October 1, 2020

"Mr. Drudge 'effectively invented clickbait,' wrote the Columbia Journalism Review."

"Frank Rich, writing in The Times in 1999, said he was a 'grandstander whom many, I included, once feared as the Devil of journalism incarnate.'... [Journalist Matthew Lysiak, author of 'The Drudge Revolution'] said in an interview that rival websites are 'licking their chops — they see blood in the water.' But he noted that there may be another factor in Drudge Report’s recent loss of traffic: the rise of social media. 'Matt Drudge was always first at everything, but not anymore, not even close — Twitter’s first,' Mr. Lysiak said. 'For years now, people have been wondering who the next Drudge is, but it isn’t a person. It’s a social media revolution, and he sees that writing on the wall.' But Mr. Drudge has a deep desire, and a talent, for staying relevant, Mr. Lysiak said. Betting big on Mr. Trump did the trick in 2016. Betting against him could work this time around. Mr. Lysiak suggested that readers who expected Mr. Drudge’s site to stay true to one line of political thought were misguided. 'In reality, while Matt Drudge has his own personal political opinions, his website has absolutely no loyalty to any political party or ideology,' he said. 'Now he’s thinking long-term, really putting his political capital on a Biden candidacy. And if that happens, he will once again weaponize his site on behalf of more conservative causes.'"

From "Drudge Report, a Trump Ally in 2016, Stops Boosting Him for 2020/A rift between the president and the online news pioneer Matt Drudge is playing out in pithy headlines and needling tweets as the campaign heats up" (NYT).

But wait... didn't you hear that Matt Drudge sold The Drudge Report (and that's why it changed)? Here's "Matt Drudge rumored to be seeking investors for Drudge Report" (NY Post)(also quoting Lysiak):

“I think the rumor that Matt would sell or has already sold the Drudge Report is completely unfounded. I know he is continuing to run the Drudge Report. I think [the rumor] continues to gain traction because people can’t understand why Matt has weaponized his website for the Biden campaign,” Lysiak told Media Ink. “It’s not just whispers from low-level people, it’s people in the Trump orbit” who are fishing for information, Lysiak said. “A lot of them were huge Matt fans in 2016, and now they are not.”

The famously reclusive Drudge wasn’t reachable for comment. But Paul Singer, the billionaire hedge fund founder and Republican donor whose name has surfaced as a potential buyer of a stake in Drudge’s popular news website, adamantly denied any involvement....
Drudge has fallen from a billion page views a month to only 20 million views a month. You can get a lot of page views from people just impulsively checking what the top headlines look like. I know I used to check Drudge with a feeling that I was seeing what was happening right now, a process that took about 1 second. I imagine that the page views I get are more substantial. Who knows? (I got 2.4 million page views last month, if you want to compare.)

68 comments:

wendybar said...

Drudge has been anti Trump for a few years. He used to be my first go to site, until he got rabidly left for some reason (extreme case of TDS) and I haven't set foot there since.

stlcdr said...

I'm just about to delete Drudge Report from my daily read sequence, moving Althouse up one slot.

YoungHegelian said...

But he noted that there may be another factor in Drudge Report’s recent loss of traffic: the rise of social media. 'Matt Drudge was always first at everything, but not anymore, not even close — Twitter’s first,

Of course, this isn't an alley that the NYT wants to go down, but isn't The Drudge Report the latest victim of "Go woke, go broke"?

Hammond X. Gritzkofe said...

Yeah? Drudge may have invented Clickbait, but he aint gettin none from me. Stopped looking at the Drudge Distort cupla years ago.

Leland said...

I don't know if DrudgeReport was sold or not, but I'm not sure how much of an ally Matt Drudge was for Trump in 2016. Whoever was running the Report fully bought into the Russia Collusion hoax, and that's when I quit reading it. People are claiming "now we know" about Russia Collusion, except these are things that were readily apparent back in 2017.

I know some smart people don't understand this, but a simple question for me was, "Why is it ok for Christopher Steele, a UK spook, to influence an election with his dossier, but not ok for Russia to do so in anyway?" The answer is that there is no special privilege for the UK to do this. Once you realize this, the question is why wasn't the FBI / Special Prosecutor investigating UK and Russia collusion? When you came up with that answer, everything else was self-evident. Matt Drudge should have been able to figure that out.

gilbar said...

there may be another factor in Drudge Report’s recent loss of traffic

like, the Drudge Report vanishing? and being replaced with: The Drudge's boyfriend's Report?

