I have a bit of an Alexa problem. I spend a bit more time than is healthy analyzing the reach of website A compared to website B. The result is cheap posts, but I’m going to do one more before I swear off the practice. So here we go:

(1) Of newspaper websites, the New York Times is by far the most popular, despite being only the third most popular paper in terms of print circulation. The Washington Post is the second most popular newspaper website (it’s fifth in terms of print circuation).

USA Today (print #1), the Wall Street Journal (#2) and the Los Angeles Times (#4) lag behind the Times and the Post in terms of online reach. You can throw the WSJ numbers out the window – WSJ charges for all online content.

What we have here is the triumph of brand and influence over print circulation.

You could argue that the reason for the dominance of the Times and the Post in terms of online readership is a triumph of superior online strategies. To me, that argument rings false. Online newspaper readers are the saviest of Americans – they value quality over popularity. The online popularity of the Times and the Post is an indication of those papers’ influence. I would argue that online readership is a better indication of influence than circulation.

I would also argue that the WSJ is hurting itself by charging for all online content. In the Web 2.0 world, charging for all content is a fast track to irrelevance.

(2) Digg.com isn’t that far behind the third most popular online print newspaper site, USA Today. And Digg.com is way ahead of newspapers outside of the top five in terms of online reach.

Anyone interested in understanding the true impact of online readership needs to pay attention to social media sites like Digg.com.

About the Author
Todd Zeigler
Todd Zeigler serves as the Brick Factory’s chief strategist and oversees the operations of the firm. In his sixteen year career in digital, he has planned and implemented campaigns for clients including the Pickens Plan, International Youth Foundation, Panthera, Edison Electric Institute, and the American Chemistry Council. Todd develops ambitious online advocacy programs, manages crises, implements online marketing strategies, and develops custom applications and software. He is bad at golf though.