Can You be “objective” and still make a profit?

In the past couple of days the interwebs tech blog community have been rocked by a change in the power structure of what some would say is the most powerful of them all.

Engadget…. AN AOL COMPANY

Mailing cd's to granny and posting about your favorite devices..

In the last two months the “face” of this blog and some would say the heart and soul that has allowed it to grow to a major force in the tech world have been embattled in a fight that could change how Blogs are viewed..  are they running a entertainment business or engaging in real Journalism?

Paul J. Miller, who has been an editor at AOL owned Engadget for 5 years, resigned citing he could no longer work at a company that tried to live the “aol way” which emphasizes  churning out money-making content.   Ok..  we all understand a company like AOL wants to make money just like we all do so whats the issue with that?!?

Do you like anything BUT apple or the latest droid tech news?  Do you want to read about how Verizon is bending over for apple (if so read my blog) or some other tech item that may not be the page view generating machine?   If so then you should have an issue with the “aol way”..

Aol wants posts coming hot and heavy as the more posts that hit RSS readers the more views you get an the more AD revenue you gain (u didnt think this was free did you)  again why not give the readers more information?  Why not keep the writers busy and give the tech junkies fix after fix after fix?

Because you dont have time to fact check…

sometimes those sources arent always right....

so after Miller left we now face another pair of departures…. Star editor  Joshua Topolsky, has quit the company and exiting with Josh is Nilay Patel, Engadget’s managing editor.

So thats the entire public face of the blog..  these three host the Engadget podcast and Topolsky often does the Jimmy Fallon show promoting the site and is the host of the live Engadget show with Miller and Patel as frequent co-hosts.

Both Topolsky and Patel cited a desire to stay in the industry with Topolsky stating he would still be hosting the live show for the time being.  The thought is that they will be either joining or starting a site to compete in the same space as Engadget…

Who better to beat the giant then the ones that birthed him?

While I am sure that these guys have a plan and will do quite well.

Knowing several blog editors and being frequently quoted by startup blogs, I know the hard road to profitability these sites face.  Aol has guidelines in place for their writers and editorial staff and some of them are quite shocking..

  • AOL tells its editors to decide what topics to cover based on four considerations: traffic potential, revenue potential, edit quality and turn-around time.
  • AOL asks its editors to decide whether to produce content based on “the profitability consideration.”
  • The documents reveal that AOL is, when the story calls for it, willing to boost traffic by 5 to 10% with search ads and other “paid media.”
  • AOL site leaders are expected to have eight ideas for packages that could generate at least $1 million in revenue on hand at all times.
  • In-house AOL staffers are expected to write five to 10 stories per day.
  • AOL knows its sites are too dependent on traffic from AOL.com, and it wants its editors to fix the problem by posting more frequently, with more emphasis on getting page views.
New Staff is writing posts daily...

We already know there are pimps in the industry but AOL is running a slave shop and calling it “NEWS”.

pimp dance time....

Focusing on the popular topics and letting hard topics and subjects fall by the wayside, when you do that you remove the heart and soul from those that quite simply do it for the love of the written word.

Bottom line is this..  everyone should earn a living and to expect a for profit company to NOT want to maximize their ROI is insane..

The point is…  You Have A Choice..  Support sites that do it for the love.  If you like a site then paypal a couple bucks a month to the author or something.  heck a dollar from every reader may be the difference from a blog continuing or turning to the AOL way…

Journlism and true thought thank you…

Panda

Advertisements

5 thoughts on “Can You be “objective” and still make a profit?”

  1. Good post, you should check out Ted Leonsis’ book, The Business of Happiness, he was working at AOL and had some issues with the money-first management too.

  2. Excellent read Panda, this definitely seems to be hitting alot of big blogs nowadays.
    Do you recall the GameSpot one? where a reviewer gave a game a bad review, the company of that game complained and the higher ups at GameSpot removed the review, edited it, and gave it a better review, and not long after fired the employee that wrote it.

    It made the guy famous in the game industry for not giving into corruption.

    I had a feeling Engadget was on the same path when i noticed they were biased towards Apple products rather than writing about all the products and giving fair reviews. This is an unfair advantage in the tech industry for Apple too since there cheating there way into legit reviews that make them look good when in fact the reviews are planned or maybe even written by Apple PR themselves.

    I won’t read engadget anymore because i’ve been tired of how things are always weighed into Apple’s favor when it comes to them, I hope the journalists start a better site that i can get my daily news tech from, it was a great site until AOL took over it.

    Great write up Panda, I enoyed it. Thanks!

  3. Great article. I truly hope Paul, Nilay and Joshua band together to start their own blog. They have the talent and the popularity to do so.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s