Drudge has fallen from a billion page views a month to only 20 million views a month. You can get a lot of page views from people just impulsively checking what the top headlines look like.
i go to what used to be the Drudge Report once a month or so, when i wonder: "What does the left say, today?"
if i want news, or information; WHY would i go to The Drudge's boyfriend's Report?

RichAndSceptical said...

There have been rumors for a couple of years that Drudge sold the site and I believe they are true. There was no online poll on Drudge after the debate, something Drudge always did. There was also a certain feel to the site that is missing now.

He may be running it for someone else, but I think it is the Drudge Report in name only.

wild chicken said...

I used to check Drudge for the columnist and early blog links. Sometimes I'd read the news wire services. But they weren't nearly as good as twitter is now for breaking news.

BTW my twitter account was suspended Tuesday. No idea why. So I created another account so I could "watch" the debate.

Can Of Cheese for Hunter said...

Drudge - or whoever is running it - is just another Democrat hack promotion site with an emphasis on all things Orange Man Bad.

Sad.

Not one word on Antifa terror, destruction, arson. Not one word on Hunter Biden or any corruption on team D.

tim maguire said...

Drudge used to be a 2 or 3 times a day visit. In the last 3 or 4 months, I have gone to Drudge once--yesterday to check for debate snap polls.

I didn't find any and quickly moved on.

If Drudge thinks moving left is going to help him because he thinks Biden will win, he is losing it. The issue is only a little who's hot in the moment; it's mostly how many ways do you have to divide the pie and the left-o-sphere pie gets cut many different ways indeed. And that's without factoring in the distrust of Drudge by lefties.

Black Bellamy said...

>I imagine that the page views I get are more substantial. Who knows?

Alexa knows.

Compare https://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/drudge.com vs https://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/althouse.blogspot.com and scroll down to the Site Metrics section.

You get 1.5 pageviews per visitor, Drudge gets 1.2.
People usually spend 3:24 minutes on your site vs 55 seconds for Drudge.
Finally, 36% of your visitors engage another page on your site after the first one. On Drudge, only 25% stick around.

As someone who works in new media ad buy, your traffic is much move valuable to me all things being equal. However, if I'm looking for particular audience segmentation or just a broader reach, I might prefer Drudge.

Greg The Class Traitor said...

"Drudge has fallen from a billion page views a month to only 20 million views a month. "

Get woke, go broke

Greg The Class Traitor said...

Drudge has fallen from a billion page views a month to only 20 million views a month.

IOW, conservatives have left him, and Lefties go to Twitter.

"Clickbait" is done by the people writing the stories, not the person pointing out which stories are worth reading

Marshall Rose said...

Count me amongst those that have abandoned Drudge. If he is attempting to boost traffic by swinging to Biden, he has failed as the drop in traffic atests. I get enough propaganda shoved at me everyday, his site used to be a balance to that daily onslaught.

No need to check there anymore as it is just more of the same.

I have picked up several other link aggregators in response and do not miss Drudge links anymore.

Althouse continues to be a multiple daily visit site.

As does Insty.

Always looking for other fresh perspectives if anyone else has suggestions.

Iman said...

Drudge used to be a site I'd visit several times a day, but no longer.

Tinderbox said...

I used to visit Drudge daily just for the snapshot of the day's important news. I consciously stopped going to earlier this year just because of the relentless negativity of it, his posting of nothing but the absolute worst, end of the world kind of stuff in scare headlines. It was giving me more anxiety so I stopped. Most important news bubbles up now anyway in Facebook or places like here, through my other grapevines.

Elliott A said...

I stopped reading Drudge over a year ago. Now seems more like the National Enquirer than a news site

stever said...

Well whatever the reasoning, I'm out. I have no desire to add to my diet all the people who want to be cool.

Achilles said...

The NYT is just trying to pass this off as a Trump supporter switching sides.

But it is a lie.

Drudge sold out to a Billionaire who is using the site to push the globalist agenda.

The left is dishonest about everything they are and everything they do.

Every. Single. Thing.

Yancey Ward said...

I think it is obvious Drudge no longer runs the site- it is now run by whoever he sold it to, or by whoever he hired to run it. It is just Conquest's second law in action- Drudge was never rightwing- it was deeply anti-establishment and as such was always going to be taken over by the left.

Michael said...

Last year I noticed Drudge pulled Camile Pagila from his blog roll. Those two use to be super fans of one another. What opened to that relationship?

ESM said...

