With the news that former-Guardian man Paul Hamilos has been hired by the world’s number one shareable content website to take on the role of foreign news editor there can be no question over the direction BuzzFeed is heading in. The site’s increase in ‘hard news’ has been evident for some time.
Originally launched back in 2006 as BuzzFeed Labs, the URL that now claims 16million unique users per month in the UK alone is really still a grand experiment. The idea was to create, test and track digital content with the hope of gaining an insight into the type of posts with the greatest potential to go viral, and whilst that continues you could argue that another evaluation is now also taking place.
The ongoing expansion of the platform’s journalistic reportage suggests a plan to try and create an outlet for quality articles, supplemented by more popular, profitable GIFs and lists, which continue to be the main drivers in terms of traffic. It’s nothing we don’t all know already, so for the sake of contrast here are six things you might not be aware of when it comes to the BuzzFeed empire.
1. BuzzFeed has been repeatedly accused of lifting its ‘listicle’ content from Reddit. In the past, CEO and founder Jonah Peretti even told Mashable they were “very concerned??? at potentially “pissing off??? the Reddit community.
2. BuzzFeed’s acclaimed investigative team is headed up by Pullitzer-winning journalist Mark Schoofs, however page data shows that much of this content is shared via social channels before people have had time to read the article.
3. The biggest viral hit on BuzzFeed during 2013 was 21 Pictures That Will Restore Your Faith In Humanity, with 11.3million views, although that failed to top the all-time number one, 45 Most Powerful Images of 2011, which claimed 12million hits.
4. According to a piece written by Business Insider’s Nicholas Carlson, subsequently altered to place the emphasis on BuzzFeed’s hard news offering, a key reason for the site’s success ‘could be’ the purchase of Facebook ads to promote content deemed to be potentially shareable, rather than the quality of that content.
5. Quantcast puts BuzzFeed’s global audience at 85million unique visitors per month from desktops alone.
6. The big boss, Mr Perretti, claims BuzzFeed receives half of its overall traffic from mobile devices. If that’s true, you can double the figure referenced above.