And you thought the “Digg Effect” was bad. Behold the Yahoo link effect. A link featured at the top of Yahoo’s front page sent more than 9 million page views to an article published on The New York Times’ website during a period of just two hours last week, breaking records for web traffic at the paper. Unfortunately, the massive spike in traffic failed to produce much advertising revenue.
The article to which Yahoo had linked was a Home & Garden piece on bargain house hunting in undesirable locales. Getting hit at a rate of 7,300 hits per second, the Times was unable to capitalize on the massive audience because they could only serve cheap, remnant ads to the unexpected visitors. According to the Times, however, if Yahoo had linked to an article in either the Small Business or Theater section, revenue would have likely been much better because there is a higher demand in these sections for expensive advertising.
What’s interesting about this is that small-time web publishers run into the exact same problems that a huge media outlet like the NY Times does – how to capitalize on an unanticipated, massive influx of traffic to a website. If someone like them can’t figure out how to make adequate revenue on traffic like that, is there any hope for us little guys?