I have long believed that Drudge sold to some liberal billionaire and also signed a non-compete and non-disclosure agreement. Even if he soured on Trump, it made no sense for him to go full-blown Never-Trumper like Matt Boot, Bill Kristol, Jen Rubin, Rick Wilson, Steve Schmidt, and a few dozen others. The Never-Trumpers have to flip 180 degrees in order to stay relevant and keep the money rolling in. For Drudge, a 180-degree turn clearly means much less relevance and much less money. Of course, it's also possible that he's suffering from a mental illness, but a politically-motivated buyout is far more likely.

LYNNDH said...

Stopped reading Drudge. To left wing for me.

Thistlerose said...

I use to read Drudge because it was a good way to find out what was going on without the hate that other sites included. Now its no different then any other news website so I don't bother any more.

bleh said...

See, I think this is quite insidious, and I wouldn't put it past well-heeled liberals to buy the Drudge Report and have Matt Drudge sign an onerous and highly restrictive confidentiality agreement. I'm sure Matt Drudge got paid many, many millions of dollars for his site and his silence.

It's a brilliant idea, and Drudge's famed reclusiveness fits perfectly into the scheme, but I'm afraid the new liberal owners have failed to properly execute their plan. They should've pretended to still be on the Right while sprinkling in more stories that make Trump look bad to people on the Right. People would think, "wow, Matt Druge has turned on Trump, and he is doing so because of this or that reason."

Instead, they've swung a little too hard to the Left. The jig is up.

Michael K said...

Why ruin a good story with truth?

etbass said...

Wow! A 98% reduction for Drudge should be sending him a powerful message about switching left.

John Borell said...

I used to be a regular, many times a day visitor to Drudge.

Now, I look at it once a day. Maybe twice. And never on some days. It's not the same and it no longer breaks news.

I get breaking news from Twitter and selected notices on my phone (mostly WSJ and my local paper).

Dr Weevil said...

From one billion to twenty million is a 99% drop. Maybe Drudge can buy it back for one-tenth what he was paid and turn it back into a site worth reading. Probably not: the billionaire buyer probably thinks killing or at least totally nullifying an influential right-wingish or libertarianish site is nearly as good as turning it hardcore leftie.

Ryan said...

I was an avid daily reader of Drudge since the early 2000s, but stopped visiting the site a few months ago when it lost its conservative edge. No point visiting anymore.

Chuck said...

My own guess is that about 20 million of the billion or so page views per month that Drudge was getting, have gone to George Conway’s Twitter page.

Ryan said...

By the way, that's pretty AWESOME that Althouse gets 10% of Drudge's traffic. And totally correct that people stay on Althouse longer that Drudge because there is actually content to read. NICE JOB ALTHOUSE!

rhhardin said...

It's not competition, it's the idiot lefty links. Drudge was what media suppressed, back then, which meant lefty media. Now it no longer can do that. It is lefty.

Can Of Cheese for Hunter said...

Drudge was an oasis of alt media in a sea of leftwing democrat-promotion media.

Not any more. He's part of the borg now.

Tina Trent said...

Drudge is fascinating. His mom worked for Ted Kennedy and his parents went to court to fight each other because neither wanted custody of him as a child. He was working in the CBS gift shop and discovered corporate memos were stored to be shredded in the mailroom behind the gift shop: thus his subscription-only gossip sheet began.

He palled around with Ann Coulter and Rush for some years. His disillusion with Trump is over disappointment that Trump didn't stop illegal immigration. I've heard fairly reliable reports he sold the use of the site. What, you want reporting from the Columbia School of Journalism?

DEEBEE said...

Go to Drudge everyday to see the lefty stuff. No longer click through anything, because other than the lefty feel, too much like National Enquirer alien stories

Kevin said...

Drudge has fallen from a billion page views a month to only 20 million views a month.

A man who effectively invented clickbait would never allow this to happen.

Particularly at a time when the nation is rabid for "news".

Kevin said...

'Now he’s thinking long-term, really putting his political capital on a Biden candidacy. And if that happens, he will once again weaponize his site on behalf of more conservative causes.

That goose has long since been cooked.

Can Of Cheese for Hunter said...

Drudge was decidedly pro Trump prior to, during and shortly after the 2016 election of Trump.

I think Drudge might be super angry that Trump didn't turn out as he hoped (and Ann Coulter hoped) because of their weird obsession that Trump was a super-hero.. This weird ideal pro-Trumpers created...
Trump let Ann down and also Drudge. fine. But going full team corruptocrat is a strange answer to their disappointment.

Michael K said...

Blogger etbass said...
Wow! A 98% reduction for Drudge should be sending him a powerful message about switching left.


Drudge, like Instapundit, was a rare right leaning site. Now that it is not, the entire media swarm is available. Why look at Drudge ?

