The question of the day is whether The Bold Italic website from Gannett Company, Incorporated (NYSE: GCI,FWB: GTT, S&P 500 Component) is “villainous” – that’s the talk of the town, lately.
“They’re hardly the villains in this town.”
Well let’s see.
I’ll tell you, over the years I thought that TBI was just one dude, a dude that I came across all the way back in 2010. He was proud that the average TBI visitor stayed on the site (or on a webpage or something) for like five minutes. Now we’ll see about that stat in a moment, but I’m just shocked that TBI has/had all those employees plus a custom-made clubhouse complete with reclaimed wood in Hayes Valley. That’s where I’m coming from.
Hey did you know that’s there’s a website called The Gannett Blog and it’s based in San Francisco? (I didn’t.) Anywho, let’s hear about the TBI from Anonymous:
“The revenue plan was mysterious because there was no revenue. Not for the first 24 months anyway. The Bold Italic had a burn rate that rivals some of the most infamous dot.com fizz outs. They blew through $2 million a year for the first 2 years, before snagging a whopping $41k in revenue based on their skimming from entertainment ticket / event sales.”
Is that true? I don’t know. But where did that $41k figure come from? Such specificity!
Of course public relations doctrine from your S&P 500 type of companies is to say that such a specific statement such as this is “false” or “way off.” That kind of thing is called a pregnant denial by some.
So, has The Gannet Company, Incorporated spent millions and millions of dollars on The TBI the past few years?
Sure looks that way.
That’s starting to remind me of The Bay Citizen, actually. (Of course the TBC produced a lot of great journalism, IMO.)
So that’s one side of the ledger, millions upon millions spent, or wasted, whichever, but what about revenue coming in? What about the number of readers, for example.
Let’s check Alexa, The Web Information Company.
Ooh, here’s something:
Click to expand
The above graph show what the Alexa people think has been going on the past week. The San Francisco Chronicle / SFGate.com is in there as a baseline – it’s consistently something like the 1000th most popular website in the world, or something. No surprise there.
And look, this pathetic blog, the one you’re looking at right now, the one filled with animal photos and whatnot, the one with overhead of less than $100 per year, managed to make the grade as well. I can assure you that this is anomalous – either it’s a mistake or maybe a big website pointed to one bit and that generated a burst of traffic. I don’t actually know, or care to know, to be honest, and even if I did, I don’t know how to find out, oh well.
The real test is how TBI does compared with someplace like SFist, which is basically run by one dude. Check out Alexa – you can see that TBI gets beat by SFist consistently and thoroughly, week after week, month after month, year after year.
And I suspect that blue bump you see up there, when TBI clearly broke into top 100,000 territory, mostly had to do with the controversy related to a recent post from KevMo, Kevin Montgomery of TUA, The Uptown Almanac.
And even that minutes-spent-onsite-per-visitor stat, the one that’s supposed to Have Meaning, turns out to be three minutes for both The TBI and SFist.com
Of course there are other ways of getting revenue than simply having people look at your site.
Like there’s “partnerships” ‘n stuff.
That issue will be Exhibit 2 in the case against TBI.
(I haven’t proven villainousness yet, I’ll agree. I’m still on the fence. But I’ll look into it.)
All right, TBC, To Be Continued…