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Drudge Generates More News Traffic Than Social Media 216

Posted by samzenpus
from the nobody-cares-about-your-day dept.
tcd004 writes "A report released today by the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism shows that the Drudge Report is a far more important driver of online news traffic than Facebook or Twitter. In fact, for the top 25 news websites, Twitter barely registers as a source of traffic. The report hits on several other interesting findings about news behavior."
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Drudge Generates More News Traffic Than Social Media

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  • by dragonhunter21 (1815102) on Monday May 09, 2011 @10:20AM (#36072232) Journal

    It might just be my connection, but for being such an important site, DrudgeReport.com is one uuuuugly site.

    • Re:Ugly (Score:5, Insightful)

      by tripleevenfall (1990004) on Monday May 09, 2011 @10:26AM (#36072282)

      It beats the hell out of the network news sites, with their pervasive cookies, auto-start videos, and general unwanted flash-a-palooza.

      • From a paranoid (in the best sort of way) viewpoint, sure- but from an aesthetic viewpoint, I can get the headline and many top stories without scrolling from CNN. No such luck on DrudgeReport.

        • Re:Ugly (Score:5, Interesting)

          by tripleevenfall (1990004) on Monday May 09, 2011 @10:58AM (#36072662)

          I would gripe that if you look at either CNN or Fox (or whomever's) website, it's so busy that it's offensive, even after you take out scripts, flash, videos, etc. Simplify. (Maybe just a personal preference)

          My bane lately is the trend toward these major news sites linking to "stories" that are only videos.

          I don't WANT to watch video unless I ask for it. I want to see text. I want to see a version of the information that is quiet and doesn't waste bandwidth or require flash. I want to be able to scan relevant details without clunking through some 3 minute clip just to get the one detail I'm after.

          (sorry. rant over)

          • If you're new to the site, it can be a bit overwhelming, I'll admit. However, for a vet like me (And you have no idea how much it hurts to admit that I'm a Fox veteran) the information is right there. I know what to look for and where to go.

            No excuse, I know, but again, no scrolling.

            • If you're new to the site, it can be a bit overwhelming, I'll admit. However, for a vet like me (And you have no idea how much it hurts to admit that I'm a Fox veteran) the information is right there. I know what to look for and where to go.

              No excuse, I know, but again, no scrolling.

              So, you're saying that the white space contains information? That's something I had always suspected. Thanks for the confirmation.

      • Re:Ugly (Score:4, Insightful)

        by TubeSteak (669689) on Monday May 09, 2011 @11:07AM (#36072760) Journal

        It beats the hell out of the network news sites, with their pervasive cookies, auto-start videos, and general unwanted flash-a-palooza.

        Drudge has a javascript refresh in place, which is how they get their massive page views every month.
        I really hate pointless page refreshing.

        var timer = setInterval("autoRefresh()", 1000 * 60 * 3);
        function autoRefresh(){self.location.reload(true);}

        • They get massive page views from that? Auto-refreshing every 3 minutes? Who sits on the page for 3 minutes?

          (And that's only to get one additional view)

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Anonymous Coward

            It's really impressive when you consider that that code is comment out.

        • What explains their positively massive referral rate, if their page views are grossly inflated? Seems like they must have some real, solid traffic to be driving referrals at the volumes Pew found.

        • by ArcherB (796902)

          It beats the hell out of the network news sites, with their pervasive cookies, auto-start videos, and general unwanted flash-a-palooza.

          Drudge has a javascript refresh in place, which is how they get their massive page views every month.
          I really hate pointless page refreshing.

          var timer = setInterval("autoRefresh()", 1000 * 60 * 3);
          function autoRefresh(){self.location.reload(true);}

          This is not about how many page hits Drudge receives, but how many times someone clicks a link on Drudge that links to another site. Auto-refresh has no effect on that.

          Also, it's not really "pointless" refreshing. The idea is to leave the page up in the background and it stays current. There is no restoring the window on Monday morning and seeing Friday's news.

        • I have to agree the auto refresh is very annoying. It's not like the page is updated every few minutes.
        • by neoform (551705)

          Their CTR must be awful.

    • by alen (225700)

      in the middle in a huge font is the story of the day. the rest of the stories are in the other columns. makes it easy to get a quick read of the daily news for busy people

    • because it is simple, elegant, utilitarian, and spare, like the google front page. it gets the job done without unnecessary showing off

      whenever substance trumps style, i am an ally, even though i hate drudge's politics

      • On a computer rendering at 1440x900 I have to scroll down to see the headline.

        Again, utilitarianism and simplicity are my friends, but when I have to scroll to see the info there are better sites. Fox, or CNN for example.

        (note- this is not an endorsement of the content of Fox or CNN, merely they way they lay out their site)

    • It might just be my connection, but for being such an important site, DrudgeReport.com is one uuuuugly site.

