Cats Pondering Baker, Watson Silence, and Clever Webdork Tricks

Things that explode and make BOOM sounds (Photo: Ray Hennessy on Unsplash)

Good morning Cleveland Browns fans!

This morning is kind of a rough one on Newswire-land. The Fourth of July is a wonderful celebration of freedom, patriotism, and accidentally setting trees on fire, but it’s probably the worst day of the year for NFL News. Front offices are vacant, players are on golf courses or beaches somewhere, and even Pro Football Talk takes a day off from pumping out four Deshaun Watson pontifications a day.

Here on the OBR, we published two stories, once of which was a Newswire, which hardly counts as anything approaching journalism. Unless there’s a Pulitzer category for Fat 60-Year Old Typing a Stream of Consciousness into the Ether. Which seems unlikely.

So, today, I’ll explain why you see NFL-related slide shows published even on a holiday and how even this column exploits a hole in the fabric of advertising spacetime to try to, in an absolutely futile fashion, generate revenue.

If you’re not blocking ads (or if you are and have whitelisted the OBR like a good citizen), you will notice some advertisements which might change while you’re on a page. If the ad displays long enough, it registers with the powers that be, and we get credit for an advertising view (which is worth about tenth of a penny in our case).

This column is structured in this way, with each section getting a corresponding advertising view if you stay on it long enough. Unfortunately, this is one of those “scan-and-fly” type columns so people often don’t stay on a section long enough. Plus, subscribers get a different view which loads faster and doesn’t display as many ads, so we don’t register ad views the same way. But, the same basic principle applies… multiple ad/page views for a single article as long as you have the tech to support it.

I’ve linked two Bleacher Report columns further down the page. Both of them are set up as slideshows, a B/R specialty, which often feature the “one player per team who (fill in the blank)” conceit which allows an author to potentially get credit for THIRTY TWO page views for anyone information- starved enough to read some guy’s take at one player on each team who fills in the required blank. Apparently, these are a good revenue generator for Bleacher, because they do an awful lot of them.

There. I’ve shown you a little of the wiring under the pinball machine and why sports websites are the way they are. Don’t blame us, blame capitalism and trying to stay alive in an overcrowded field where people steal original content with abandon and repurpose it under intriguing headlines.

What we rely on here is our community to keep us honest by providing a balance to the financial incentive to try to exploit readers with clickbait headlines or artificially long stories to generate revenue. Respect for the reader is our mantra, and one of the reasons this site was created in the first place. I felt, way back when, that the local media players arrogantly treated fans like rabble, and manipulated their emotions for money. Today, that’s done overtly by aggregating click baiters, who couldn’t care less about anything other than pulling in enough revenue to hopefully get purchased someday.

We exist for different reasons, but the revenue temptation always awaits. It’s up to us – me and you – to call us out when needed and keep the OBR unique and leading with respect for the reader.

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