The love/hate relationship with Drudge

Big media may not like him, but they do need him.

Matt Drudge, of the Drudge Report, has become important to major media’s news operations. A link from Drudge can rocket traffic that day. The LA Times profiles the media-shy Drudge in Hot links served up daily: Internet pioneer Matt Drudge sifts the news online and sends millions here and there. In the article several admit that while the criticism him publicly, they also alert him to items hoping for a link.

Every day, journalists and media executives in newsrooms across the land hope they’ll have something that catches Drudge’s fancy — or, as he has put it, “raises my whiskers.” Most keep their fingers crossed that he’ll discover their articles on his own and link to them. Others are more proactive, sending anonymous e-mails or placing calls to him or his behind-the-scenes assistant.

Thanks to the help of a go-getter ad salesman, the fortunes of Drudge Report have improved too:

Gone is the cramped Hollywood apartment and the little Geo Metro that Drudge used to drive around town. He now lives and works in a $1-million-plus condominium in Miami’s super-sleek Four Seasons hotel, “where civilized living reaches its highest form of expression,” according to a sales pitch for the residences.

The site also understands the value of content — at least as he defines it:

According to Nielsen/NetRatings, the Drudge Report received 3 million unique visits in June, with visitors spending an average of 1 hour and 6 minutes on the site. That’s a lot of time clicking around, giving advertisers more opportunities to be seen. Nielsen/NetRating’s measurements also show that visitors return an average of 20 times a month. Most newspaper websites would be fortunate to draw a quarter as many return visits.

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