts.

Now that you mention it, it was asking a bit much to read the entire GP post.

Re:Only the SEO Part Is True (1)

azalin (67640) | more than 2 years ago | (#40590117)

I agree that comment counting is completely useless as a measurement. I also think that comments on the Huffington Post are somewhat worth less than those in the WSJ, because of the different signal to noise ratio (large group of random visitors vs fewer but informed WSJ readers).
Sexing up headlines was always a tabloid thing and is somewhat frowned upon in serious papers. I don't think regular readers would appreciate reading 'Mitt Romney is 'Squandering' Candidacy With Health Care Snafu' in the WSJ.
Search engine position, or unique visitors used to be the numbers to aim for for good reasons. SEO is important though and I think many others, could learn a thing or two about this from the HufPo - both in the Do and the Don't department.

Re:Only the SEO Part Is True (2)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 2 years ago | (#40590559)

Sexing up headlines was always a tabloid thing and is somewhat frowned upon in serious papers. I don't think regular readers would appreciate reading 'Mitt Romney is 'Squandering' Candidacy With Health Care Snafu' in the WSJ.

This is the sort of thinking that I think is killing the papers. I agree with you 100% if this were a traditional paper, but in the online realm it costs nothing to publish the same story with multiple headlines targeting different groups. WSJ could have a "Yellow Journalism" headline (or headlines) to grab search engine hits and a respectable headline for their subscribers.

Re:Only the SEO Part Is True (2)

timeOday (582209) | more than 2 years ago | (#40590995)

I hope, and even think likely, that people will wise up to trolling headlines. I know I'm sick of it, and trying not to click on headlines that are a question, or a tease that doesn't indicate what the news actually is. I quit CNN.com over this lately, after reading it since the day it came online.

Re:Only the SEO Part Is True (4, Insightful)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 2 years ago | (#40591295)

It won't happen - trashy headlines predate the internet and are a time-tested way to get attention.

Re:Only the SEO Part Is True (1)

Jawnn (445279) | more than 2 years ago | (#40590765)

Oh, yeah. Now there's an assertion crying out for substantiation if ever there was one. So WSJ readers are better informed just because they are WSJ readers, eh?
Wait for it... [citation needed]

Re:Only the SEO Part Is True (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40591075)

You have obviously ignored the multitude of assertions made on Slashdot, that patrons of particular media outlets are smarter/more informed/less informed/etc. , which have gone unchallenged because the assertions agree with the inherent left wing slant of Slashdot.

Re:Only the SEO Part Is True (1)

azalin (67640) | more than 2 years ago | (#40591193)

Maybe because they visit a specific website with a clearly defined focus group. The very same holds true for other special interest groups. I would expect a lot more insight in a discussion among readers of "science", "nature", "nejm" or even "tackle & bait" on a topic from their paper, than I would from group of more diverse/random readers. The HuPo targets a very wide audience, whereas the WSJ caters only a very specific focus group of regular readers.
I'm not saying (as you seem to imply) that wsj readers are generally more informed, but they are probably more interested and therefore more informed on economics (why else should they want to read that paper).
Imagine the comments on a fly fishing article in "tackle and bait" and then imagine the comments to a similar article in the HuPo or the NYT. Which group would probably be better informed on average?

Re:Only the SEO Part Is True (2)

poity (465672) | more than 2 years ago | (#40591425)

HuffPo is an echo chamber not unlike Hannity forums, or every comment-enabled site linked to by Drudge. There's no way but up for the quality of readership of those sites.

Re:Only the SEO Part Is True (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40590967)

Typical HuffPost headline: "Romney Stomps Kittens, Bush Cheers, Boehner Crys".

The HuffPost site is one giant troll.

Re:Only the SEO Part Is True (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40591667)

That's right. It is a troll. Everyone knows Romney doesn't stomp kittens, he takes chainsaws to them!

Re:Only the SEO Part Is True (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40590305)

Another thing to account for the comments: you need to create an account at the wall street journal to comment, while you do not need to at the huffington post. Many people (including my self), do not like creating accounts

Re:Only the SEO Part Is True (1)

satanclause (2626589) | more than 2 years ago | (#40590373)

You don't have to create an account to READ the Huffington Post, but you do have to create an account to COMMENT.

Re:Only the SEO Part Is True (1)

ganjadude (952775) | more than 2 years ago | (#40591281)

yes and no, if you are using facebook or any number of services you can auto login and comment with said account, so while yes you need an account, the majority of the people these days have some sort of account somewhere that huffpo accepts.

