Nieman Foundation at Harvard
HOME
          
LATEST STORY
O, a meaning!
ABOUT                    SUBSCRIBE
April 10, 2012, 12:31 p.m.
LINK: animalnewyork.com  ➚   |   Posted by: Joshua Benton   |   April 10, 2012

Joel Johnson, veteran tech blogger and new managing editor of Animal New York, makes the case that comments aren’t just [pick one: abrasive/abusive/nonsensical/useless] — they’re bad for business. Along with the usual complaints, there’s this:

But here’s the new thing: I’ve had two separate discussions with friends who run mid-sized internet properties — we’re talking high hundreds of thousands to millions of unique users a month — and they’ve both recently completed heavy analysis on their traffic and come to the somewhat shocking conclusion that the people who actually read comments are a small fraction of one percent of their entire readership.

I’m not talking about people who comment, which is an even smaller percentage. I’m talking about people who read comments, the supposed traffic-and-revenue generating nebulous “community” that supports nascent internet media publications and make all that engineering and moderator staffing worthwhile. Less than a percent. And if you measure the number of people who actually scroll to the end of a post and read all the comments, it’s even less.

Unsurprisingly, comments are closed on his piece.

Ken Fisher, founder of Ars Technica, concurs with the estimate:

(Worth noting that Ars puts its comments on a separate page from the stories themselves, requiring an extra click.)

Show tags Show comments / Leave a comment
 
Join the 50,000 who get the freshest future-of-journalism news in our daily email.
O, a meaning!
Fifty years ago, with humanity about to reach the moon, The New York Times gave a poet a corner of the front page.
Who wants to share government content? In recent European elections, not many people
Plus: How college students evaluate fake vs. real news, and an algorithm that doesn’t just identify fake news but explains why.
Newsonomics: It’s looking like Gannett will be acquired by GateHouse — creating a newspaper megachain like the U.S. has never seen
A combined GannHouse (Gatenett?) would own 1 out of every 6 daily newspapers in America. The goal? Buy two or three more years to figure out how to make money in digital.