The Allure | Music Journalism and Online Advertising
In an isolated incident of cosmic collective thinking the other day—an occurrence I'm less and less surprised by everyday—a friend sent an e-mail with some 'food for thought on how to monetize Dialogue Inc. Within the same hour, we stumbled across an article written by David Johnson-Igra for Noisey entitled "How Online Advertising is Killing Music Journalism." This post marks Dialogue Inc's 400th since we launched the site in June of 2008, and we figured it was as good as any to comment on our ongoing endeavor, how it's always been a labor of love, and how it's one that doesn't get nearly enough traffic to warrant advertising.
Both our friend's e-mail and Johnson-Igra's article got us thinking about all the reasons we wish it did though. More respectable traffic would certainly open up a world of new opportunities for us: Money to spruce up the design, clout across the far-reaching World Wide Web, greater opportunity to feature artists, and the ever-alluring opportunity to be a greater voice within the music community. We've had a taste of this through outlets like Time Out Chicago and XLR8R, so why not bring that power home, where our various ramblings, opinions, and observances were first given voice?
Of course there are practical obstacles—like holding down a day job—that prevent us from supplying content with the regularity that is crucial to running a more successful site. But there is also the concern that Johnson-Igra raises in his think piece: To get the hits that will ultimately determine your success, you must track your coverage in towards the status quo in order to truly drive your traffic up. Occasionally, we are in a position to be early to market with news bits that give us that coveted page view spike, but really we're just a long-winded proto-Tumblr page (follow our actual Tumblr here: Dialogue Inc | Tumblr) that posts about music we love, artists we respect, culture happenings we find intriguing, and the business behind it all.
We've done our SEO 101 but that's about it. We're not going to drop in written content in reference to your online gaming site in exchange for $100 in credit, we'll promote things we like—and hopefully things you like too—but this was never about chasing after hits. We'll continue to write too much in each post and hope that you read at least half of it. We'll continue to be proud of posts that get 500 hits because we covered something the Web decided was cool. But mostly, we'll continue to do our part to feature things that deserve to be getting page views, and hopefully one day, will.
— Joshua P. Ferguson