Re:Only the SEO Part Is True (1)

eventi (88410) | more than 2 years ago | (#40590535)

The reason comments/shares/engagement are important is because the way people find news is shifting to social. SEO is still important because news on TV and Radio (and read over the shoulder of the guy in the subway) necessitates searching for the article when you get yourself online.

Disclaimer: I'm root@buzzfeed.com - Jonah Peretti (Huffpo's technical co-founder) is our CEO

Re:Only the SEO Part Is True (-1, Offtopic)

john29 (2676023) | more than 2 years ago | (#40590563)

Yes seo is very very important for any traffic generation leading to our website. http://price-specifications.com/ [price-specifications.com]

Re:Only the SEO Part Is True (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40590923)

Why does your site even exist? Who are you publishing anything of value to? Why shouldn't your post be modded down as completely irrelevant to the discussion, as it seems trolling doesn't even measure into the overall equation?

Re:Only the SEO Part Is True (2)

wvmarle (1070040) | more than 2 years ago | (#40590703)

There is one problem I have with searching for news using Google: knowing what to search for. I have no idea what's happening in the world, other than what I get from news media such as the newspapers, the TV news, the radio news, and the like. This site gives me quite some news about IT related issues. Only when you already know what's going on, you can start searching for more information on those specific topics.

SEO for news articles is nice, but it is secondary only. For example, as long as no-one knows that there were elections in Greece, no-one will search for the results. And we still need journalists to compile those results, and explain to the rest of the world what those parties stand for and how those results may influence our daily life.

Also those aggregator sites live and fall with the underlying journalism. Without journalists reporting on issues, there is no news to aggregate for them. And all that "citizen journalism", the idea being that everyone reports on their own blogs what is happening in their neigbourhood, is not going to work either: the problem is that someone would have to dig through those thousands of blogs to find the one important news item. Automated aggregators can't do that.

All serious news companies, including the WSJ, do just that. They have people walking on the streets, searching for interesting bits and pieces of news, searching for links between them, and trying to get the big picture which they then write down in a generally comprehensible manner for the rest of the world.

Re:Only the SEO Part Is True (1)

mspohr (589790) | more than 2 years ago | (#40591471)

News.google.com

If we're judging articles by comments... (4, Insightful)

sohmc (595388) | more than 2 years ago | (#40590057)

Their use of SEO not-withstanding, judging articles by the number of comments generated is kind of like judging the performance of a car engine based on how load the stereo gets.

Controversial topics will get many more comments than topics about boring stuff. Hell, comments with horrible grammer andd skeling mystakes will get more comments than the actual story.

And yes, I realize the irony of posting this in the comments section of Slashdot. ;-)

Re:If we're judging articles by comments... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40590105)

Judging articles by the number of comments generated is kind of like judging the performance of a car engine based on how load the stereo gets.

You only thing that's a bad thing because you have a rubbish car stereo.

Re:If we're judging articles by comments... (2, Funny)

azalin (67640) | more than 2 years ago | (#40590163)

Their use of SEO not-withstanding, judging articles by the number of comments generated is kind of like judging the performance of a car engine based on how load the stereo gets.

Controversial topics will get many more comments than topics about boring stuff. Hell, comments with horrible grammer andd skeling mystakes will get more comments than the actual story.

And yes, I realize the irony of posting this in the comments section of Slashdot. ;-)

...and the irony of the skelling mistakes in a rant on bad grammar and spelling.

Re:If we're judging articles by comments... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40591407)

Um, woosh?

Re:If we're judging articles by comments... (1)

ceriphim (1530579) | more than 2 years ago | (#40591409)

How the hell did this get modded to +3? Whooooooooosh...

Re:If we're judging articles by comments... (1)

hendridm (302246) | more than 2 years ago | (#40591417)

Their use of SEO not-withstanding, judging articles by the number of comments generated is kind of like judging the performance of a car engine based on how load the stereo gets.

Controversial topics will get many more comments than topics about boring stuff. Hell, comments with horrible grammer andd skeling mystakes will get more comments than the actual story.

And yes, I realize the irony of posting this in the comments section of Slashdot. ;-)

...and the irony of the skelling mistakes in a rant on bad grammar and spelling.

I don't think that he is oblivious to the irony given the specific placement of said errors.

Re:If we're judging articles by comments... (1)

poity (465672) | more than 2 years ago | (#40591479)

I think he's making the point that trolling is a art.

Re:If we're judging articles by comments... (1)

thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) | more than 2 years ago | (#40591519)

Annnnd ... whoosh, unless I miss my guess.

