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We like getting traffic, and we get a lot of it. You know, the Editor & Publisher, or Neilsen net ratings, which is the one we pay most attention to, typically puts us in the top 10 among newspaper Web sites nationally. So we love it when people see our content. That’s great.

Our fundamental model is not driven by traffic. It’s trying to be as essential to the conversation of Washington insiders, people who live and breathe this, whose careers depend upon it.

That’s a rather small audience. Our core audience is kind of at the center of the circle. That’s the one we care about.

And that’s not chasing traffic. That’s not chasing a huge number. But for the readers who matter most to us, is does our content matter to them? Is it indispensable?

If we can answer that with a yes, then we’re succeeding. If not, or somebody else beats us to it, then we’re not.

John Harris, Editor in Chief for Politico (via soupsoup)

This is hogwash. Harris can suggest that their editorial objective is to be relevant to insiders, but if the business model is only to target them, then he can take away a good 17.5 million of their 18 million pageviews a month and the thing still works financially. Which it doesn’t.

It’s easy to suggest that you don’t care about traffic when you have plenty of it. And it’s disingenuous. I’d like to see Politico work with the 500K or so pageviews they’d have a month if only insiders read it.

And I say that as someone who’s done an audience-based niche website before and made it work. (Dealbreaker had high dollar CPMs because we targeted a small group— young male investment bankers—and got them.) But no site that’s getting the traffic Politico gets is using a niche model. 

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