Please, Mr. Zuckerberg, sir. I want some more pageviews. Please.
I hate to infringe on your good will, for you’ve been ever so kind, and generous, too. But I am a small digital publisher, helpless and wretched, with nothing to my name but 1.2 million unique visitors a month and the rags on my back.
Oh, won’t you take pity on me and give me some more?
I hate to be a bother and a burden, Mr. Zuckerberg. The nights are so long and so cold, and it’s not easy being a news site all alone in this world, especially not one such as I, with a display-ad funded business model and a millennial audience that will not tolerate a paywall.
I must be plain: my circumstances are dire. I am an orphan, and a poor one. My mother died in childbirth and I never knew my father. I went straight from the baby farm to here, and now my organic traffic has dropped in Google’s endless and arcane algorithmic adjustments, pushing me lower and lower in search. Social referrals were all I had, only now they’ve gone down, sir, and so I haven’t many at all. If I could just get a few thousand more pageviews a day I could manage, but I fear I won’t last until summer.
Can you find it in your heart to spare even that?
I’ll reckon a thousand pageviews doesn’t seem like much to a man like you. You have so many of your own. But it will go a long way to helping a wretched website like me stay clothed and fed as the pre-rolls embedded in the new in-article video unit I added earns me the competitive CPMs that will keep a roof over my head and coals on my fire.
Oh Mr. Zuckerberg! I am a good site, and true. I vow not to waste your charity on sin. I will do an honest trade, and godly, providing high-quality breaking-news commentary, incisive opinion columns, and prestige-TV recaps. I’ll print a mix of topical and evergreen content across niche and broad-interest topics. Why, you’ll never know such a good Christian soul as me! I’ll link my competitors to improve their performance in search, and I’ll say my prayers before bed every night!
I confess I have done what every site has done to get by-I enabled invasive, interstitial, full-page ad units in exchange for higher CPMs; I used Amazon affiliate links in product roundups; I ran sponcon for Target; why, I even picked a pocket or two. But I’ve been righteously punished for these sins, and it has caused my wretched condition.
Oh, Mr. Zuckerberg! I fear what I will have to do next to survive! Why, I’d rather die than lay off my entire full-time newsroom to replace them with freelancers and twenty-two-year-old Ivy League grads who can afford to work for poverty wages in the most expensive city in the world. Sir, content is king, so I won’t make them beg, which is why I lay myself at your feet. Please don’t make me start an in-house branded agency. Please don’t make me publish features sponsored by Purdue Pharma. Please don’t make me do Raytheon-sponsored video essays on the next six Marvel films. Please don’t make run a pop-under ad.
Oh, sir, I apologize. I was overcome. I feel weak. I must sit down, or I fear I will faint. Sir, there are so many websites out there, so lowly, but if you could find it in your heart to spare me a thousand, maybe two thousand pageviews, I vow to never lie, to never rob, to be kind to the other sites, and to never, ever, ever start a daily news podcast.