(F39)_Job:01-40630 Title:RP-Designing the Editional Experience
#175 Dtp:160 Page:64
001-224_40630.indd 64 1/24/14 6:58 PM
64 DESIGNING THE EDITORIAL EXPERIENCE
TEXT
Case Study:
BuzzFeed
WEBSITE: BUZZFEED.COM
FREQUENCY: CONTINUOUSLY
FORMAT: WEBSITE, IOSANDROID APPS
LOCATION: NEW YORK
EDITOR: BEN SMITH
VP OF PRODUCT: CHRIS JOHANESEN
FOUNDERPUBLISHER: JONAH PERETTI
YEAR FOUNDED: 2006
Anyone publishing news or content
of any kind on the web in 2013 had to
look at the BuzzFeed phenomenon
and ask themselves, “How do they do
it?” And by “it” we mean hit six-digit
site traic numbers daily and create
sponsored content that its readers
unquestioningly want to engage with.
BuzzFeed’s publishing model is
unique in that it’s a digital-first
publication that was designed around
the “social web” and sharing. The
site’s claim to fame is the pictorial
“listicle” (list article) format that takes
crowd-generated news from sites
such as Reddit and repurposes it
into scannable and sharable stories.
On the flipside, BuzzFeed has also
invested in quality, long-form political
journalism. What makes it possible
for high- and low-brow content to
coexist? In a 2012 memo that tech
entrepreneur Chris Dixon shared
on his blog, founder Jonah Peretti
explains the secret to his success:
Most publishers build their site by
stapling together products made by
other companies. They get their CMS
from one company, their analytics
package from another, their ad tech
from another, their related content
widgets are powered by another,
sometimes even their writers are
contractors who don’t work for the
company. This is why so many pub-
lishers’ sites look the same and also
why they can be so amazingly com-
plex and hard to navigate. They are
Frankenstein products bolted together
by a tech team that integrates other
people’s products instead of building
their own.
At BuzzFeed, we take the exact
opposite approach. We manage our
own servers, we built our CMS from
scratch, we created our own real-time
stats system, we have our own data
science team, we invented our own ad
products and our own post formats,
and all these products are brought to
life by our own editorial team and our
own creative services team. We are
BuzzFeed’s home page on a smartphone oers an infinite scroll of content upon request. Sponsored content is highlighted with “Presented By
and “Partner” labels, while others wear reader-reaction badges such as “LOL” and “WTF?” Story pages lead with buzz statistics, and tools for
sharing the whole page or a specific image are featured prominently.
(F39)_Job:01-40630 Title:RP-Designing the Editional Experience
#175 Dtp:160 Page:64
001-224_40630.indd 64 1/24/14 7:10 PM

Get Designing the Editorial Experience now with O’Reilly online learning.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from 200+ publishers.