Jan 4, 2015 · 1 minute

Back in September, I noted that as part of a major facelift of Pierre Omidyar's The Intercept, the site had begun displaying traffic numbers for its posts. As I wrote at the time, those publicly available numbers seemed to show a site which was struggling to break into the mainstream, with just 13k pageviews a day.

The move was apparently the idea of former Gawker editor John Cook, who had copied it from his auld boss Nick Denton. Denton has always taken an almost perverse joy in showing readers how the Gawker sausage is made and in publicly embarrassing underperforming writers into writing better pageview-bait.

Two months later, Cook quit the Intercept to return to Gawker. Now it seems like the site's remaining writers are reasserting their authority. Over the new year break, the Intercept quietly removed pageview counts from its front page. Archive.org shows them visible on December 30th...

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But gone on December 31st...


The move coincides with comments made by Glenn Greenwald three days ago, where he insisted that the Intercept -- which is backed with a quarter billion dollars from eBay founder Pierre Omidayar -- has no interest in attracting a big enough audience to become financially self-supporting:

"Everything about the Intercept is structured so as to make clicks and traffic from vapid posts totally irrelevant. We don't sell ads, or subscriptions, or generate revenue of any kind. That's why we do none of the things that websites typically do that have the primary purpose of generating clicks."