Tortoise Traffic Bombing

Media grand panjandrum, James Harding, was just on Politics Live lauding the merits of Tortoise Media and the untapped demand for slow news. Despite all their millions raised, wall-to-wall coverage in the broadsheets and endless boosting from the BBC, “Centrist Dad Media” is not winning readers.

According to analytics data from SimilarWeb their visitor numbers are barely a few thousand a day. Guido regularly gets more traffic in one day than they do in months and our readers stay on our site for longer on average than Tortoise readers.

They will no doubt point out quite fairly that Guido has been around for fifteen years whereas they have been around just a year. Or they will claim that most of their traffic is via their app – which has been downloaded a few thousand times. Or that is building a “membership model”. Whatever.

Let’s gloss over that Cadwalladrish article that intimated that Steve Bannon was guiding Boris Johnson’s campaign for the Tory leadership. Guido thought Tortoise were supposed to be countering “fake-news”…  

It is a surprisingly resilient myth that there is an untapped audience crying out for boring, long-winded centrist content. Readers wanting longer articles already have Prospect Magazine for that or on the right StandPoint Magazine. Both publications lose more money than they have readers.

Guido’s iron rule of online media is that in the main those that have financial backing from patrons or venture capitalists lose money – because they can. Publications that survive only on the revenue they generate are successful and better reads – because they have to be. Britain has a number of digital publishing successes; Lad Bible, PinkNews and Mumsnet spring to mind. Profit is the only guarantee of sustainability and independence…


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