Digital Media Off the Rate Card.

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David Carr published an interesting piece in today’s New York Times about Nick Denton, his Gawker Media tech blog Gizmodo, and the lost next gen iPhone.  According to Carr, the blog post generated 3.6 million hits on Gizmodo – a site averaging 90,000 hits a day. 

 (Not too long ago, during the tough economy, Mr. Denton decided to pay his staff of writers based upon hits.  The more papers you sell, said the crusty old news man, the more money you make. When the pay-per-readers story hit the wire, Mr. Denton was vilified and some good writers left. Buh-bye, said he.)

The writer who broke the lost iPhone story was well paid for her/his day’s work and Gizmodo’s brand made it to Ohf-rah (Oprah). Eastman Kodak, who serendipitously bought all the ads on Gizmodo for the day, reaped mad dividends in terms of reach. (What’s the opposite of “make good?”) 

Mr. Denton’s maligned approach to paying writers for audience portends things to come in social media.  Media will be bought based on eyeballs.  And media will be bought based on transactions. When this equation makes it to traditional ad agencies you may even find the creative output changing. That is, some of the ads won’t be built for portfolios but for consumer interest and traffic. Social media will soon be monetized based upon consumer interest and sales, not the rate card. And it will be exciting to watch. Peace!