Dancing with Drudge, flirting with Fark

A link from Matt Drudge’s drudgereport.com or from Drew Curtis’ fark.com can bring 100,000 or more page views to a news organization’s web site. Marketing people, editors and some reporters send links to Drudge or submit them to Fark, hoping for a green light. Each site is selective, although big breaking news, snarky headlines, goofy antics  — or all three in the same story — will often move an article to one of the popular sites’ homepages. Newsrooms still debate the benefits. With time on site replacing page views as the dominant metric for web audiences, online editors will no longer lust for a tidal wave of 100,000 or 200,000 readers who click and quickly disappear. Mackenzie Warren, who oversees the News-Press website in Fort Myers, Fla., is one of those who has cooled on Drudge, according to this LATimes report, Hot links served up daily:

But Warren says he’s no longer secretly seeking Drudge’s attention. Among other things, links from Drudge skew readership numbers — up one day, down the next — making it difficult to determine ad rates, Warren and his counterparts in smaller markets say. Their advertisers want local readers, not the national audience Drudge delivers, which is more attractive to bigger news sites.

"You’re always flattered when you get linked, but from a business and community standpoint, it doesn’t help," says Barry Cooper, online managing editor for Pilot Online in Hampton Roads, Va.

I still have a fark signon, and I’ve submitted news — and received a green light — as recently as late July (35,000 page views). Once traffic is flowing, there are related links that editors can use to entice some of that fickle audience to stay for at least a short while. Sure, we’re here for loyal readers and our core market. That doesn’t stop an editor’s heart from beating faster to the clicks of a six-figure stat counter.

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