Stephen Baker

The Numerati
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Is good exposure over-exposed?

February 16, 2010General

Mitch Joel notes that loads of people work for free on sites like Huffington Post just for the exposure. (It's a little like summer interning.) And he wonders if all this "good exposure" might lead to a glut.

That's why we need editors, either human or algorithmic. Successful media sites figure out how to promote the popular stuff and bury the rest. HuffPost, as I wrote a couple weeks ago, monitors the performance of stories hour by hour, and optimizes the page to boost traffic.

And the free laborers' whose work gets buried? They're not necessarily losers. If they cover niche subjects, their HuffPost pieces will pop up high in search results (because HuffPost optimizes for search, too). That way they find their niche audiences without sapping everyone else's attention. (My 2009 BusinessWeek story on free labor.)

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