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Trust Me, I’m Lying

Confessions of a Media Manipulator

By Ryan Holiday
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  • Contains 8 key ideas
Trust Me, I’m Lying: Confessions of a Media Manipulator by Ryan Holiday
Synopsis

Trust Me, I’m Lying (2012) is an in-depth exposé of today’s news culture, which is primarily channeled through online media sites called blogs. By detailing his experiences with multimillion-dollar public relations campaigns, the author takes us behind the scenes of today’s most popular and influential blogs to paint an unsettling picture of why we shouldn’t believe everything that is labeled as news.

Key idea 1 of 8

Bloggers want to make money: primarily through advertising, but most also dream of selling their blog for a fortune.

All blogs, big or small, are businesses. And like all businesses, a blog’s main goal is to make money. They primarily do this by selling advertising space.

Each blog sells advertising space in different ways, but one common way is “per impression” pricing – a fee the advertiser pays a blog for each time someone opens a blog page with their ad on it.

In short, this means blogs make money every time you visit them.

But while advertising keeps a blog going, the big payoff most bloggers dream of is selling their blog to a large media company.

Large media companies buy blogs because each blog is like a piece of internet property with advertising space they can sell. Usually these companies target high-traffic blogs, or blogs with hundreds of thousands of daily visitors, because with these they can sell ad spaces to advertisers at really high rates.

So the more traffic a blog gets, the more it will sell for.

A few examples: blog group Weblogs, Inc. was sold to AOL for $25 million; news aggregator Huffington Post was sold to AOL for $315 million; technology news site Ars Technica was sold to Condé Nast for $30 million.

Most blog owners have this in mind when they start their blog. They know that if they can make their blog look popular enough, some bigger player from news media may just buy it.

After the transaction, the former blogger – now multi-millionaire – might retire to the Caribbean, while the large media company gets a popular site on which it can display advertisements.

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