(Re-posted from the weekend.)
I’ve previously explained the logic behind moving Political Wire to a reader-supported business model. Digital advertising is broken and it’s ruining the online experience.
An anecdote by Walter Mossberg about launching the tech site Recode makes this even clearer:
About a week after our launch, I was seated at a dinner next to a major advertising executive. He complimented me on our new site’s quality and on that of a predecessor site we had created and run, AllThingsD.com. I asked him if that meant he’d be placing ads on our fledgling site. He said yes, he’d do that for a little while. And then, after the cookies he placed on Recode helped him to track our desirable audience around the web, his agency would begin removing the ads and placing them on cheaper sites our readers also happened to visit. In other words, our quality journalism was, to him, nothing more than a lead generator for target-rich readers, and would ultimately benefit sites that might care less about quality.
This user tracking is undermining quality sites. Advertisers no longer care about quality news — or even real news. They just want to follow their targeted readers around the web and put their ads in front of in the cheapest way possible. With virtually unlimited ad inventory, it’s a race to the bottom.
A membership model is a much simpler — and more honest — way to support a site that readers actually want.Save to Favorites