View Full Version : How The Bleacher Report Cashes In

10-03-2012, 05:54 PM
Interesting article in Seattle Weekly today re Bleacher Report, which I know has been kicked around here from time to time. Sorry if OT.


Go Bulldogs!

10-03-2012, 06:22 PM
You should probably change the thread title. No one will click on it if it says "Bleacher Report." Intriguing article though.

10-03-2012, 08:47 PM
Had no idea BR had the reach or profitability outlined in the linked article.

No single narrative encapsulates the ascent of Bleacher Report, a site that churns out around 800 articles a day penned by 2,000 "core contributors." The site is as polarizing as it is popular. And it is very popular. In August, some 14.2 million users visited it. Astronomical page-view numbers have translated into loads of advertising revenue—media reports peg the site as on pace to gross $30 million to $40 million this year.

Visitors to the site are aggressively pestered to sign up for team-specific newsletters or the Team Stream mobile app—which updates fans in real time with articles about their chosen team pulled from around the Web. Bleacher Report has established a direct, regular line of communication with millions of highly specified ad targets—and will continue to do so even if in the future the site is unable to lean so heavily on Google. "People undervalue the app and newsletters," continues Koo. "I think it's worth a quarter of Turner's [$200MM] acquisition price."

10-04-2012, 05:19 AM
That is a very informative article. Personally, I've avoided BR for a year or two, I just can't stomach the crap they put out.
OTOH, BR is far more pernicious than I thought. In my mind, it was just chewing gum for adolescents. Now I find that they are exploiting the willing dupes who produce the pulp more than I ever imagined.

"If you can pay attention to what people are looking for and use that intelligence to produce content that people are looking to consume, from our perspective, that's kind of where digital media is going."

Bleacher Report "is 'made-to-order news.' They'll make up whatever people search for," says Vivek Wadhwa, a researcher and tech columnist for Bloomberg BusinessWeek and The Washington Post. The triumph of Bleacher Report, he continues, is the natural outcome of gauging success and profitability based on Google-derived clicks. "This is custom-manufactured garbage. It is being mass-produced. This is a dumbing-down of the Web."

A little Amway MLM thrown in too.

Writers earn "medals" for high-trafficking or much-commented articles and "badges" based on monthly performance numbers. Along with a running page-view count, these plaudits are visually represented on a writer's profile page. Medals are delineated into seven "gem levels" based upon an article's popularity: bronze, silver, gold, platinum, sapphire, ruby, and diamond.

"It's hard not to feel like you're getting somewhere if you have a bunch of badges. It makes you want to work your way up to being an all-star journalist. But you're just working your way up to being an all-star Bleacher Report journalist."

Finally, writers are urged to "cater to the masses." "For better or worse, readers love breezy sports-and-culture stories. If you really want to maximize your fan base, your best bet is to give the people what they want." But at the same time, don't forget to "bet against the mainstream." The exemplar of contrarian thinking offered by the site's curriculum is a Bleacher Report article titled "Why Tom Brady Is the Most Overrated Quarterback in NFL History."

It's a model that's computing well for Bleacher Report, if not for every writer. "I started out being worried that joining up with Bleacher Report would make other people think I'm a fraud and a hack," says one high-level writer. "Now I'm worried I have become that fraud and hack."

And if he leaves, an army of writers is ready to replace him.

Bleacher Report alum Lukas Hardonk is one of those writers who've gone on to paying gigs elsewhere. He's now the managing editor of the Maple Leafs Central blog and a contributing editor of TheHockeyWriters.com. "As bad a rap as Bleacher Report gets, it's really tremendous what they did for me," he says. Hardonk wrote for the site for three years, but found there were only so many slide shows in his system. By 2011, he realized he'd outgrown Bleacher Report. Still, "they kick-started my career."

It'll be interesting to see where that career goes after the 17-year-old finishes his senior year of high school.

10-04-2012, 07:15 AM
Thanks for posting that. I didn't realize people were "reverse-engineering" headlines to tickle Google. But now that it's been mentioned, well, that doesn't surprise me at all.

10-04-2012, 07:46 AM
That 17 yo in the article had been writing for them for 3 years !? That means he was 14 when he started (for those that are challenged by math this early in the morning). Yikes. Maybe he's the Tiger Woods of sports journalism... It's no wonder some of their stuff reads like a junior high essay.

The Examiner seems to be a similar model, but for everything else non-sports related. Watch out for them, too.

10-04-2012, 07:58 AM
What's next? Try...June, 2016 Headline: Bleacher Report Buys ESPN. :eek:/:espn:/:eek:

Given the meteorite rise of the Bleacher Report's influence & fortunes, the Day Is Coming (mark these words!) when future GU teams will be sporting Bleacher Report shorts and shoes!...when the West Coast Conference will hold its annual tournament at the Las Vegas Bleacher Arena!...when college football's MVP will receive the Heisman-Bleacher Trophy!...when purchasing Clorox will be seen as One's Civic Duty, and when AntiChrist (aka Cloris Chlorine, Bleacher Report CEO) TAKES OVER...THE WORLD!


10-04-2012, 08:08 AM
I'm not a hater of bleacher report, just of their tactics and "spam". Some of the articles I have seen seem to be pretty interesting and well written.

But alas, spam is lame, so if they are going to come here to get viewers and readers they need to offer some free advertising over there. Like a fair trade for viewers. Spammers attempt to take viewers from one site and draw them to another. That is spam, IMO.

10-05-2012, 07:55 AM
have to admit it was a pretty good idea by the creators of the site.

10-05-2012, 01:10 PM
I would be tempted to lure writers with money. And I wonder if there is a competitor that does that or is willing to do that.

Give the writers a % of the ad revenue from their articles.

Start it low. Like 10%. Then as you rise up you can hit 50%.

I know of some sites set up for streaming video that give streamers either a flat percent, like 50%, of ad revenue or just $5 lets say for every 1000 viewers that see an add. Sometimes the advertiser pays $10, or sometimes they might pay $12, but the streamer gets $5 regardless.

But you don't get paid until you have earned $100.

Oh, I should clarify, I am talking about people streaming the feed of them playing video games, lol. twitch.tv(same people who do justin.tv) and own3d.tv for instance.

10-05-2012, 01:53 PM
Tabloid sports writing could easily be just as lucrative as Tabloid gossip. The BR should go for it harder.