      Really? I liked it! :) Perhaps it can be cleaner, but it's not ugly.

      • Changed my mind, see below. :P I was reading the PBS site.
      • by tehcyder (746570)

        It might just be my connection, but for being such an important site, DrudgeReport.com is one uuuuugly site.

        Really? I liked it! :) Perhaps it can be cleaner, but it's not ugly.

        Yes it is ugly. I've seen it for the first time today (as a non-American I have no great interest in US news sites) and it is like something out of a "build yourself a website in 24 hours" tutorial from the 1990s.

        Google is minimalist, the Drudge Report is fucking agricultural, if that's not unfair on farmers..

    • Wow. Drudge Report is ugly: maybe it's the bold letters, so 90'. Although I am aesthetically retarded, I can tell I don't like the page design. :P

      • by JDAustin (468180)

        Figuring Drudge has had the same basic site in place with almost no changes since the mid 90's (remember, he broke the Lewinski scandal the Newsweek tried to bury), of course the site is a 90's look.

        • by tehcyder (746570)

          Figuring Drudge has had the same basic site in place with almost no changes since the mid 90's (remember, he broke the Lewinski scandal the Newsweek tried to bury), of course the site is a 90's look.

          That is not an adequate excuse.

  • Redirects (Score:4, Informative)

    by AmiMoJo (196126) <{ten.3dlrow} {ta} {ojom}> on Monday May 09, 2011 @10:22AM (#36072250) Homepage

    Don't most links on Twitter go via redirects like bit.ly? In that case I'm not sure how you would tell if traffic is coming from Twitter.

    • by afidel (530433)
      Good point, in addition they only define news traffic as that inbound to big media, I would think that the younger audience of social media sites would tend to skew towards more diversified news sources.
      • by x*yy*x (2058140)
        Even if they go via bit.ly the referrer still shows them coming from Twitter.

        It's a stupid comparison anyway, people go to Drudge to read news (I guess, I've never used it before) and Twitter isn't the same. Also Drudge only contains links to news sites, so there isn't anything else to click on anyway.
        • by tehcyder (746570)

          Also Drudge only contains links to news sites, so there isn't anything else to click on anyway.

          What about all the lovely ads?

    • Twitter's real problem is many of their users are receiving tweets on devices that are not conducive to reading the news, and on devices being held by people who are far less likely to be able / want to read the news anyway.

      Think about it - if someone's preferred method of communication is 160 characters or less, how likely are they to want to read an article?

    • by mjwalshe (1680392)
      no analytics sorts it out - I work for one of the major publishers and some of our "big publishing" sites get a ton of traffic of twitter - the question is does it convert i bet drudge traffic is low quality.
  • I bet PBS gets more traffic from /. today than from Drudge Report.

    Or perhaps not, since nobody will read TFA (which is only a graph).

  • Is the amount of data moved by the site counted or is it the transactions/sessions. The data moved by twitter would be small, but the transaction count would be high.

  • by bigsexyjoe (581721) on Monday May 09, 2011 @10:34AM (#36072376)
    Not only are social media and "web 2.0" overrated, but apparently css is too. Actually the grand champion of traffic drivers is probably good ole' email.
  • by GoNINzo (32266) <GoNINzo@[ ]oo.com ['yah' in gap]> on Monday May 09, 2011 @10:34AM (#36072382) Journal
    Just so we're clear here, a news aggregator site creates more traffic to news sites than a social media site.

    Breaking news: People reading a news site are more likely to read other news sites than people playing farmville, news at 11.
    • Parent makes an important point. Drudge doesn't host any news. It's sole purpose is highlighting content elsewhere on the Internet. The Huffington Post generates far more traffic than Drudge (source [compete.com] (this is debatable, I know)), but the site doesn't drive traffic elsewhere. It will link to another site only for as long as it takes them to copy that site's content and get their own page up to keep you on the HuffPo.

      I'm curious about how they measured this also. Twitter and Facebook drive traffic to lots of p

    • If think first we have to define online news. 'I just got a Prince Albert - PiXieT@P' may not be news that I'm interested in, but his Facebook crowd would likely be thrilled by this nugget of information.
  • by ktappe (747125) on Monday May 09, 2011 @10:34AM (#36072386)
    Everyone I know who is on Facebook is annoyed when I post news stories/links. They all seem to envision FB as being thoughtless fun. Sports posts are fine, what I had for breakfast is fine, people dying in Syria or Exxon buying the fracking rights under their land are verbotten. Seriously. FB is the new vast wasteland, so is it any wonder there are fewer news clicks coming from there?
    • It's been my experience that even the people who post news and political rants, seldom actually want to actually discuss the things they're saying. I had a guy post a rant about a political candidate. When I commented on it, politely expressing an opposing view and asking where he got his information, he first called me names, then accused me of drug-use, then complained about people always thinking they're experts and wanting to tell him how to vote. Finally told me to keep my political opinions to myse

