Business Insider: You were an AOL executive who co-founded entertainment site TMZ. Now you run Vox, which has completely different, more serious content than the gossip site. Why the 180 in your career?
Jim Bankoff: It’s important to note that TMZ was a joint venture between AOL and Time Warner Telepictures. The other thing to be clear about is that it was really Harvey Levin who ran the editorial direction and who made TMZ what it was and what it still does to this day.
While sure, the Vox properties don’t do anything remotely close to what TMZ does, what we have in common is we believed (when I joined Vox) that publishing was changing. It was becoming more social. It was becoming more real-time, personality and voice-driven. TMZ is certainly all of those things.
Business Insider: Vox sites don’t do slideshows, listicles, or punchy headlines. How does that affect traffic? How much social traffic does Vox Media get?
JB: We get a lot of social referral traffic. Like most publishers, it’s a high-growth part of what we’re doing. We think it’s great. A saying around here is “substance is viral.” People are sharing our stuff on Facebook and LinkedIn. We really pride ourselves on being able to convert that social traffic over time.
What we don’t try to do is game the algorithm. We didn’t do that in search and we don’t do that in social. Having said that, word of mouth or social media is critical. It’s an important part of being relevant. We believe whole-heartedly in not gaming it or dumbing our content down. Ultimately, we think Facebook and Twitter as platforms don’t believe in that either. Success will be found by companies creating the best stuff, not those who are doing something artificial to change that.
Business Insider: What’s Vox Media’s traffic like?
JB: Traffic is booming across all of our verticals. In 2013 we were the fastest-growing publisher across the ComScore 100.
Excerpt Source: Business Insider