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The Drudge Report was one of the first news aggregation sites on the web. Drudge began the report in 1995 as an e-mail newsletter before turning it into a news site the following year. The site became prominent when it broke the news of the Monica Lewinsky scandal in 1998.
The site often features links to a mixture of political news, gossip, weather, and “news of the weird,” reflecting Drudge’s idiosyncratic interests. Drudge has been criticized for being sensationalistic and publishing inaccurate stories, particularly during the 1990s and early 2000s. During Barack Obama’s presidential tenure, Drudge moved increasingly toward racially oriented framing of material.
The Drudge Report is one of the web’s most popular political sites outside of the traditional media, topping 1 billion page views per month in 2012, and it has an exceptional number of repeat visits. The site is extremely influential on the web, particularly because it has been a major traffic driver for traditional news outlets. Drudge’s links often influence political coverage on the web and in traditional media, though some have contended that that influence has waned with the rise of political sites like The Huffington Post and Politico.
The Drudge Report has changed little since its launch: It has maintained the same, simple, black-and-white design, which found criticism and praise in near equal measure. It has also been criticized for using an extensive amount of ad-tracking tools to gather data on users.
Demand Media, founded in 2006, is an online media company that quickly grew to prominence by algorithmically assigning and publishing stories based on user-demand signals, such as search and social media trends. It typically pays authors a low sum of money for these posts, often about $15 per contribution, and assigns posts only when it believes…