By David Poland firstname.lastname@example.org
The Race For Drudge!
Wonder why Box Office Mojo is suddenly leaping to posting earlier in the day on the weekends and coming out with Memorial Day Weekend Saturday estimates?
Wonder why Roger Friedman And Nikki Finke are making the same title mistake in their box office coverage that includes “Star War – Attack of the Sith?” (That would be Revenge… the clones Attacked)
Well, it all seems to come down to the race for Matt Drudge’s attention.
There is no other news kicker like Drudge. If he links, your numbers go up. In the cases of all of these players, Drudge creates the chance to reach beyond the film industry. Box Office Mojo has a strong core business, but it has boundaries, since only a small percentage of the world cares about box office numbers. A Drudge link brings in civilians who see ads and more pages views equals more money. Roger Friedman is a lowlife gossip. My estimate would be that a Drudge link – which also has the advantage of being a real link and not just a quote, a la Page Six – multiplies his audience on that day by five to ten times. And Ms. Finke, who has given up any pretense of being a journalist to become a professional gadfly, probably owes more than a third of her total traffic in the three months her site has been in business to a half dozen or so links on Drudge.
For better or worse, Mr. Drudge has refused to link to any site I have been associated with since I wrote an Entertainment Weekly story about him and the Sidney Blumenthal lawsuit a decade ago. Of course, I was just a reporter working News & Notes and being shaped by editors. But with the exception of a couple of times when he decided to send his minions against me to shut me up about some opinion he considered too left wing, not a noise since.
Being stuck behind this wall is not helpful to me or my business. But this latest go round in the Drudge placement game is not about me, any more than being against test screening reviews was about me. It is, simply, the ugly incursion of capitalism into the idea of independent editorial on the internet. It’s not new. But the lie of it is fresh.
When I started writing this, Drudge hadn