The corrosive impact of pageviews as the target metric for content websites

From Evan Williams, founder of Blogger, Twitter and Medium:

News in general doesn’t matter most of the time, and most people would be far better off if they spent their time consuming less news and more ideas that have more lasting import. Even if it’s fiction, it’s probably better most of the time… the state of tech blogs is atrocious — its utter crap. Part of the reason a lot of tech blogs are bad is the people writing them don’t really understand what they’re writing about.

The system’s working if there’s great stuff that otherwise wouldn’t see the light of day and/or gets more attention than it would otherwise.

Notes:
(1) The root of the problem is that almost every free, ad supported website optimizes for pageviews. While quality positively impacts pageviews, there are cheaper levers that are far more powerful.This leads to volumes of low quality content, with no attempt to create or surface the “great stuff”.
(2) Hamish Mackenzie calls this “the pageview-chasing linkbaitery of the Web 2.0 era”.
(3) The corrosive impact of pageviews is creating a backlash, with the creation of quality-centric sites like Medium, Aeon Magazine, Next Draft, and Breaking Tech News.

2 thoughts on “The corrosive impact of pageviews as the target metric for content websites

  1. Pingback: How to choose the one metric that matters | A Founder's Notebook

  2. Pingback: Why websites shouldn’t optimize for page views | A Founder's Notebook

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