Evidently we’re doing it wrong. Robert Stacy McCain asked how it could be possible for a Web site (BuzzFeed) to be valued at $200 million, and how an actual TV channel (Current TV) with fewer viewers than several Web sites you could name could sell for $500 million.
I pointed out in comments that Al-Jazeera, new owners of Current, and BuzzFeed had one thing in common: neither of them benefited from the tender ministrations of Tina Brown, who is basically the Ted McGinley of new media. Which gave McCain an idea:
What we need to do is start marketing ourselves as innovative visionary entrepreneurs, throwing around catch-phrases — optimization! networking! interactivity! — and hustle up $40 million in venture capital with promises to re-invent the digital wheel. Then we outsource this grimy content-provider work to Indonesia.
After all, it’s only content. This is the stuff that really matters:
What counts is the SEO and stuff like that. Also, venture capital — lots and lots of venture capital. And then we throw a couple of lavish parties for our friends at the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, etc., and they’ll write up a lot of breathless feature stories about how we’ve captured the online Zeitgeist and have “expected revenues” of some ginormous number that we just pull out of thin air.
I have long suspected that all “expected revenues” figures were actually the product of rectal extraction, but the source apparently matters less than the dissemination.