MadisonMan said...

If it weren't for me, you'd get only 2,399,950 visits per month.

dbp said...

It's hard to imagine a scenario where Drudge didn't sell. If "Drudge has fallen from a billion page views a month to only 20 million views a month.", that would mean the site's income is now 2% of what it was. The only way it makes sense is that a left-wing investor purchased the site, for the sole reason of getting rid of it. Who cares if it makes money now? It has been neutralized as a competitor/enemy.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Dr Weevil, I think you are right. I never exactly "read" Drudge, but he was out there, putting forth stories that the MSM were not, and the size of his readership meant that he could influence coverage all by himself if he wanted to. All of that has gone "poof," and, as you say, that disappearance (or at least vast diminishment) is every bit as valuable to the Left as an outright takeover would be. Just another sort of "deplatforming."

I would like to know, btw, exactly what the Left thinks of "deplatforming." You can see very easily how things run: The newspapers are off-limits to conservatives (with small exceptions -- the Wall Street Journal, IBD); the "Big Three" networks likewise; most cable news (excepting Fox) likewise. There remain radio and the Internet, esp. "social media," and the latter has been slamming and indeed censoring "conservative" voices for some time now. The idea is that if you shut down anyone's means of communication, he might still shout himself hoarse on his own property, but no one not on the same block will know or care what he's saying.

Can they not see that this is exactly as dangerous to the Left as it is to the Right? Assume liberal Ragnarok: What are they to do if there are no channels of communication? What will any of us do, for that matter? But apparently that's not even a tiny concern for them: They are in the right; their cause is just; if only the 45% of the populace that disagrees can be hit by a giant cartoon Mute button, they will conquer. It's so bloody infantile that it would be funny if it weren't true.

Rabel said...

Black Bellamy said...

"Alexa knows."

drudge.com is not Drudge. That's drudgereport.com.

Dr Weevil said...

Oops! 98%, not 99%. My point stands, despite my arithmetical incompetence.

Clark said...

I figure Drudge sold the site for a gazillion bucks and signed a non-disclosure agreement that is enforceable against him for some large percentage of that gazillion. If it is written well it is not a liquidated damages clause (and isn't even called a non-disclosure or confidentiality agreement). Rather there is an obligation to pay a certain amount upon the happening of certain events (to avoid the limits on liquidated damages).

The extreme change in the site was sudden. Before the change, it was a great gateway into what is going on. After the change it became useless.

mockturtle said...

The MSM invented clickbait: Family of five abducted by bears. Details at 11.

tembelis said...

rantingly.com is a decent alternative to Drudge. A little tabloidy, but actually not quite as much as Drudge was. He often interspersed 'birth of 2-headed calves!" headlines among the news stories, which made me wonder what demographic he was going for.

Joe Smith said...

I haven't read Drudge for two years now.

Either he sold out or turned into a typical liberal, lefty cocksucker.

Doesn't matter which.

cubanbob said...

What Drudge or rather the new owners have done is simply drive away the readers to other sites and venues. I presume like most others here, Drudge got a deal large enough that he couldn't refuse.

Big Mike said...

Drudge lost at least 98% of his traffic, but it’s not because the site went from center-right and generally supportive of Donald Trump to substantially left of center and hardcore anti-Trump. No! Of course not.

As Joe Biden would say, “Cmon, man!

Well, I can’t speak Althouse or Meade, but I for one really hate it when people tell such obvious lies as though I’m so gullible I’d fall for obvious bullshit.

Gk1 said...

Hah, its hilarious how Drudge wound up from being a go to site to an "Ask jeeves" web browser in just a year. I had religiously dropped by the site everyday since 1998 and stopped dropping by everyday Summer of 2017 during the full blown russian hoax nonsense, when it just became an echo chamber for the left. I think by 2018 it was obvious it had been sold and stopped all together.

I am sure someone can easily pick up the mantle and become an aggregator of news with a rightward slant. This will make a great movie someday if someone has the balls to do it truthfully.

mikee said...

The day the Starr Report on Slick Willie came out, I read it at work from a link on Drudge, perhaps the first time I'd been to that site. I think it must have come up as the first link on google I could access. The laughter emanating from my cubicle was matched by several others at my workplace. Slick Willie was and is one hot steaming sweaty mess, and yet his wife makes him look sorta wholesome in comparison. So thanks, Drudge, for that, at least.

I allow myself to visit Drudge only on Fridays when work is real, real slow. More fun to be had at Ace's or Instapundit or here. Can you imagine Drudge with comments?

iowan2 said...

