I’m a habitue of Drudge. Though Matt Drudge has a political and sometimes social agenda, the site links to news I find interesting and does it on a fast and constant basis. Drudge is mostly a collector of news rather than a reporter. Just about all his headlines point to stories on other sites.
Until recently, most of Drudge’s stories came from traditional sources. If a story was actually from the Associated Press, he’d find a website carrying it and link there. You’d be directed to a newspaper, TV station, magazine or Yahoo, which carries wire service reports.
Now, he’s started linking to lots of stories on breitbart.com. Breitbart.com looks like an automated aggregator of AP and Reuters wire stories.
Quite honestly, I’d never heard of it or of Andrew Breitbart, the person whose telephone number is listed as the contact for the web address.
I’m not in Los Angeles, but I used Google’s mapping facility to look at breitbart.com’s physical address. It looks like a residential area just off the San Diego Freeway and near UCLA.
Then I started checking his name. Here’s a quote from Andrew Breitbart on author Roger Simon’s site.
The New York Times got it right — I am amicably leaving the Drudge Report after a long and close working relationship with Matt Drudge, a man who will rightfully take his place in the history books as an Internet news pioneer. I am also excited to be a partner in an inspired new endeavor, the Huffington Post. The last time I worked with Arianna she got a guy who didn’t deserve to be buried in Arlington National Cemetery disinterred. That was cool. I admit: I like to go where the action is.
And, if you go to the Internet Archives and look at some older breitbart.com pages, they actually show Drudge’s site. Well, they all do except this one. Oops.
So, it looks like Breitbart is now somehow connected with Arianna Huffington – liberal and, once again, Matt Drudge – conservative.
Is Drudge is sending all this traffic Breitbart’s way out of the goodness of his heart?
There’s nothing nefarious here (well nothing I can see). If there’s a financial relationship between Breitbart and Drudge, traditional journalists might question the ethical connotations of linking for profit. There’s nothing I’ve looked at that says that’s what’s happening and far be it from me to judge ethics. I just don’t know.
I’m writing what I found because I saw unusual online behavior and put 2+2 together. It’s all out in the open.
For me, it was interesting to see this new website spring up and get much of Drudge’s business. That’s where my curiosity kicked in. If you can aggregate tens or hundreds of thousands of hits… or more, Google ads (or similar ads, sold by others and placed on your site) alone could make a small, automated website very profitable with little investment or ongoing effort.
Blogger’s note: While looking through more websites, trying to read up on Andrew Breitbart, I stumbled on the fact that his father-in-law is Orson Bean. If the name means nothing to you, don’t worry. If you’re my age, Orson Bean was a very witty New Englander who worked the TV game show circuit in the 60s and 70s. I was a big fan. I wondered where he went.