Ingram is interviewed by The Media Briefing about the “vicious circle” that leads some publishers to chase huge audience figures at the expense of their identity.
Certainly some publishers that started out with a very targeted focus had to grow and expand the range of things they cover and write about. When you do that you become more and more like a mass media outlet like a newspaper, and the conventional wisdom is that’s not what people want any more. People don’t want something that is about everything. They want sites that are specifically about the things they’re interested in. That’s a very difficult game to play…It’s very hard to build a giant mass audience made up of highly targeted verticals.
And on the perils of using Facebook and Google as a platform:
To the extent that you use a platform to [grow to scale], you are empowering the platform. You’re not necessarily empowering you. To some extent those two things can work together, but in many ways you’re actually helping something that’s in many cases a competitor become stronger. Everyone’s focusing on the same things and the question becomes ‘what are you doing that’s any different’…Is it just about scale, is it just about having views, is it just about how many clicks? And if it is, Google and Facebook are the ones who win, not you.