November 30, 2005 4:00 AM PST
Breitbart.com has Drudge to thank for its success
But even they may be surprised to learn that the 36-year-old author and conservative commentator is the proprietor of one of the Web's fastest-growing publications, thanks in large part to his former boss and mentor--Matt Drudge.
Drudge, the Internet news icon, has been shipping large numbers of readers to Breitbart.com, a site that provides little else outside of newswire copy. Since 1998 when Drudge shook the world with his Web-based reports on former President Bill Clinton's affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky, his site has attracted an enormous following. Drudgereport.com, which sees more than 3 million unique visitors a month, according to Web-tracking company Nielsen/NetRatings, is a news hub that combines original stories with links to headlines from major news outlets, including the Washington Post, the New York Times and CNN.
Drudge has shown little preference for any of the sites he links to. Until now.
Since Aug. 17, when Breitbart.com launched, Drudge has routinely posted more story links from his protege's site than any other news source. On Monday, for instance, seven of the 26 links posted on Drudgereport.com transferred readers to Breitbart.com. USAToday and the Financial Times were tied for second with two links apiece.
A news Web site launched in mid-August by author and commentator Andrew Breitbart has rapidly grown thanks in large part to Breitbart's former boss, Matt Drudge, whose famed Drudgereport.com frequently links to Breitbart's site.
Drudge is known for exposing insider deals and conflicts of interest, but he is openly supportive of Breitbart. Links from Drudgereport.com to Breitbart.com helped boost the latter site's number of unique visitors to 2.73 million in October, according to Nielsen/NetRatings.
Almost overnight, Breitbart.com went from obscurity to a site that boasted 2.64 million unique visitors in its first month of operation and 2.737 million in October, according to Nielsen/NetRatings. Breitbart.com slightly outpaced older and more established news sites, such as TheStreet.com (2.736 million) and Slate (2.726 million). The flood of traffic could mean big bucks for Breitbart if he attracts advertisers, which he says he has begun to do.
"I'm not making millions," said Breitbart, who recently co-authored the best-selling book "Hollywood Interrupted," a humorous nonfiction account on runaway depravity in the entertainment industry. "But the site has attracted attention. I have desires to expand on it slowly but surely."
There's nothing wrong with Drudge favoring one news outlet over another. And there isn't any law that prevents Drudge from sharing traffic with whomever he wants, he said, adding that he holds no financial stake in Breitbart.com nor does he receive any compensation from its founder. "In the 11 years since I started doing this, I have never owned a share of any company that I've linked to," Drudge said.
But Drudge is the newshound who earned a reputation in Washington, D.C., for exposing insider deals and conflicts of interest. For that reason, Drudge's relationship with Breitbart (pronounced Bright-bart) has raised a few eyebrows. Said one executive at a major media company, who requested anonymity to preserve his relationship with the Internet newsman: "We've noticed it and we were curious."
Drudge doesn't send readers to just any site. For several years, he didn't even link to the Web site of his own father, according to a Feb. 8, 2001, story in the New York Times. Bob Drudge, who operates Refdesk.com, a popular database of reference sources, was quoted saying: "(Matt) said he had no use for Refdesk. He hasn't got time to check things out. He's got to hop, hop, hop and move the story."
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