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The author is shorted sighted. I'm surprised so many people on HN following his thought patterns, because what Buzzfeed is doing is nothing short of classic disruption.

In a disruptive startup, you always start with a _worse_ product that appeals to a marginally group of users who'll fervently love you.

The demographic that's on Buzzfeed all the time, is the type who wouldn't be reading news anyways. So what if they look at cats and take quizes, and once in a while eyeball an article about Ferguson / Ukraine / ISIS that they wouldn't have done anyways. Look at http://www.buzzfeed.com/world, how many of those are linkbaits? How many are quality contents? It's not unimaginable that overtime, the (vegetable news) : (shitty news) ratio can increase.

Hating on Buzzfeed is like hating on Pinterest in early days because it was made for a bunch of old women, or AirBNB because it promotes unsafe and unregulated travel, or Dropbox because it promotes uncontrolled privacy by moving your stuff online. You can't please everyone all the time, so you start with a niche and increase quality overtime to appeal the the mass audience.

Why can't people accept that Buzzfeed, at its current state, isn't meant to appeal to everyone? Those who bash at Buzzfeed sound like the mindless YouTube comments on Justin Bieber's videos saying how shitty his music is. It's not for you. Don't listen to it.

Jonah Peretti figured out how to spam the web better than anyone with the Huffington Post. He also figured out how to get away with it. It's been called the veneer strategy. The idea is to take a little bit of legit content and make it look like that's the site. In reality all of your real traffic comes into your many thousands of shitty linkbait articles. This throws off Google's spam team and confuses people about what you're doing. Hopefully you sell before the house of cards comes crumbling down.

There's a reason McDonald's sells salads and it's not because they believe it's the future of fastfood. It provides cover when the idea of sickening billions with shitty food occasionally heats up.


Do you happen to have any links to read more about this veneer strategy?

I think I've only heard it called that. I'm not sure I've read it. I just didn't want to pretend I was coining it. I've heard it called other similar things.

the piece relies on "We never saw a down/mass market product morphing into a premium media", so yes, for him it is unimaginable.

I don't know if that is true, but if you argue against the letter you should refute _that_ argument.

Vice is a fairly compelling case. They started with trashy "Do"s and "Don't"s, and now have reporters embedded within ISIS.

Rolling Stone.

Cosmopolitan magazine.

Vice has been mentioned.

Playboy "read it for the articles" was probably the originator.

Is it really worthwhile to invest all of our innovation in trying to figure out how to make more addictive, mindless tabloids? Huffington Post and Daily Mail are bad enough.

I'll say this for what its worth, i have been very surprised at how good their business articles are!

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