But the question remains: how do you build a media brand that can contain these particular multitudes? We know that, as people, we all like a mix of high and low brow stuff, but do we want our publications to reflect our own particular mix?
BuzzFeed only sells social ads. This is a wild idea, when you think about it. They make all the ads for their clients and those ads look like and feel like BuzzFeed stories; McDonald's most recent BF ad was, "11 Unforgettable Olympic Moments."
Here's the thing: I know what traditional advertising does to media companies, and how it subtly distorts their values. But I also know what ethical solutions people found to (some of) those problems. What does this new kind of advertising do to a media company's journalists? What sorts of ethical solutions have they come up with to address the (inevitable) problems and conflicts? (After this story published, Peretti tweeted to me, "All ads are made by creative services team, we r serious re church/state." Which is a good thing and very important piece of the puzzle.)
In any case, here are some very cute Pygmy goats that look like Scarlett Johansson interesting tidbits that we found in Peretti's letter.
Number of people BuzzFeed has hired since early 2011 91
Current number of monthly uniques 30 million (about 10 million from the journalisty people like Ben Smith, Matt Buchanan, etc) Times I've Looked At That Insane Nicolas Cage Post 17 On revenue growth "Our revenue is on pace to be more than 3 times what we did in 2011" because brands are "shift[ing] their budgets to social ads." How much of BuzzFeed's success is luck? 63 percent: "A big part of our recent success has also been luck. People don't like to admit it but skill is 63% luck."
On the current socially driven digital publishing world "Nobody has built a truly great
publishing company for the social age and we have a good shot to be the
ones who do it."
"People don't do good work when they feel like losers and are second
class citizens within their own company. Fortunately we have avoided
On pernicious slideshows "The primary reason to publish slideshows, as far as I can tell, is to
juice page views and banner ad impressions. Slideshows are super
annoying and lists are awesome so we do lists!"
On the other BS tactics other sites use to juice their revenues or traffic stats "We don't show crappy display ads and we make all our revenue from
social advertising that users love and share. We never launched one of
those 'frictionless sharing' apps on Facebook that automatically shares
the stories you click because those apps are super annoying. We don't
post deceptive, manipulative headlines that trick people into reading a
story. We don't focus on SEO or gaming search engines or filling our
pages with millions of keywords and tags that only a robot will read."
On BuzzFeed's vertical integration "We manage our own servers, we built our CMS from scratch, we created our
own realtime stats system, we have our own data science team, we
invented own ad products and our own post formats, and all these
products are brought to life by our own editorial team and our own
creative services team. We are what you call a 'vertically integrated
product' which is rare in web publishing. We take responsibility for the
technology, the advertising, and the content and that allows us to make
a much better product where everything works together." Number of times "revenue" was mentioned 8