According to the site’s own numbers, The Intercept’s traffic has averaged just 13k pageviews a day


greenwald-a-different-approach-altA few days ago, Pierre Omidyar’s the Intercept underwent a much-needed facelift. Aside from a shiny new WordPress template and a nice AJAX-y continuous scroll thing, Editor-in-Chief John Cook has added a feature popularized by his old employer, Gawker: public pageview counts for articles.

The addition of the counts, which show the total views for every article on the site, suggests that the Intercept may soon be judging contributors based on how effectively they attract clicks to their pieces. As Cook notes, the other prominent site to operate in that way is clickbait wonderland, Business Insider.

The pageview counts also gives us some insight into how well Omidyar’s quarter billion dollar journalism project is doing, seven months after launch. (Disclaimer for everything that follows: I’m really, really horrible at maths. Please feel free to note any corrections in the comments.)

A quick tally shows that the site has published just 86 articles in 205 days of existence. According to the Intercept’s own numbers, those articles received a combined total of 2,588,718 pageviews (a couple of articles are showing zero counts, which is almost certainly a glitch). If those pageviews were evenly spread across the site’s existence, that would be an average of 12,628 pageviews per day, or 384,101 page views per month — roughly the same as, according to Quantcast.


The overall pageviews are interesting, but are likely affected by the site’s sporadic publishing schedule. They also only include views of actual articles, not traffic to the site’s homepage.

More interesting is the individual counts. Despite $ 250m in funding ($ 97 per pageview!) and huge launch publicity, backed by Edward Snowden’s NSA leaks, the Intercept’s own numbers tell us that only seven articles have attracted more than 100,000 pageviews. (To put that in perspective, this dopey post I wrote about a billboard, back in July, brought in close to 700k pageviews for Pando.)

Surely journalists like Glenn Greenwald who are used to reaching a much, much larger readership at traditional publications like the Guardian (for which he helped win a Pulitzer) must be wondering why leaks which make headlines worldwide are still failing to attract a large audience for the Intercept.

It must also be dawning on Omidyar that becoming a media titan is slightly more complicated than hiring big name reporters and a former Gawker editor and throwing eBay money at them.

Here’s the full listing of pageviews for all Intercept posts, ranked by the site’s own published numbers:

