The three top English Language news websites in North America last month were the Huffington Post, The New York Post, and the Daily Mail Online, as reported by Roy Greenslade in the Guardian’s media blog.
The Huffington Post is coming to the UK to join the online tabloids, and is launching on July 6th:
Arianna Huffington today confirmed that her eponymous US news website will launch in the UK on 6 July, as part of ambitious plans to be in a dozen countries by the end of the year.
Speaking in Cannes this morning, the Huffington Post founder said the UK site would take the same format of the US version, which mixes original news reporting with legions of blogs.
“We’re launching in the UK on July 6,” Huffington said.
Legions of blogs, and – it seems – oodles of bodacious boobs ‘n’ bums in bikinis.
Bikinis in the News
In early May the Daily Quail blog, one of a number of blogs which focus on sensationalism in the media, looked at blog ranked several national newspapers according to the number of mentions of “bikini” on their websites. The results were not very surprising:
Daily Express: 2,510 mentioning ‘bikini’
Daily Star: 3.520
The Guardian: 5,100
The Mirror: 6,320
The Sun: 49,400
The Daily Mail: 155,000
The Daily Mail dominate, and they have a two-track racy/censorious strategy online, which is more salacious than the Mail in print. We can look forward to the same online approach thing from the Huffington Post, which sets up a slight tension with some aspects of left-of-centre politics.
This, for example, is Kim Kardashian, not being at all sexually objectified:
As the HuffPo put it:
Lying on her back, oiled up and in bikini, Kardashian looks ready for summer.
So I reran the test including the HuffPo, and also a couple of newspapers missed by the Quail, using the uncensored version of Google search (i.e., safesearch=off), the “site” operator, and Google.co.uk. Here is an example for a search of the Daily Mail on bikini. I also did a search on “thong”, and another using the Google images search, which has been a significant traffic source for some time. I was not logged into my Google account at the time.
Looking for Bikinis – Google
Here are the results for “bikini”, and also “thong”, in the Google search.
I’ve excluded the Times, as these days Rupert Murdoch has locked his paper inside online Alcatraz.
Daily Express: (express.co.uk) 1850 results for bikini (thong: 169 results)
Daily Star: (dailystar.co.uk) 1870 results for bikini (thong: 301 results)
The Guardian: (guardian.co.uk) 4930 results for bikini (thong: 1380 results)
The Telegraph:(telegraph.co.uk) 2030 results for bikini (thong: 619 results)
The Independent:(independent.co.uk) 3570 results for bikini (thong: 526 results)
The Mirror: (mirror.co.uk) 8700 results for bikini (thong: 860 results)
The Sun: (thesun.co.uk) 17,100 results for bikini (thong: 3950 results)
Looking at Bikinis – Google images
Here are the results for “bikini”, and also “thong”, in the Google images search, a source of significant traffic.
I’ve excluded the Times again.
Daily Express: (express.co.uk) 1830 results for bikini (thong: 141 results)
Daily Star: (dailystar.co.uk) 1890 results for bikini (thong: 332 results)
The Guardian: (guardian.co.uk) 1870 results for bikini (thong: 2420 results)
The Telegraph:(telegraph.co.uk) 2280 results for bikini (thong: 675 results)
The Independent:(independent.co.uk) 1770 results for bikini (thong: 285 results)
The Mirror: (mirror.co.uk) 16,100 results for bikini (thong: 2260 results)
The Sun: (thesun.co.uk) 16,100 results for bikini (thong: 11,900 results)
Bear in mind that these figures can only ever be indicative, and that some newspapers deliver results from subsites, such as the Telegraph’s Fashion Shop.
There is one point that really stands out, and that is that the Huffington Post will ‘out Daily Mail’ the Daily Mail, and comes with more bikinis than all the rest surveyed put together.
Newspapers as Blogs
As I hinted at the top, newspapers also adjust their content mix and presentation online.
The Next Web has noted that the Mail’s rise to the top of the UK online newspaper pile has followed a blog-like strategy; and the site has done a more detailed review of the paper’s strategy under 5 headings:
- Different headlines from the paper version. MailOnline opts for the kinds of stories that might not be the ‘biggest’ of the day, but that will get people talking and sharing. In this case, a story with shock value.
- Celebrities. MailOnline is heavy on celebrities fluff stories because they’re a big draw. While they wouldn’t work so well in the paper version, online you can pump out these types of posts quickly and generate lots of traffic with relatively little effort.
- Lots of images. Many newspaper websites try to recreate the look of an actual newspaper. MailOnline forgoes that with images strewn all over the place, giving it more of a ‘magazine’ feel.
- ‘Talking points’ work well online. “Man ordered to pay £1,500 after being found guilty of drowning a squirrel” is the kind of story you might see on a Gawker Media blog. It may be a serious story about animal cruelty but as we said in point 1, it’s a ‘talking point’ story. It may only warrant a small mention in a print newspaper but it gets frontpage treatment here because MailOnline knows that web users have very different priorities.
- Different editorial staff. Most newspapers’ staff work across print and web. Not at the Mail, here it’s two separate teams. This is important because web writing is very different to writing for print. Web articles generally work better when short and concise while print articles can spend longer ‘telling a story’
The Huffington Post is a blog, and one of the things which they seem to be bringing is more exaggerated search engine targeting. Hear is Kim Kardashian again, in a not-particularly-extreme picture.
Yet it is named:
Kim Kardashian: Nearly Bare Breasts String Bikini Twitter Picture (PHOTO)
and with the first paragraph of the article consisted of overegged descriptions in category links:
Kardashian, Kim Kardashian, Kim Kardashian Bikini, Kim Kardashian Bikini Photo, Kim Kardashian Breasts, Kim Kardashian Breasts Photo, Kim Kardashian Naked, Kim Kardashian Naked Photo, Kim Kardashian Nude, Kim Kardashian Sexy, Kim Kardashian Twitter, Entertainment News
That’s where we’re going, folks.
And I trust that the site will be added to the Quail’s ‘naughty list’.
Matt Wardman blogs at The Wardman Wire, on media, politics and technology, in addition to writing at the Raccoon’s burrow.