On a related note (3, Insightful)

OzPeter (195038) | more than 2 years ago | (#40590067)

I was listening to NPR last night and heard this debate program (originally from April 2012):
 
  When It Comes To Politics, The Internet Is Closing Our Minds [intelligen...aredus.org]

Re:On a related note (5, Insightful)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | more than 2 years ago | (#40590119)

While I agree somewhat with that, what is closing our minds MORE than the Internet is the closing down of true debate. Right now mainstream political debate consists at two "sides" yelling talking points at one another and not acknowledging proven facts as they come to light. You don't make any progress when facts are ignored.

Re:On a related note (1)

OzPeter (195038) | more than 2 years ago | (#40590177)

Part of the debate was whether that divide was caused by things like the internet . In particular it centered around social filtering coloring the results returned by google and hence dishing up information that you agreed with and hiding what you didn't agree with. I didn't hear the whole thing so I need to go back and listen to it from the start.

Re:On a related note (0)

ATMAvatar (648864) | more than 2 years ago | (#40590235)

It probably contributes, but it's very difficult to argue the contribution of Murdoch's media empire in eliminating honest discourse isn't the true initiator. Everything has snowballed from there.

While on that topic, I am a little surprised that no one so much as questioned the possibility that the WSJ made no real effort to promote this article. They were purchased by NewsCorp, and this is an article critical of Romney. I'm surprised the article was even released.

MSNBC (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40590827)

I could say the same thing, from MY point of view, about MSNBC/ABC/CBS/NBC/PBS.
In YOUR opinion, FOX is "biased". In MY opinion, the alphabet networks are biased.
I have ABSOLUTELY no problem with the mainstream news networks, they can say anything
they want, report it anyway they wish. My right, as a citizen is to either watch it or not watch it.
That is how it works. The problem I have with some liberals (and conservatives for that matter)
is some on BOTH sides of the political isle is they want to RESTRICT what is on tv/radio/print/internet.
I hate to use a well worn phrase, but, the minute you start restricting "speech", you start down that
slippery slope. It has to be an all or nothing thing. I don't care for porn, rap music, or about 80% of
the garbage out there, but, I have the CHOICE to NOT listen/watch it. I would rather have that choice,
than what the alternative would be.

Re:MSNBC (1)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | more than 2 years ago | (#40591037)

All networks are biased right now. Everyone loves to focus on the left/right bias, but if there is no real left/right bias then there is a corporate bias.

If anyone here has never read RT I would suggest you do so. I think it's safe to say *they* have a bias as well, but it's non the pro-corporate bias that every US network has.

Re:MSNBC (1)

sycodon (149926) | more than 2 years ago | (#40591203)

I agree.

Well, except for the part about not liking porn.

But it is clear that the internet and the rise of social sites that cater to particular viewpoints is a driving force in the Balkanization of politics.

When you have sites like the Daily KOS, Democratic Underground and Free Republic where allegiance to a view point is either explicitly or implicitly required to participate in that community, alternative viewpoints are few and far between. You even see that here on Slashdot often when perfectly valid and reasonable comments with non-conformists views are modded into oblivion.

Re:On a related note (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#40591601)

It probably contributes, but it's very difficult to argue the contribution of Murdoch's media empire in eliminating honest discourse isn't the true initiator.

Where was there 'honest discourse' before?

Murdoch is a dick, but twenty years ago the media was almost exclusively left-wing. I rarely remember anything that approached 'honest discourse' unless you mean two lefties arguing about whether the state should control everything or just steal 95% of our income in taxes.

Re:On a related note (4, Insightful)

azalin (67640) | more than 2 years ago | (#40590193)

That used to be the job of journalists. To point out errors, or outright lies and demand answers with as little bias as possible.

Re:On a related note (1)

Jawnn (445279) | more than 2 years ago | (#40590791)

That used to be the job of journalists. To point out errors, or outright lies and demand answers with as little bias as possible.

So..., what? You're saying that journalists are doing something other than impartially reporting facts these days? I am shocked.

Re:On a related note (3, Informative)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | more than 2 years ago | (#40591123)

No.. I think he is saying that they used to be active B.S. filters. They don't do that now... they basically just are megaphones that quash coverage of anything that isn't part of their corporate agenda. I am not sure whether that quashing is active or just a factor of the fact that most of these journalists are "true believers" when it comes to the corporate-mode of thinking, but I am sure it is happening. What gets emphasized in U.S. media is so much different than what get emphasized in other media around the world (minus maybe the U.K., but they still do a better job than what we do here).