NBC News Pulls Veteran Reporter from Gaza After Witnessing Israeli Attack on Children 520,009
Meet the Muslim-American Leaders the FBI and NSA Have Been Spying On 208,641
Barack Obama’s Secret Terrorist-Tracking System, by the Numbers 182,152
The Surveillance Engine: How the NSA Built Its Own Secret Google 154,305
Data Pirates of the Caribbean: The NSA Is Recording Every Cell Phone Call in the Bahamas 126,679
Cash, Weapons and Surveillance: the U.S. is a Key Party to Every Israeli Attack 122,966
The Militarization of U.S. Police: Finally Dragged Into the Light by the Horrors of Ferguson 105,236
Hacking Online Polls and Other Ways British Spies Seek to Control the Internet 82,228
U.S. Military Bans The Intercept 57,110
How Secret Partners Expand NSA’s Surveillance Dragnet 56,815
A Response to Michael Kinsley 55,997
Netanyahu’s ‘Telegenically Dead’ Comment Is Grotesque but Not Original 53,521
How Covert Agents Infiltrate the Internet to Manipulate, Deceive, and Destroy Reputations 51,036
Terrorism in the Israeli Attack on Gaza 49,692
NPR Is Laundering CIA Talking Points to Make You Scared of NSA Reporting 46,892
Keith Alexander Unplugged: on Bush/Obama, 1.7 million stolen documents and other matters 43,937
You Can Get Hacked Just By Watching This Cat Video on YouTube 43,312
Encouraging Words of Regret From Dean Baquet and Weasel Words From James Clapper 42,851
The NSA’s New Partner in Spying: Saudi Arabia’s Brutal State Police 33,970
Elizabeth Warren Finally Speaks on Israel/Gaza, Sounds Like Netanyahu 33,536
It’s About the Lying 29,478
The Intercept is Hiring 29,202
Intercept Reporter Shot With Rubber Bullets and Arrested While Covering Ferguson Protests 25,953
Leaked Files: German Spy Company Helped Bahrain Hack Arab Spring Protesters 25,059
What Excuse Remains for Obama’s Failure to Close GITMO? 24,824
How the NSA Plans to Infect ‘Millions’ of Computers with Malware 24,820
The Fun of Empire: Fighting on All Sides of a War in Syria 24,402
Quiz: Who Said This? Hillary Clinton or Benjamin Netanyahu? 22,173
Watch Live: Glenn Greenwald Debates Former NSA Director Michael Hayden 21,616
Newly Obtained Emails Contradict Administration Claims on Guardian Laptop Destruction 20,831
British Spies Face Legal Action Over Secret Hacking Programs 17,536
How the NSA Helped Turkey Kill Kurdish Rebels 16,543
The NSA’s Secret Role in the U.S. Assassination Program 15,695
For the Record: Yes, the Government Really Did Trash-Talk Our FISA Story 15,576
The Bahamas Wants to Know Why the NSA is Recording Its Phone Calls 15,476
Should Twitter, Facebook and Google Executives be the Arbiters of What We See and Read? 14,296
Letter From the Border: New Crisis is the Old Crisis 10,730
Welcome to The Intercept 10,528
Snowden Documents Reveal Covert Surveillance and Pressure Tactics Aimed at WikiLeaks and Its Supporters 10,219
One Apology in Ferguson 9,687
Top Journalists and Lawyers: NSA Surveillance Threatens Press Freedom and Right to Counsel 9,573
“How Can You All Fix This?” Painful Questions in Ferguson After Another Police Shooting 9,226
“How Can You All Fix This?” Painful Questions in Ferguson After Another Police Shooting 9,226
Inside the NSA’s Secret Efforts to Hunt and Hack System Administrators 8,858
Five Muslim-Americans Sue Feds Over Watchlisting 7,953
Excerpt from The Battle for Justice in Palestine 7,483
New Photos of the NSA and Other Top Intelligence Agencies Revealed for First Time 6,737
Der Spiegel: NSA Put Merkel on List of 122 Targeted Leaders 6,263
Civil Rights Organizations Demand Answers From White House on Surveillance of Muslim Leaders 6,051
Passover Greetings from the Editor 5,820
British Spy Chiefs Secretly Begged to Play in NSA’s Data Pools 5,526
The “Cuban Twitter” Scam Is a Drop in the Internet Propaganda Bucket 5,004
NSA Blows Its Own Top Secret Program in Order to Propagandize 4,962
The NSA Has An Advice Columnist. Seriously. 4,831
VIDEO: Bahamians React to NSA Surveillance 4,220
Some Facts About How NSA Stories Are Reported 2,757
Obama’s New NSA Proposal and Democratic Partisan Hackery 2,694
Compare the NSA’s Facebook Malware Denial to its Own Secret Documents 2,534
The White House Has Been Covering Up the Presidency’s Role in Torture for Years 1,835
Reports of the Death of a National License-Plate Tracking Database Have Been Greatly Exaggerated 1,774
RT Host Abby Martin Condemns Russian Incursion Into Crimea – On RT 1,773
Foreign Officials In the Dark About Their Own Spy Agencies’ Cooperation with NSA 1,773
The Intercept Welcomes Its New Editor and Two New Writers 1,625
On the Meaning of Journalistic Independence 1,562
Welcome, Jordan Smith 1,552
Obama Faces Calls to Reform Reagan-Era Mass Surveillance Order 1,064
UK Court: David Miranda Detention Legal Under Terrorism Law 1,019
New Details of Attack on Yemeni Wedding Prompt More Demands Obama Explain Drone Policy 946
CIA Search of Congressional Computer Sparks Constitutional Crisis 875
The Moazzam Begg Arrest: Part of the Effort to Criminalize Muslim Political Dissent 799
The Inverse of Oversight: CIA Spies On Congress 772
Is Revealing Secrets Akin to Drunk Driving? Intelligence Official Says So 742
Clapper Reads From the Bush/Cheney/Nixon Playbook to Fear-Monger Over Transparency 720
DOJ Still Ducking Scrutiny After Misleading Supreme Court on Surveillance 665
Inside the Mind of James Clapper 572
Obama DOJ’s New Abuse of State-Secrets Privilege Revealed 534
On the UK’s Equating of Journalism With Terrorism 524
Calls for Brennan’s Ouster Emerge Along With Details of CIA Search of Senate Computers 515
Who Tried to Silence Drone Victim Kareem Khan? 496
The Washington Post Uses Biased Experts to Promote Propaganda on Venezuela 466
The Terrible Toll of Secrecy 385
Intercept Editors Win Polk Award for Coverage of Snowden Documents 287
Judge Tosses Muslim Spying Suit Against NYPD, Says Any Damage Was Caused by Reporters Who Exposed It 194
The Secret Government Rulebook For Labeling You a Terrorist 2
US Takes a Break From Condemning Tyranny to Celebrate Obama’s Visit to Saudi Arabia 0
NSA Turned Germany Into Its Largest Listening Post in Europe 0