Since its official launch in 2013, Fusion has aimed to be a haven for sweet millennial clicks and a place for journalists to make a lot of money while practicing “post-text” journalism. You can debate whether it’s accomplished either of those things, but one thing that can’t be debated is that no one is actually reading Fusion.
Screenshots of Fusion’s internal traffic metrics obtained by Gawker—measured by Chartbeat, which Gawker and many other properties use—show that even in the middle of a workday, virtually no one is reading anything the website publishes. The number of “concurrents” (people reading the same thing simultaneously) is unbelievably low for a website that’s been around for two years and employs some of the most widely known digital journalists around.
At the moment the above screenshot was taken (this afternoon), only 32 people were reading a post titled “Hot Girls Wanted: A disturbing, behind-the-scenes look at how ‘amateur’ porn is made.” It is the most popular story on the entirety of Fusion.net—and if you can’t get people to click something about naked teenage girls on the internet, something is deeply wrong.
Fusion’s traffic crisis was recently noted in a New York Times rundown, which reported horrendously low monthly pageview figures:
Its web traffic late last year, according to internal figures obtained by The New York Times, dropped as low as 23,000 page views on some days. Fusion said its traffic this past December reached 1.9 million unique users and increased to about five million by April.
Well, it’s June, and only seven people are reading a breaking news story about the disgraced president of FIFA:
This from a website that’s been handing out six-figure salaries to staff writers for the past year, and reportedly just locked down $30 million in further funding from its co-owners, Disney and Univision. Our most recent Fusion traffic screenshot shows 706 concurrent visitors—that’s over $42,000 per reader.
I’ve reached out to Fusion editorial chief Alexis Madrigal for comment, and will update if I get it.