Re:On a related note (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40591297)

That's why it was a sad day when Glenn Beck left Fox News, what with all his demanding of answers to all sorts of interesting questions from political players.

[:-)]

Re:On a related note (1)

sycodon (149926) | more than 2 years ago | (#40591483)

I believe that the fall of Journalism began with Walter Conkite, coming out against the Vietnam War after the Tet Offensive, proclaiming the war "lost" when by military standards it was a total disaster for the North.

Only in the arena of public opinion was the Tet Offensive successful, aided greatly by the single most respected journalist abandoning professional objectivity and publicly taking a position against the war.

Re:On a related note (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40590203)

The issue I have with what you said is that everybody has their own set of facts which can't be disputed.

And, let's be completely honest about it, mainstream journalism is less journalism these days than a circus sideshow. Even David Gregory said that his role as "moderator" on Meet the Press is not to ask questions, but rather to provide a platform for talking point delivery. (The relevancy of Meet the Press and the other Sunday talkers is a whole other matter.)

Re:On a related note (2)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | more than 2 years ago | (#40591221)

I think that's a horrid part of today's political thinking... the idea that everyone has their own truth. That's B.S.

Both political parties believe that they can advance their own version of the truth. One side is worse than the other, but it's still in both parties. And that's insidious...

Quality? (3, Insightful)

SJHillman (1966756) | more than 2 years ago | (#40590069)

But which one had better quality?

I'll gladly go to a site with 50 comments making a quality discussion and just read without commenting rather than going to a site with 5000 comments, most of which are people that never read the article or are completely offtopic.

That said, I don't know why the hell I'm on Slashdot.

Re:Quality? (2)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 2 years ago | (#40590227)

I'll gladly go to a site with 50 comments making a quality discussion and just read without commenting rather than going to a site with 5000 comments,

No kidding. 5000 comments means I'm only going to catch a tiny bit of the conversation. If I read the comments at one of Paul Krugman's blog posts or at National Review Online's The Corner, I'm going to see a greater portion of the conversation. That has a bit more appeal to me on general principles. I'm not sure why.

Re:Quality? (2)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#40590317)

No kidding. 5000 comments means I'm only going to catch a tiny bit of the conversation.

That's assuming its a conversation. My local newspaper has a staggering number of comments in the average story... Unfortunately they're basically all paid political astroturfers shouting tired slogans at each other. Even in the stupidest human interest fluff story they somehow, as they're paid on piecework, turn it into political sloganeering.

I'd much rather read 50 up-rated up-voted posts on /. than 5000 political slogans. Imagine a discussion site where the ''discussion" was my signature line repeated 2500 times alternated with "no you're wrong and I'm correct".

Re:Quality? (2)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 2 years ago | (#40590889)

That's assuming its a conversation. My local newspaper has a staggering number of comments in the average story... Unfortunately they're basically all paid political astroturfers shouting tired slogans at each other. Even in the stupidest human interest fluff story they somehow, as they're paid on piecework, turn it into political sloganeering.

I'd much rather read 50 up-rated up-voted posts on /. than 5000 political slogans. Imagine a discussion site where the ''discussion" was my signature line repeated 2500 times alternated with "no you're wrong and I'm correct".

You're correct. At least here I stand a fighting chance of encountering the thoughts of an actual human being. Although, the growing "New Media Strategies" industry is having its impact felt here on Slashdot, too. Some of the journals I read are starting to document this phenomenon.

And it's not just the astroturfers. If you go to the comments section of some big metropolitan papers you might come away with the mistaken impression that our country is filled with the worst sort of hateful racists, bigots and sexists. For example, the Philadelphia Enquirer, which has a couple of writers that I appreciate, and while not about my town, does address the same issues as Chicago. You would never visit Philadelphia if your only exposure was the Enquirer's comment section. It's depressing.

Re:Quality? (1)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | more than 2 years ago | (#40591271)

CNN.com is the exact same way. Don't go to their comments if you don't want your IQ to permanently lower.

Re:Quality? (1)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | more than 2 years ago | (#40591259)

CNN gets thousands of posts on every story, but their post boards still manage to be the latrine of the Internet.

About 60% are "Obama is hitler" or otherwise "LIBURAL OMG!@!!@" posts.

About 35% are posts about how the BHO posts are idiotic.

About 2% are on topic.

Leni Riefenstahl (1)

Vinegar Joe (998110) | more than 2 years ago | (#40590079)

Could have learned a lot from the Huffington Post.

