Gossip Sites Lose, News Numbers Rise

Journal-isms: BET.com rises in traffic rankings for African-American-oriented websites, according to statistics.

Visitors to African American-oriented websites upended the pecking order in December, according to the comScore Inc. research company, ending the long run of the lurid gossip site MediaTakeOut.com as champion eyeball magnet.

That distinction, for now, goes to the website of Black Entertainment Television.

Moreover, the newsier sites HuffPost BlackVoices, theGrio.com, theRoot.com, Essence.com and NewsOne, along with MadameNoir.com, all saw increases from the October statistics, while the more gossipy Bossip.com declined, as did HelloBeautiful.com and BlackPlanet.com.

Luis Defrank, a spokesman for BET, attributed BET.com‘s boost to tie-ins with the cable network. Unique visitors rose from 2,531,000 in October to 3,649,000 in December, according to comScore.

“The rise of these numbers is timed to when we launched some of our original scripted programming that includes ‘Reed Between The Lines’ and began sneak peeks of ‘The Game’ and ‘Let’s Stay Together,’ ” Defrank said by email. “On the social media front we received a lot of transaction with our tent-pole events such as the ‘Hip Hop Awards.’ Our tent-pole events are productions such as the BET Awards, BET Honors and Rip The Runway. These shows offer original content and celebrity-filled moments that engage our audience on our various digital platforms which helps increase traffic to the website.”

HuffPost BlackVoices increased from 1,790,000 in October to 2,604,000 in December. TheGrio.com, owned by NBC, rose from 1,288,000 in October to 1,603,000 in December.

Mario Ruiz, spokesman for Huffington Post, did not respond to a request for comment.

But David Wilson, executive editor of theGrio.com, told Journal-isms by email, “TheGrio’s continued traffic growth is a direct result of our decision to produce more enterprise reports. Our series on the ‘Black 1 Percent,’ our special report on the impact of South Carolina’s voter ID laws, and our ‘Living Forward‘ series, which highlights black celebs and their philanthropic work, are just a few examples of this effort.

“We’ve also strengthened our editorial team by hiring our political editor Perry Bacon Jr. and adding regional reporters. NBC News, MSNBC and msnbc.com are increasingly looking to the theGrio for our unique content, which results in more exposure on-air and online. Finally, social media has been a huge part of our growth. Our Facebook page, which has nearly 400,000 highly engaged fans, provides another way for us to drive traffic back to our website. Upcoming partnerships and initiatives promise to make 2012 yet another year of growth for theGrio.com.”