Drudge sold out for the cash. That's just obvious. The left did to Drudge, what they could never do to Rush. Mute him.

Rush has never said, but I bet huge sums of money have been laid at his feet. But Rush loves what he does and would never agree to swing leftish, or go silent. Drudge took the cash.

effinayright said...

Big Mike said...
Drudge lost at least 98% of his traffic, but it’s not because the site went from center-right and generally supportive of Donald Trump to substantially left of center and hardcore anti-Trump. No! Of course not.
*************

Fer chrissake, you can go to his site TODAY and see that's not even remotely true:

VISITS TO DRUDGE 10/01/2020

033,016,647 PAST 24 HOURS
741,010,682 PAST 31 DAYS
10,886,312,597 PAST YEAR

If the site lost 98% of its traffic, it would have had 1.65 BILLION hits/per day when he left.

(DR used to be my homepage, but when he sold out and the site went "woke" I dropped it.)

But millions did not.

5M said...

I thought Drudge got a woke girlfriend from the Putin mail in bride catalogue? She controls his interests now. I point to the lack of posts about bourgeois caviar.

He had that page refresh timer on which artificially boosts his web stats. You can just run his page in the background and generate money for his advertisers.

5M said...

There is a group of right leaning egos that get their panties in a bunch when Trump doesn't give them enough attention. Some of them even move left then. They think they are more important than running the country. They over estimate their klout scores.

Trump knows his business and is getting better at this POTUS thing every day. Never stops learning.

RichAndSceptical said...



I don't see it that way. The left tried for years to compete with Drudge and failed repeatedly. So they buy him out and destroy the site. I guess Breitbart is probably #1 now and it is a far cry from what it was a couple of years ago. Too much clickbait and too few good writers. Plus they allow racist comments and make no effort to control the racism.

narciso said...

i didn't think that he swung that way, iywim,

frenchy said...

Drudge's sharp left turn into the weeds was like that of Little Green Footballs in 2009, except written much larger. And I noticed it right after the election in 2016, and stopped going there then. This is not a recent thing.

Churchy LaFemme: said...

I presume like most others here, Drudge got a deal large enough that he couldn't refuse.

Wow! When do I get my deal? I'm ready and willing! How long do I have to hang out here?

iowan2 said...

Where else do people here go? Althouse is 1 thru 3, we know that. Then? Insty, the Insurrection, Powerline, Reason. I check in at the Conservative Treehouse to keep updated on the coup plotters investigation. Gateway pundit to see what the kneejerk hairs on fire crowd is up to.
What else?

exiledonmainstreet, green-eyed devil said...

Night said...
I thought Drudge got a woke girlfriend from the Putin mail in bride catalogue? "

I think Drudge is gay. So he could have gotten a woke boyfriend instead.

buwaya said...

"Where else do people here go?"

Freerepublic. Been on that for @20 years.

effinayright said...

RichAndSceptical said...


I don't see it that way. The left tried for years to compete with Drudge and failed repeatedly. So they buy him out and destroy the site. I guess Breitbart is probably #1 now and it is a far cry from what it was a couple of years ago. Too much clickbait and too few good writers. Plus they allow racist comments and make no effort to control the racism.

Strings of unsupported assertions don't get very far here.

Describing yourself as RichandSkeptical doesn't cut it, if you can't support your skepticism.

Or maybe your name is Rich and your brother is named Skeptical? You know, kinda like Diamond and Silk?

Try offering some supporting facts, if that's not beyond your powers.



Joe Smith said...

"Rush has never said, but I bet huge sums of money have been laid at his feet.

Rush makes $85M or so a year...how much more could he be offered that would matter?

"I think Drudge is gay."

Is that why he can pull off wearing that hat?

Bonus points for recalling AA's 'pull-off' tutorial.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Gk1,

I am sure someone can easily pick up the mantle and become an aggregator of news with a rightward slant.

Doesn't Instapundit already fulfill that role? That's the place I go for "news aggregation" -- lots of short items with links. It's my default home page.

Frenchy, what did happen to Little Green Footballs, anyway? That was certainly sudden. One moment Johnson is the guy who demolished Dan Rather's Bush/TANG "bombshell" (and he was the clearinghouse for all things Rather for many months), and then he suddenly does a literal 180. ISTR Andrew Sullivan going frothing-at-the-mouth berserk over Sarah and Trig Palin at about the same time. Was it all about Obama specifically, or what?

funsize said...

Drudge devolved into UFO stories and heavily relied on low-information content tabloids like Sky news. The articles had no evidence and were poorly written. He was phoning it in.