Re:Leni Riefenstahl (2)

azalin (67640) | more than 2 years ago | (#40590209)

Would you care to elaborate? (And yes, I do know who Ms Riefenstahl was)

Re:Leni Riefenstahl (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#40590499)

Would you care to elaborate? (And yes, I do know who Ms Riefenstahl was)

Did you see her (most famous) movie? No one can usefully comment in this thread unless they've seen the movie and heard the story of the movie, or at least the way the story is told now a days.

I almost entirely agree with the OP, I watched triumph of the will for school as part of our holocaust class a decade or two ago, and I think what he's getting at is she was a pioneer/leader in effective utilization of new technology when making movies. Now we don't think of her work as "high tech", because our local TV news has stuff like tracking rails, multiple cameras, etc, but in her time she was a absolute F-ing genius at making appealing content using new high tech film making techniques. There's a reason why she looks kinda "modern"... she was extremely influential... Its not just luck that her film looks modern, its that she had a pretty big part in defining modern film making.

New regimes always have a focus problem where they can't decide if they wanna pretend to be traditional and ancient or be modern and high tech... her film was pretty much the pinnacle of high tech for its era, which makes it all the weirder that her documentary (more or less) was of wanna be ancient stuff. In a way this is also the huffpo thing, well, minus the politics, in that huffpo is pushing the same tired old crap like human interest stories and meaningless political blather that journalists and bards have been doing for centuries, but huffpo does it so incredibly high tech. So not only do you see the similarity in high tech, but you see the similarity in contrast of subject matter vs the tech.

So yeah, you could debate if she'd be learning from huffpo or huffpo would be learning from her, but regardless of who plays the master-apprentice relationship they'd almost certainly be hanging out together...

Kind of like if Werner von Braun were alive, you'd at least like to think he'd be hanging out with the spacex guys. Who would be teaching who is open to debate, but they'd probably be in the same office together...

Both Werner and Leni were pretty cool. Yeah their bosses and bosses bosses boss etc sucked, but thats their fault and not entirely unusual on /. anyway, right?

Re:Leni Riefenstahl (0)

azalin (67640) | more than 2 years ago | (#40590799)

I see your point and I have to agree that to some point the whole "hanging out together" might actually make some sense. That said she was an artist (even though the ideology and underlying message does give me the creeps) and I don't consider what the HuPo is doing to be a form of art. Therefore I still don't see what she could learn from them. Goebbels maybe (though he'd more likely work for Fox News), but that would officially invoke Godwin and also would not be a very nice thing to say.

Re:Leni Riefenstahl (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#40591321)

Therefore I still don't see what she could learn from them.

I don't know how to restate it shorter and more directly... how about "both are/were masters of the process of the management process of rolling out high tech into the infotainment sector."

You don't just invent a nonlinear video editor in 2000 or a camera rails system in 1935 and it just kinda magically deploys itself. Its surprisingly hard to successfully manage the rollout of high tech to the artsy crowd and have it not turn into a complete misapplied disaster. Its not as hard as rolling out to elderly people but its pretty freaking close sometimes. Traditionally both artsies and elderly are similar, both pretty stubborn and (often intentionally) ignorant of tech but the artsies usually break down and accept modernity faster. From a people management perspective pounding the concept of a dramatic camera angle into a bunch of Shakespearean trained theater actors is probably pretty similar to pounding the concept of "the internet" into a bunch of stereotypical chainsmoking heavy drinking 1960s trained journalists.

Re:Leni Riefenstahl (1)

OzPeter (195038) | more than 2 years ago | (#40590221)

Could have learned a lot from the Huffington Post.

Why? She wasn't political at all - no matter how many people seem to think she was in league with the Nazi's.
 
or Do you mean she could have gotten better publicity out that so people knew she had been cleared of being a Nazi (multiple times over), won innumerable libel suits from people claiming she was, and shown how great her artistic ability was?
 
I read a great quote this weekend comparing her to Sergei Eisenstein (Battleship Potemkin [wikipedia.org] )

Work for Hitler and be called a Nazi
 
Work for Stalin and be called a genius

Re:Leni Riefenstahl (1)

semi-extrinsic (1997002) | more than 2 years ago | (#40591455)

History has always been written by the winners. Stalin was an ally in WWII, and Battleship Potemkin shot to fame in the west before "Commies" truly became the bad guys.

I don't know how this is clever (5, Insightful)

joenathan7 (2680255) | more than 2 years ago | (#40590085)

It's internet trolling, nothing more. Huff uses inflammatory words to work people up so they post, it's not constructive or useful it just further creates an Us vs Them mentality. Not really what reporting needs.

