ShiftCentral / Quality over quantity shows signs of (finally!) paying off

Quality over quantity shows signs of (finally!) paying off

For the Internet to thrive, content providers must be paid for their work. The long-term prospects are good, but I expect a lot of disappointment in the short-term as content companies struggle to make money through advertising or subscriptions. It isn’t working yet, and it may not for some time.” Bill Gates, 1996

The “marketplace of content” Bill Gates envisioned in his famous article Content is King is showing signs of placing a higher premium on boutique articles and research than ever before.

Investment research website Seeking Alpha sent out a note this week outlining their plans to stop paying Yahoo Finance for traffic and redirect those funds to contributors. Seeking Alpha editor-in-chief Eli Hoffmann cited a number of reasons for severing the relationship: the cost-per-click of using Yahoo Finance was prohibitive, and Yahoo’s populist bent meant the site’s technical equity research articles were too esoteric to garner a lot of attention.

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Hoffmann also noted that visitors to SA from Yahoo Finance read 40% fewer articles per visit than visitors who come from the website’s email alerts. “We care enormously about the quality of discussion on Seeking Alpha, which comes from the quality of our community and readership,” he added.

This is a bold move worthy of praise and attention. Seeking Alpha is showing that it recognizes the value of specialized, high-quality content and is willing to place a substantial bet on it doing a better job of winning an audience than paying the big bully on the block to drum up business. Throw in the fact that SA’s entire mandate is dedicated to making astute financial choices and its move to focus on content enrichment over click-collecting seems even more prescient.