Someone earlier had created a topic about the recent NY Times article about Red Venture and for some reason that topic had been deleted before I had the chance to read & respond.
After reading the article, I found it very eye opening and am curious what other's thoughts here may be. A couple sections of the article that stood out to me:
Red Ventures has built a culture that blends warm enthusiasm, progressive social values and the ruthless performance metrics of the direct marketing business.
The company found itself in the publishing business almost by accident, and is now leading a shift in that industry toward what is sometimes called “intent-based media” — a term for specialist sites that attract people who are already looking to spend money in a particular area (travel, tech, health) and guide them to their purchases, while taking a cut.
It’s a step away from the traditional advertising business toward directly selling you stuff. Red Ventures, for instance, plans to steer readers of Healthline to doctors or drugs found on another site it recently acquired, HealthGrades, which rates and refers doctors. Red Ventures will take a healthy commission on each referral.
The arrival of Red Ventures’ executives hasn’t always gone over well among the journalists who find themselves working under Mr. Elias. Journalists, like members of a medieval guild (the guild hall is Twitter), tend to be more connected to the folkways of their profession than to any corporate culture, and some roll their eyes at Red Ventures’ rah-rah retreats, which feature fireworks and song. More troublingly, some reporters at The Points Guy, which also covers the travel industry in general (it has been a comprehensive source for information on where vaccinated Americans can travel), have complained that the new owners have eroded the already rickety wall between the site’s service journalism and the credit card sales that fund it.
Red Ventures is “all about profit maximization,” said JT Genter, who left the site more than a year ago. He and other Points Guy writers said they hadn’t been pushed to publish stories they found dubious — indeed, the site has occasionally offered carefully critical coverage of Chase and American Express, its dominant business partners. But he noted that Points Guy journalists are required to attend regular business meetings detailing how much money the site makes from credit card sales, which some take as a tacit suggestion to put their thumbs on the scale.
Mr. Elias said Red Ventures has a “nonnegotiable line” concerning the editorial independence of its sites, adding that he has given his cell number to CNET employees and instructed them to call him if they ever face pressure from the business side.
“I told them, ‘There’s a red line,’ and they’re like, ‘OK, we’ll see,’” he said.
“Brand and trust are at the core of everything that we do,” said Courtney Jeffus, the president of the company’s financial services division, which includes Bankrate. “If you lose brand trust, then you don’t have a business.”
There’s quite a bit of good news in the rescue of old media brands by Red Ventures and similar companies — CNET plans to hire 150 new employees this year, for instance. A deeper concern may be what it will mean to transform the internet’s independent arbiters into nothing more than the gaping maw of the sales funnel.
After reading the article, the new game plan for GB makes much more sense. I'm curious, is the overall GB community here comfortable with all this? I personally am not and feel more justified in having cancelled my sub.
I also just now opted out of the sale of my information through the link at the bottom of GB's homepage. Also curious, how many others have opted out of Red Ventures selling their information?
What's the overall consensus here knowing this information?