Websites selling their real estate to other websites: can't be a good sign, right?

About a year ago (too lazy to look it up), I was bitching here about how Cracked.com had gotten worse. I don’t think the writing has really improved since then, but what I wanted to talk about (that I didn’t then) is that they now load their site up with links to other sites.

And that’s a trend I’ve seen elsewhere. More junk content, and hence more links to junk content.

Here’s a pertinent and interesting article about what I’m about to talk about:

http://www.wordyard.com/2014/08/19/20-years-is-plenty-lets-stop-waiting-for-online-ads-to-mature/

OK, so let me get this straight… Back in the good old days, the idea was that people would go to websites for content, much like to a TV set, radio, mag, etc., and they would see ads for… products! And we’d buy the McDonald’s and Charmin whatever else, and sites would make ad dollars. All would be well.

Well, as the above link discusses, that didn’t work out. Online advertising is ineffective. It seems that only Google has made money from it (AdWords have always seemed really stupid to me, and I block them anyway, but I guess they work).

But NOW: C’mon, advertising for click-bait sites?! Cracked, you’ve brought in the people, you’ve got them on your real estate. Sell sell sell. Something. Right?! NO?!

So let me get this straight: Cracked.com has nothing to sell people, but it can pass them on to ultimateviralcelebritynews.com or whatever, and then that shitty site WILL sell something to somebody? That’s where the penis enlargement transaction goes down? That’s how it’s supposed to work?!

SMH. The preliminary conclusion I would reach based on the above is that Cracked.com doesn’t actually have a viable business model. Nor does any content-based site that passes visitors onto another site.

Or am I missing something? Help me understand. Thank you!

The method appears to be a viable business model. What makes you think that it is not?

Other websites ARE products.

Because you can’t have an infinite regress of websites selling ads to other websites to other websites–all of which are aiming to bring in visitors. At some point, they have to sell ads for a product or sell an actual product.

I clicked on your link to cracked and the very first thing I see is a banner ad for TMobile, an actual product.

That said, is online advertising even about creating an ad to sell you something? Hasn’t it become big data and getting information about you?

Is this really that different from commercial TV showing commercials for other TV shows?

It’s more like ABC showing ads for shows on FOX and vice versa.

I had assumed they had some regular ads too, although I block them and can’t see them.

I think you are thinking about Facebook, Google, etc., although they are aggregating information in order for their paying advertisers to target you better.

I had thought Dopers would be interested in this topic. No?

This is web syndication. Cracked is doing it for financial gain, somehow, whether it’s through clicks or SEO.

CNN does it too, “Featured Partners.”

I’ve looked into it for my own site, as a way to make it look more active.

In the modern world, it’s best to specialize in something and to subcontract all the other things you’re not specializing in. Who do you subcontract to? Somebody who specializes in that, whatever *that *is.

Cracked.com specializes in one thing: Providing content to obtain eyeballs. They subcontract the rest of the value proposition to specialists. And get paid for each eyeball.

Seems perfectly natural to me. For sure it’s stupid and a colossal shame that the public web developed into an advertiser- / Big Brother Big Data- supported model rather than an adless subscription model. But given where we are, Cracked.com’s decisions make complete sense.