Controversy Creates Ca$h – Shooting on the Dirtsheets

28 Mar

Am I a Dirtsheet?

I guess to some I am, but if I am I like to think I hold myself to higher standards than many out there.

For a start I have a rule for this blog, I’d rather be right, than first.

It’s not my job to make up exclusives, fictional exclusives, to I can pretend I was first to the punch, and thus drawing in readers, so I can profit from the advertising revenue.

In my opinion there are two types of dirtsheets out there, those that are written by fans of the industry, from the ex-pro, right down to the uninformed armchair quarterback, and those who see dirtsheets as a profit making enterprise.

Those who see their publications purely as businesses have no qualms about selling a made up story to a gullible fan, pretending to have insiders, at their beck and call, and revealing spoilers to events months in the future, that always seem to change, before the big day, with the writer dismissing it as a “change in plans”, rather than owning up to the fact that he fabricated the story in the first place.

Sadly this disease even spreads to the dirtsheets of the fans, where a fan tastes a slither of perceived popularity, and desperate to hold on to it will publish just about anything, without bothering to do their research.

Having been a member at the BleacherReport for a while now I’ve even seen a new hybrid form of dirtsheet, which is just as guilty, if not more so, of the sins already mentioned.

The BleacherReport exists to make profit, their primary concern is not great writers, and great writing, it’s not about knowledge, education, information, and entertainment, it’s about getting as many page impressions as possible, in order to generate as much advertising revenue as they can.

A perfect example of this is Rachel Miller.

Has she ever written a decent article?

She may have done, but I’ve never seen it, however what she does do is create page impressions.

At present she lies in 3rd place, in the rankings on the Wrestling section of the site, and since she signed up she’s written 161 articles, that have produced 374,404 page impressions.

Now I don’t know what advertising deals the BleacherReport has in place, but at a decent CPM figure that’s close to $2500 she’s made the site.

Because of this strategy it leads to a lack of editorial integrity, where quantity comes before quality, and writers are selected on this basis.

Then you get the writers themselves, who feel they are getting “popular”, and allow it to go to their heads.

But are they really “popular”?

Let’s use Rachel Miller as an example again.

374,404 article views, receiving 5,201 comments in the process.

Now the second figure is important, because every time you make a comment on a BleacherReport article the author will come visit, to read it, and if you generate a discussion then you generate even more page views.

Let’s say you make an article that says “Wrestler X is the greatest of all time”.

It’s not much of an article, it’s more of an opinion, and depending on who you are it may even be a very uninformed opinion, and so I come along and laugh, and tell you that “Wrestler X isn’t the greatest of all time”, so you now have two page impressions.

You then come along and tell me I have no clue what I’m talking about, and you have three page impressions, and then I come back and tell you I do, leading to a fourth page impression.

There’s only been two people viewing the article, and we’ve only made three comments, but between us we’ve generated four page views.

Bearing this in mind 375,000 views quickly translates to a lot less unique views, and it is a lot less, because you as the author return again and again, to reply to multiple people, as do some others, and then you take the true figure and divide it by the number of articles it’s spread across, and you find there’s less than 1,000 people actually reading any of these articles, and then you look at an article like Rachel Miller’s articles, and consider half of them are coming along to point, laugh, and watch the train wreck, you realize that the number of people you’re “popular” with is actually quite small.

500,000 views suddenly becomes 500 people, who give a damn, and that’s a lot less ego inflating.

In fact at that point you realize that the BleacherReport is really just a glorified messageboard, set up to look more professional, to generate a sense of importance, to increase peoples self-perceptions, and to generate advertising revenue.

Unfortunately some don’t see the facts, they just see the largest figures, and believe that 500,000 people really are reading their articles, and they really believe this makes them a popular, and extremely talented writer, and desperate to retain this “fame” they think they’ve attained, they become more and more willing to publish lower quality articles, full of rumors, myths, and errors, in order to satisfy the readers hunger, and to make themselves increasingly popular, instead of increasingly right.

This is not to single out the BleacherReport, or to condemn everyone who writes there, I’ve seen a small number of reasonable writers there, but it’s used as an example of the mentality we see in the dirtsheets, both from the side of those who see them as a profit making venture, and from the side of those who write for them as genuine fans.

Over my life I’ve seen some terrible articles, and continue to do so, and will probably always unfortunately find them, because it’s the nature of the dirtsheet.

Here, as a fan, I will always stick to the notion that being right is better than being first, but unfortunately I know elsewhere people will continue to spout nonsense, fabricate stories, and jump the gun, in order to boost ratings, because after all, Controversy Creates Ca$h.


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