Every word of this article is pure gold. This is why I don’t read The Verge and why I think that 99% of tech sites write simply for the pageview. The more sensational the headline the more people will click. Doesn’t matter if they stay only for one second, that was a pageview and you can sell more advertising on more pageviews.
Dan Benjamin of 5by5 recently talked about not bothering with subscriber numbers on his feeds. He worries solely about downloads. This is certainly a better metric to judge with audio and video content but it still doesn’t tell the whole story. There is at least one show in a week that I skip because the content is just not interesting to me. That does count as a download but is not really engagement with the content or the ads that day.
Engagement is what advertisers really need to look for. Coupon codes are a way to judge that, and clicks on display ads are another, but that doesn’t tell the whole story either. When I started using Hover for my domain names Leo Laporte had been talking about them for months and I listen to a number of his shows. The only one that gets credit for my first purchase is whichever code I entered though. You may see a service on a display ad many times before you follow through on the sale. The only site that gets the credit is the one you clicked through.
I’m not sure how exactly we judge advertising but the current model is what is helping break journalism as we know it. In the quest for pageviews we see articles published quick without research with stupid sensational titles.