Re:I don't know how this is clever (1)

LandoCalrizzian (887264) | more than 2 years ago | (#40590215)

Exactly Correct. The use of sensationalist headlines is the reason Fox News claims to be "Fair & Balanced", Sara Palin can get away with "Death Panels" and CNN trolls it's viewer by re-writing headlines to see which SEO wording gets the most hits. The truth is boring and tedious get used to it and you'll be better for it.

Re:I don't know how this is clever (4, Insightful)

Sez Zero (586611) | more than 2 years ago | (#40590303)

I admin I've fallen for this trap a few times-- seen the salacious HuffPo headline in a sidebar somewhere and clicked it. Unfortunately, their traffic-generation machine always makes me feel like I've been tricked and that the headline isn't really representative of the story. Now if I see a sidebar headline links to HuffPo, I just ignore it, knowing that I've saved myself some disappointment.

Pathetic (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40590103)

It's nice to see yellow journalism making a comeback. I guess it was too much to hope for for the center left to hold itself to a higher standard...

Re:Pathetic (2)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | more than 2 years ago | (#40590135)

The only standard in corporate journalism of any type (HuffPo included) is number of eyeballs sold to advertisers. People think we still see solid debate from the 4th estate... and they are completely wrong.

Yeah, that's humans for you.. (2)

axlr8or (889713) | more than 2 years ago | (#40590107)

Just look at those ads on the right of your 'gmail' account. Stuff like, "Other women hate her." and "Language professors hate him." Really? That's marketing prowess? Like I'm gonnuh click on any of that shit. I don't read from the Huff, by the way.

Re:Yeah, that's humans for you.. (1)

arth1 (260657) | more than 2 years ago | (#40590141)

Just look at those ads on the right of your 'gmail' account.

Of my what?

Does Mitt Romney suffer from quasixenophobia? (1, Insightful)

arth1 (260657) | more than 2 years ago | (#40590113)

I think TFS has his panties in a twist, looking for injustice because of personal bias.

Unless I'm all wrong, I doubt "squandering" and "snafu" are words that people commonly Google, so how "high yield" they are is rather irrelevant, and I doubt they'll lead to any higher traffic. I'm pretty sure that "quasixenophobia" is even higher yield (tomorrow, this post may be on the first page result for Google searches for it) , but I sincerely doubt that entering it in a headline will lead to more visitors.

There's no doubt that the Huff gets more visitors, but that could just be because it's more popular in the first place, and that Google pushes it up because of its popularity. I know, amazing concept...

Re:Does Mitt Romney suffer from quasixenophobia? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40590369)

No, but he perhaps is a victim of "Romney dog on the roof 2012 election" SEO syndrome.

Re:Does Mitt Romney suffer from quasixenophobia? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40590579)

You'll be happy to know it's already on the first page. Right now it's in the 8th position. :)

HuffPo took what Drudge does and streamlined it... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40590133)

Although HuffPo is not as inflammatory as Drudge...

Just today, you can glance at Drudge and there's a story about people dying from heat in Chicago, along with a photo of a smug Rahm Emanuel. The implication is that Rahm is somehow involved, guilty in some way, or derelict in his duty as Mayor. And since Rahm is associated with Obama, then he must be guilty in some way as well. It's all very subtle, but the narrative on Drudge is always that everything bad can somehow be tied back to Obama.

Huff in Shock Headline Grabbing Sex Scandal (4, Funny)

coofercat (719737) | more than 2 years ago | (#40590155)

Oh my, I never realised that the average readership of the average media outlet is drawn in by the headlines. That really *is* news. Wow.

Re:Huff in Shock Headline Grabbing Sex Scandal (2)

azalin (67640) | more than 2 years ago | (#40590247)

Is that just me, or do others too overlook comment's headlines? Most of the time I only read them when the post in question seems to be referring to something not existing in the parent or the comment's body, or simply by chance. Not sure which one it was in this case though.

Like comparing mainframes to tablets (2)

Troyusrex (2446430) | more than 2 years ago | (#40590199)

But WSJ doesn't get revenue from comments or traffic flow, they get revenue from subscribers. As a publication about the business environment it's important that they keep articles and especially headlines professional sounding lest they damage the brand. HuffPo is a volume site where driving traffic is the main goal. WSJ has a lot fewer hits but makes a LOT more off of each customer. In fact, WSJ is gaining subscribers in a rapidly dying business so their lack of sensationalism may not drives huge traffic to them but is driving the RIGHT traffic to them.

