The most-read news site in Norway may have something to teach the rest of us. By its editor’s own admission, VG is “the world’s ugliest news site” but it’s making a bundle. Kristine Lowe at Journalism.co.uk quotes editor-in-chief Torry Pedersen as saying the secret of the site’s success lies in its messy structure:
The great thing about it is that it lets you discover things you did not know you were interested in. Other news sites divide their content in neatly defined sections, but we believe that people will drink champagne with frozen pizza if given the choice. That, if given the choice on the same page, people will want to read both a well argued piece on file-sharing and a story on Britney Spears’ latest escapades.
They must be doing something right. Lowe says the site has 2.7 million unique users in a country with a population of 4.6 million, and that VG’s profit margin has been 42-45 per cent for the last three years.