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Buzzfeed will implode, quothe WolffWhile Denton has rebuffed all offers to buy his profitable business, the unprofitable BuzzFeed searches the market for a greater fool. Ben Smith, its top editor, told me recently he didn't expect BuzzFeed to be around in three years, not under its present owners nor in its present form.
Buzzfeed wins by iterating its quizes
The more successful stories in the social age also tend to reflect the sharer's identity. "Sharing leaked Rihanna cellphone pictures isn't really something you do on Facebook. 'Hey, I hear there are nude Rihanna pictures, can someone send them to me, as I've got some time this weekend?' That's not something you'd post, even though people do Google for the pictures. Social has enabled the ability to do substantive stuff that ties in with people's identity. If you share a Harvard Business Review article, it's partly because your peers see you sharing something from a respected publication. People got used to this idea that you had to dumb down your content to be popular. In fact you're more likely to spread smart content. We did a very literary post on books you need to read in your twenties. It has millions of views, partly from people who want to be seen as literary."
Search over-optimisation on other sites gave Peretti an opportunity. "You can make a crap article that's perfectly SEO'd and generates a lot of traffic, but you can't call that a win if it gives people a bad experience. In the SEO era, getting readers was about smart tricks. We think differently -- what need does a story play in someone's life? When you're having a rough day at work and see '13 Simple Steps To Get You Through A Rough Day', that's servicing an emotional need: look at this hedgehog wearing a tiny hat -- you feel better, you share it with your friends."