I really hope it stops working (2)

Scott McGuire (4080) | more than 2 years ago | (#40590213)

Headlines like that, and whole articles too, on Huffington Post and other sites have a kind of breathless, plastic insincerity that I find grating. They are like products designed by committee guided entirely by focus groups. I hope it only works at driving traffic to them now because the web is still new enough to enough of the public that the culture hasn't evolved defenses against this kind of manipulation. I'm imagining some earlier days of advertising where "9 out of 10 doctors agree ... " could make people think "Well, I'd better change toothpaste right now!" and I hope the Huffington Post style of writing will soon sound just as lame.

And that's why I hate marketing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40590229)

Language is the fucking language, having to "treat it" and to "dress it" for your audience may atract eyeballs, but it brings the writer down to the level of the iliterate reader. In this world of sales is everything, it has become impossible to write freely. I don't care who is doing the censorship, if it is the Latin-American dictator of the '70s, the Chinese dictator of today, the Soviet political officer of the '50s, or some accountant looking at generated traffic. Censorship is censorship, and to do it because it makes one more money is no different than to do it because it gives one more power.

or maybe.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40590237)

HuffPo just has more readers willing to post comments than WSJ.
Yes. Sexier title gets eyes on a page. They have several "wardrobe malfuntion" title in the sidebars at all times as well.

What's the use of a gazillion comments? (4, Insightful)

no-body (127863) | more than 2 years ago | (#40590255)

Can anyone even partially read those 200/500/1500 or whatever comments (4000) on Huffingtonpost?

Isn't that a deterrent, to stay away from those "posts" - totally useless!

Furthermore, Huffingtonpost lures with catchy headlines and provides ... not much on content, shallow, often frustrating to read those.

It may be clever and create traffic - for what - ads? Aren't ads automatically avoided by viewers, those popups glaring at you before you even can look at the page?

Don't you love all that crap!

Re:What's the use of a gazillion comments? (2)

wvmarle (1070040) | more than 2 years ago | (#40590589)

I've never read the Huffington Post. I'm not that interested in US local/national news, so can't comment on that site specifically. But 7000 comments - that's terrible to wade through.

For all it's shortcomings, I enjoy reading discussions on /. for two basic reasons: 1) threading, 2) moderation.

I have read discussions on many other sites, but this is the only one that I know that is using moderation and where it really works. I'm regularly reading news online on volkskrant.nl (a major Dutch newspaper), I almost never read the comments because there are lots of trolls, flames, etc. that don't add anything intellectual to the discussion and on /. those comments would be modded down soon enough. There are good comments too, but too much crap to wade through. Also they're a flat list, no easy to read threads. Even 4chan reads easier than that for the simple reason that they have threads.

Slashcode is free, and I really think many of those sites should look into taking the discussion part from it. It's by far the best that I've seen so far (no not talking about the code, but the results).

Re:What's the use of a gazillion comments? (1)

no-body (127863) | more than 2 years ago | (#40591045)

Yupp! Slashdot rocks in comparison to other's. It definitely has some bias, but what hasn't? They're doing a great job for years - kudos to them.

I follow some other forums but a - moderated and b - interface sucks, no comparison to /.

Just hope that /. interface is not patented and can be used elsewhere ;-)

Re:What's the use of a gazillion comments? (1)

metrometro (1092237) | more than 2 years ago | (#40591597)

HuffPo's comment system most closely analogous to a role playing game. You earn status and level up based on feats, crowd interaction and persistence. Like D&D but the dungeon is Washington and the only weapon class is snark.

What has /. come to? (1)

eventi (88410) | more than 2 years ago | (#40590271)

When you don't notice that Jean-Louis Gassée is a co-author

who care's about comments? (1)

alen (225700) | more than 2 years ago | (#40590273)

I remember years ago people used to write letters to the newspaper and the TV station some of which were printed or read on air. very few people cared about them.

these days the same kinds of people leave a comment on the story online. 99% are junk, a tiny few interesting to read. either way at 7000 comments no one is going to read them all. what's the point?

people pay to read the WSJ, HuffPo is free and ad supported. For all we know the people who read the WSJ don't care about leaving a comment no one will read.

it's like G+. there are a few internet celebrities on there like Mike Elgan. as a time killer/break i'll read the posts and leave a comment and sometimes argue with people. its completely useless and just like /. half the time i won't read the story. but Mike is all giddy about how his stories are getting so many comments.

