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Traffic Baiting

Business Week recently ran an article about the popular website BuzzFeed, asking in the title if we should be thinking of the site as the "ad model for the Facebook era."

BuzzFeed has seemingly found a way to be successful while peddling the same stuff that thousands of other sites (including ours) offer—a mix of news and fun stuff (mostly the fun stuff, in their case)—while trying to make a connection with an audience constantly searching for entertainment online. While BuzzFeed has recently expanded into politics and tech issues, the site's fame has been propelled by lists of pop-culture items, largely without much commentary. (The example Business Week used was a post called "48 Pictures That Perfectly Capture the '90s.")

I'm ok with BuzzFeed, and I hope the folks there remain a success, but if their blend of sponsored content and traffic-baiting ephemera is the future of where ads will end up online, we might all be screwed.

Traffic is the demon that haunts any Web producer. I keep a window open for Google Analytics all day long, wondering why one story is more popular than another, so I'm not above the pressures of getting more people to the site—but I hope the Tucson Weekly doesn't ever have to descend to throwing a bunch of pictures of the stars of '90s TV just to get clicks. Yes, I might post a funny cat video now and then, but our focus online is always going to be what's happening in Tucson—and hopefully, that's why you'll want to click through to TucsonWeekly.com.


Comment of the week

"That is by far the hottest singing man in the world."

—Orin Shochat, lead singer of local band Holy Rolling Empire, has one dedicated fan in commenter Brittany Cohen, who made her feelings known almost two years after we published a review ("Holy Rolling Empire: Noise Will Be Noise," Rhythm and Views, June 10, 2010).


The week on The Range

We tried to decide whether to laugh or cry while reading the Daniel Patterson ethics report; noted that Tom Horne is facing allegations of his own; shook our head over a bill in the Arizona Legislature so poorly written that it might outlaw mean comments online; mentioned the seemingly pointless Arizona Democratic presidential caucus; announced that Paula Aboud was putting her support behind Ron Barber; watched Tucson Unified School District officials squabble with the organizers of the César Chávez march; challenged Rick Santorum to a bowl-off; thanked Jan Brewer for her veto of electronic billboards; noted that Don Bivens abandoned his quest to replace Jon Kyl; and discussed the highlights of this week's political events with Sam Stone and Jeff Rogers on Arizona Illustrated's Political Roundtable, with your host, Jim Nintzel.

We let you know that no bunnies were hurt to make the Bunny Balls burger at Lindy's; marveled over the new beer dispensers at Kino Stadium; and tried to remove the vision of "pink slime" from our minds.

We got our audition tape ready for the hip-hop version of Hollywood Squares; grimaced over the concept for Triplets, a sequel to the Danny DeVito comedy Twins; asked you to consider trying to win the Mega Millions jackpot (and we're sorry it didn't work out for either of us); enjoyed a promotional video featuring Downtown Tucson at its best; reviewed a true-crime comic book worth purchasing; suggested you pick up tickets for this weekend's Festival en el Barrio; watched a seemingly ancient video of Nine Inch Nails; congratulated native Tucsonan Tom Wilhelmsen for winning the first Major League Baseball game of the season; asked you to work on your sneezing; and reminded you that our new mobile site is online for your use.


Best of WWW

The primary for the Congressional District 8 special election to fill the seat vacated by Gabrielle Giffords is sneaking up on us: It takes place April 17 (and early voting is already under way), with the general election to follow on June 12. Wick Communications, the Tucson Weekly's parent company, which has newspapers throughout the congressional district, sent a questionnaire to the candidates for the office, asking about issues such as the possibility of one or both of the military bases in the district closing; the border; basic biographical information; and more. While you're on your own with the Green candidate (who failed to respond by press time), if you'd like to know more about Antenori, Barber, Kelly, McSally and Sitton, check out The Range as we publish their responses.

More by Dan Gibson

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