Washingtonpost.com Has Its Own Unique Story

from the making-it-work dept

The Washingtonpost.com’s readership is unique compared with major competitors, so it makes sense that the site itself operates differently too. In a lengthy interview with Online Journalism Review, two WP execs explain that the site attracts an unusual amount of national and international traffic — 80 percent of visitors — while lacking print distribution to those geographies. The site’s penetration of the local market is also unusually high (upwards of 44 percent). How to meet the very different needs of these audiences? Personalized web pages didn’t work, so now they’re trying to implement two separate home pages, a local and a non-local, though they haven’t figured out the technical details to pull this off. Also worth mentioning is the WP’s continued refusal to charge readers, another point of differentiation from other news outlets like the NY Times that are making noise about charging for content. Instead, the stable of WP sites (which also includes Newsweek.com and Slate) is staying profitable through ways that won’t scare off its readers, tarnish its reputation, and destroy its traffic.

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Comments on “Washingtonpost.com Has Its Own Unique Story”

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Greg Linden (user link) says:

Personalization didn't work?

Hi, Mike. It’s not really accurate to say that “personalized web pages didn’t work” for the Washington Post.

The article says that My Washington Post only attracted a “small audience”. My Washington Post is a customizable news site (like My Yahoo) where you can change the layout to add comics or move weather to the top. I wouldn’t call that “personalized web pages”. The pages don’t adapt to your interests in any way. Everyone sees the same articles.

Newspapers are just starting their first experiments with personalized news. With so much news out there and so little time to read it, people need focus, a way to surface the news they need. People need personalized news.
Greg Linden, Founder & CEO, Findory.com

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