In recent months, news aggregators like the Huffington Post have received heated criticism from some who believe they’re stealing valuable traffic and ad revenue from newspapers. Appeals court Judge Richard Posner recently wrote a widely-linked post arguing that copyright law should be changed in order to bar linking to websites and paraphrasing their content. Some newspapers execs argue that news aggregators simply repackage news so there’s little incentive to click on the actual link.
So how much traffic does a large news aggregator like Huffington Post bring? I’ve been linked several times within Huffington Post, but typically on its users blogs, which only send a few hundred readers at most. But on early Friday I was fortunate enough to be featured prominently on Huffington Post’s front page with a banner headline linking to one of my articles.
How much traffic did this link bring? Lots. For the first three hours I received approximately 4,000 unique visitors an hour to just that one article. Traffic for the rest of the day remained strong, not once dipping below 2,000 uniques an hour as the link began traveling down the front page. By midnight that night, Huffington Post had sent approximately 30,000 unique visitors to that one article
But though the first day’s worth of traffic was the heaviest, the Huffington Post continued to send me strong traffic for two more days as the link moved down on its main page but remained prominent on its highly-trafficked Politics page. On Saturday I received an additional 8,000 uniques from Huffington Post And then on Sunday I received about 2,000 uniques
All together, I’ve received a grand total of 37,739 unique visitors from a prominent link on the Huffington Post over a three day period, and even now I’m still seeing relatively strong traffic from there.
So one link, 37,000 eyeballs. Of course the prominence of the links matter in determining whether you get a few hundred readers or several thousand, but this case shows that Huffington Post can easily send Drudge or Digg level traffic to your site, and it remains strong over a length of time.