Not only that, Huffington Post cuts/pastes (5, Interesting)

OS24Ever (245667) | more than 2 years ago | (#40590277)

Huffington Post is one of those sites I avoid because they mainly cut/paste the entire article and don't reference the original site. A few times I've followed the link I've had to play google detective for a few minutes to find the original article. Just seems shady and with the news of how little to not they pay the people who write for them I stay away from them.

Race to the bottom (1)

SirGarlon (845873) | more than 2 years ago | (#40590321)

TFS seems to be taking the position that a 300-word article that generates a lot of traffic is better than a 1000-word article that generates less traffic. Arguably true for the publisher, but less so for the reader.

One thing I've noticed about blogs and Web news in general is the tendency toward short articles that can be written in an hour or less. Such articles are usually unsatisfying and fairly uninformative.

Making online news sources be more like that won't advance the legitimate role of the media, which is to inform the public.

Slashdot title is a bit weak (1)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 2 years ago | (#40590387)

"HuffPo Rapes WSJ using Microsoft Apple RIAA MPAA Warrantless Wiretap Body Scanners" would surely get more responses.

Not traffic generation (1)

Hentes (2461350) | more than 2 years ago | (#40590389)

This is simple sensationalism. Traffic generation means using bots to read your articles.

The Daily Mail's technique... (1)

nitehawk214 (222219) | more than 2 years ago | (#40590521)

Or they could just have every sidebar link accompanied by a picture of a mostly naked celebrity.

All our base are belong to u! (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | more than 2 years ago | (#40590527)

(insert picture of Romney)
"Is in my campain, squandering my snafu"

HuffPo stories/comments/photos (0)

moeinvt (851793) | more than 2 years ago | (#40590565)

Yes, they're good at writing sensational headlines to appeal to their liberal/Democratic readership base. Among their many other talents, HuffPo is skilled at getting unflattering photos of their 'enemies'.

As for the comment boards, I found them to be awash in trolls, full of sniping and insults, largely devoid of serious and insightful discussion and generally difficult to read. Attempting to participate was even more frustrating. It's like a vast echo chamber where any contrary opinion or argument, no matter how logical, is met with a deluge of insults, accusations and talking points. You can tell by looking at the number of "one liner" comments. Even worse, the comments containing the most clever insults tend to get modded up. I gave up trying to communicate with those people after a few months and ~100 comments.

The /. discussion boards at least tend to generate comments with some substance. Don't waste your time trying to communicate with the nitwits at HuffPo.

Re:HuffPo stories/comments/photos (1)

unitron (5733) | more than 2 years ago | (#40591069)

"As for the comment boards, I found them to be awash in trolls, full of sniping and insults, largely devoid of serious and insightful discussion and generally difficult to read."

As a Slashdot reader, you shoud have felt right at home.

Except the comment software is much, much worse.

Though not as bad as WordPress.

Matt Drudge (1)

QuietLagoon (813062) | more than 2 years ago | (#40590635)

His sight is the king of the sensationalist headlines to generate traffic crowd. With him, the headlines are so skewed that they often have only a passing relation to the gist of the article he links to. Then there are the Murdoch tabloid newspapers with their sensationalist headlines, also using the headlines to sell dead trees.

How many readers... (1)

unitron (5733) | more than 2 years ago | (#40591031)

...did they get because Google sent them that way, and how many were regular HuffPo readers who saw it on the main page?

Driving page hits with bad titles, just like /. (1)

T.E.D. (34228) | more than 2 years ago | (#40591117)

Of course all 6,000 extra comments HuffPro got for their more creatively-titled version were along the lines of "this article's title is misleading..."

Huffpost model is also making its way to paper (1)

Mr. White (22990) | more than 2 years ago | (#40591245)

Traditional newspapers are heading in the Huffpost direction as well.

This is an industry where we are watching a race to the top, as well as a race to the bottom - with the middle squeezed from both sides.

Part2 of this week's This American Life [thisamericanlife.org] profiles one company trying to bring the Huffpost model to traditional newspapers.

Yellow journalism (2)

goodmanj (234846) | more than 2 years ago | (#40591497)

What you call "clever traffic generation techniques" are properly called "yellow journalism". These ideas are not new, they've been around for 150 years. Ranting headlines are not a new idea for ancient media like the WSJ or NY Times: they've seen it all before, and have survived for 150 years by rejecting these unethical tactics.

I'm a liberal democrat, and I agree with some of what the Huffington Post is pushing. But what they do is not journalism.

All my Google searches end with ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40591517)

-"Huff Po"

Yo Dogg... (1)

metrometro (1092237) | more than 2 years ago | (#40591575)

I heard you like aggregators, so I got Slashdot to clip a story that clips a story about aggregators.

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