HuffPost profits from Westboro

As of the writing of this post, the Westboro story published by The Huffington Post on the 21st of May (I will not provide a link and if you keep reading you’ll see why) has accumulated 7,159 shares to Facebook.  Understanding that my own blog will have between 25-30% more impressions than shares per post let’s round up and say that this particular HuffPost piece may have had about 10,000 impressions (the math will be easier that way).  And let’s suppose that the CPM advertising rate for the Huffpost is $12 (at the Atlanta Journal Constittion the rate is between $8 and $16).  On that post there are three ad slots (not including the three “sponsored links” that are also revenue generators).  So lets do a little math (now I am a writer so I need a spotter on this one).

If three advertisers are paying $12 per thousand that is $360 for the three ads (not including the sponsored links).  But let’s go a little deeper.  I reloaded the page 5 times and was shown different ads in all three slots each time.  That is 15 advertisers.  If all 15 pay the same rate (which they likely do not) then that post may have generated around $1,800.   Oh, and online advertising is way more complicated but for the sake of all our sanity stick with me.

Ok, so even if I’ve oversimplified the online ad process and my numbers are off I think you see why I am assaulting you in this way.

When we click on a headline about Westboro and their sick brand of crazy hate; when we share on Facebook a post about Phelps and his nasty band of provokers; when we like or comment on a FB post about another ass-hat stunt or stomach churning statement from this toxic clan – we are making money for the media outlets who peddle this fear and loathing for a profit.

So I am asking, pleading in fact, for you to  help with a media blackout of all things Westboro. Don’t click through, don’t share, don’t like or comment (even if you are calling out the sin of WBC).  If we stop making these posts profitable maybe, just maybe folks like HuffPost and The Times will lose interest in a story that is not making them money.  And maybe, just maybe if the spotlight dims on the f’d up behavior of the seething hatred of the heretics of WBC they will begin to lose interest in their blasphemous shenanigans.

This time, all you have to do to make a difference is, well nothing.

About Kimberly Knight

Kimberly has a long history of back-pew sitting, Wednesday night supper eatin' and generally trying God’s patience since 1969. She's lucky enough to have made her technology addiction a career and serves as both the Director of Digital Strategy as a southern liberal arts college and Minister of Digital community with Extravagance UCC.

  • http://www.justjohnboy.com/ justjohn

    long ago, kimberly. i only add stats to those things i believe benefit from them. and add clicks to huffpoh’s that are worthy articles.
    i’ve noticed, however, that huffpoh is getting more sleazy and deceptive with their headline teasers, especially on the mobile apps. sheesh. it’s one thing to be a media whore, quite another to be a tabloid ho’…
    besides all that, i cannot figure out FOR THE LIFE OF ME, how to follow your blog by anything except fracking email. no, no matter how much i love something, email is not an acceptable medium.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/kimberlyknight/ Kimberly

      JustJohn,

      It looks like a bit of your comment may be missing as this one begins with what appears to be the end of a sentence.

      As for following, over in the gray column on the right, about mid-way down, you should see three icons, a Facebook, a Twitter and an RSS logo. You are welcome to follow me using any of those since email is not your cup of tea :)

      Thanks,
      Kimberly

      • http://www.justjohnboy.com/ justjohn

        thanks. this “disqus” doohicky is extremely awkward. guess im spoied by the built-in wordpress mechanisms…

  • http://www.facebook.com/eli.rodriguez3 Eli Rodriguez

    ah finally someone that understands the system! Thank you Kimberly, if only more people knew how hate is spread so we could stop it. The only reason why the Phelps family became so big was because we gave them the spotlight. It’s horrible to see something so powerful like religion put towards hate.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=887710590 Ben Comroe

    I’m sorry to say that is a horrible idea. Ms. Knight, the news companies have always profited from reporting the news. It’s why they exist in the first place. Complaining about the HuffPost profiting from news it publishes about Westboro is the same as complaining about news media profiting from reporting on the Boston bombing, drone killings, or any of the other daily horrible events that happen upon humanity. While it would be nice if some of these messages did not receive our attention, the people behind them are not going to go away by simply plugging our ears and closing our eyes.

    And might I point out that while the media has allowed Westboro to spread its message beyond the immediate area of their protests, it has also allowed a great number of people to witness the greatness in humanity as well:
    http://www.usnews.com/news/newsgram/articles/2013/04/22/westboro-baptist-church-protest-of-bombing-victims-funeral
    http://samuel-warde.com/2012/12/bikers-block-westboro-baptist-church/
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/10/04/AR2010100406662.html

    (I avoided any articles from the HuffPost, per your request)

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/kimberlyknight/ Kimberly

      Ben,

      Thanks for your comment, here are a few thoughts in response.

      First, though you may think that including a formal address of Ms. Knight you are being respectful it actually comes across a little condescending – I will choose to believe you intended the former just in case.

      Second, not in words nor by implication did I request that we avoid ANY article from the HuffPost, that is what you inferred by taking one idea and pushing it to an extreme. Unhelpful in any conversation. But you do make a fantastic point that the media always profits from evil – and that is worth saying over and over again.

      Third, not in words nor by implication did I suggest that we avoid all media outlets nor the good in humanity that they report. The articles you recommend do indeed garner our attention as people choose in tangible ways to stand up for what right and stand down the crazy. The article I am responding to simply posted the bad and in no way offers a the sort of courageous response exemplified in the pieces you shared.

      Fourth, and this was my own worry after I posted my piece – I am not at all saying that we ignore WBC when they come to our towns. I believe strongly that when their insane hatred leaks into our community that we should go out and block them from the view of the mourners (or any others) they are assaulting.

      Fifth, I do not believe that if we “plug our ears and close our eyes” they will simply go away, but when a news outlet posts over and over again the negative to accumulate eyeballs in order to get paid, I am just at my moral wit’s end with that behavior. We are a nation in love with fear and afraid of love. We are have a sick hunger for all that is twisted and ugly in the world and I am tired of giving into that impulse and helping other’s greed flourish off of the impulse to slow down and stare at the train wreck.

      Lastly, I do believe we are called to lift up counter voices of love and peace in many venues – blogging, new sites, podcasts and where-ever else we can. Unfortunately good news does not sell nearly as many ads as tragic. Will that necessitate pointing out when and where evil has occurred, abso-freakin-lutely.

      Will I stop posting about the sickness infecting our society at the hands of heretics like Piper, Robertson and a slew of other hate-stirrers – not even a chance – I will frequently post responses to the ignorance and fear mongering.

      I am simply asking that we try to curtail our own impulse to click through on hate and pay the piper of evil.

      • James_Jarvis

        The Huffington Post like a lot of media outlets is all about generating profit. I am old enough to remember Walter Cronkite on the evening news, back when news was considered a public service and not a form of entertainment. I stopped visiting the Huffington Post long ago because I was tired of its lack of any real content. There are far better “news” sites out there. The proper response to WBC and its ilk is to ignore them. They thrive on attention and reporting their actions only encourages them. They get way more attention than they merit and reporting their protests only spreads their sicking message. I totally agree with you that when WBC or others like them show up locally people of good conscience need to block their hate filled messages from those it is directed at. Let us be the light unto the world that drives away the darkness. As Christians we are called to love those that hate us even when they revile us. Love drives away hate in fact it is the only thing that can.


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