In a perversely exciting turn this week, the tireless water-carriers of Fox News turned their sights on Salon, placing us on a short list of "once popular sites" that are "dead or dying." It's an odd list that lumps user platforms (Bebo, MySpace, Blogger), communities (Digg, Slashdot), Chatroulette, and two content sites: Salon and Gawker. Hey, it's the Internet: Everything is a "site," I suppose.
The story's art clumsily, hilariously, seems to include Fox News in its loser lineup (I like to imagine it as the subversive handiwork of a pissed-off graphic designer):
The write-up has Salon shedding readers like scales from Roger Ailes' backside -- "losing about 1 million regular visitors over the past year, a 37 percent decline." The fizzling started "almost immediately last November when the main editor, Joan Walsh, took a back-seat to write a new book." Fox reports that we're "ad-heavy" (not actually a bad thing for a site relying on ad revenue, by the way) and that we have a hard time competing with the "classier" New Yorker.
I'm going to come clean. He's right -- the New Yorker is definitely "classier"! And I'll confess to missing Joan's regular presence in our daily meeting. Other than that, that blurb is pure bunk. Unique visitors (as opposed to recurring readers who come to the site all the time) to Salon this year are up 16.31 percent from 2010, as you can see from the chart below, which comes from Google Analytics (click chart for a larger image):
We're consistently topping 5 million unique visitors a month (a first for Salon) and hit an all-time high of 6.5 million in March. It took real effort for this intrepid Fox reporter to find the (notoriously unreliable) Compete.com data to prove his counter-thesis; Quantcast, a more reliable traffic monitoring site for us, shows no such traffic drop. (Oddly, Fox has prevented Quantcast from even measuring its data.)
But Fox didn't stop there; today, it unleashed its dead-eyed morning charmer Steve Doocy on the story, which seems to exist purely as an attack on Joan, and a way to promote Andrew Breitbart's network of paranoid news sites (the jabs at Salon begin at around the 2:35 mark):
So why would Fox . . . wait, do I need to even finish that question? Being attacked by Fox means that you've been identified as an enemy (Gawker -- the prime target of the "F&F" spot -- tracks the attention to a Fox investigation they have brewing). But what could we have done?
Here are 10 good reasons from this year alone.