    • I wouldn't call FB a wasteland, I would call it an async cocktail party. Not many people want to be bummed out by the guy with all the global warming crisis news at the cocktail party. It's just not the right venue -- people go to FB for a very specific, personal purpose, which in many cases (I think) bears a lot of similarity to the kind of communication that occurs at cocktail parties (bumping into people who you haven't seen in awhile, 1 and 2 degree of separation conversations, and lots of random tidbit

    • by rthille (8526)

      You've got the wrong group of FB friends... At least for that content.

    • You need new Facebook friends. My wife is connected with a bunch of journalists and she gets breaking news through it before the MSM picks it up. For example, when President Obama announced he was going to speak to the nation a week ago Sunday, she heard about it first on Facebook. Then we turned on the television. But news like this doesn't need a link so the news sites might not have gotten a hit from this.
  • So you know it's concise and up to date :D Nowadays I've got breakingnews.com in its own window. Yeah, it's owned by MSNBC (not that there's anything wrong with it) but you get updates on freshly posted stories from popular news sites as well as twitter posts from journalists. I'm sure they have human editors to filter through everything, but they seem to be actually doing their job since stories and tweets are linked within minutes of going online.
  • The purpose of social media is find out what your friends or contacts are doing, not far-away news.
  • Most people I know with a Facebook or especially Twitter, do updates from an app on their phone. In Twitter's case there are also dozens of desktop apps available. I believe there are some for Facebook as well.

    Traffic measured by hits to a URL isn't giving the whole picture.

  • Of course Twitter refers almost no traffic to news sites - Twitter sends traffic to bit.ly and the like, which then redirect to news sites. To a lesser extent, so does Facebook.

    Looking through the original study, they don't even attempt to address this issue. Remarkably shoddy work.

    • I couldn't determine in the original study whether they accounted for redirectors or not. If they didn't I'm very surprised twitter showed up at all statistically, which makes me suspect that they did. Did you see something in their methodology that suggests or states that they did not account for URL shorteners when dealing with traffic from twitter or FB? If they didn't account for URL shorteners then as you suggest the study is worthless and will create FUD only. Thanks for any references on methodology.

  • How odd it is to see the phrases "Excellence in Journalism" and "Drudge Report" in the same sentence.
  • I say propaganda.
  • If you define "generates news traffic" as "driving news traffic to top Web sites," which the study does, then yes, Drudge is important. But who says those "top news sites" are themselves important? The implication here is that somehow more people use Drudge than Facebook for news, and I think that's debatable! Anyhow, the premise here is weird and reflects some old-school thinking.
  • Table layout... vlines... too many links... an animated GIF (of a bubble-gum machine style police light)... 1997 design at it's best! The best part is that Drudge has kicked most major news outlets in the ass for over 10 years...

  • by ajdub (520241) on Monday May 09, 2011 @01:03PM (#36074040)
    I'm always amused by the comment sections on stories that get linked by Drudge. It's like a freakin' firehose that sprays misspelled conspiracy theories about illegal space alien Obama clones that maraud across the countryside in the thick of night, eating babies and freedom while dropping turds of poisonous socialism that are festering with job eating worms.
  • After OBL was killed there were plenty of news reports about "Who is Osama?" topping the search queries and tweets. I recall one of the teens interviewed about not known who OBL was prior to this news said, "I don't google or search for anything anymore. If I want to know something, I tweet and someone who knows will tell me". Looks the tweeterati considers only stuff about their core group as "news" and everything else something secondary to their self absorbed life. No wonder tweets do not direct people t
  • Anyone remember the slashdot effect, where we would shutdown servers due to all the traffic we would send.

    I guess nerds do not rate the news.
  • Drudge succeeds at the newsfeed game for the same reason Google did as a search engine: Just The Facts, Ma'am(tm). Go to CNN, Fox, Huffpo, whatever and you are bombarded by flashy-blinky-OMGTHEYMAKETHATCOLOR? bits of stuff that may or may not be related to news. And drudge is text, making it easy to view on mobile devices.

    I really don't care if my news site has New and Improved(tm) columns and colors every 6 months. I'm only here for the data, bro.

  • Guy in the cube next to me got zapped when he went to Drudge to verify Internet connectivity. Sure, probably a rouge ad server but we haven't been back since. Drudge denied anyone reported it to him (we did) and also claimed it was a political lie to discredit his site (it wasn't).

    • 3rd party advertisement sites are getting hacked through SQL injection exploits. It turns them into FakeAV servers hosting out that drive-by malware to any website that's a member of these advertisement agencies.

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