Begun as an email newsletter,Matt Drudge‘s theDrudge Reportbecame a news aggregator website in 1996.
By 2003,Drudge Reportbecame so popular it made almost $1.3 million a year in advertising revenues. In 2006, while dissing theDrudge Report,Timemagazine named Matt Drudge one of the 100 most influential people in the world. In 2007,New York Timesreporter Jim Rutenberg said that according to Nielsen/NetRatings, theDrudge Reportgot three million unique visitors a month, or approximately one percent of the population of the United States.
So successful is theDrudge Reportthat it has made its creator and editor Matt Drudge, 53, a multimillionaire, with an estimatednet worthof $150 million.
What madeDrudge Reportso popular was its conservatism. Indeed, in 2001, Drudge told theMiami New Timesthat “I am a conservative. I’m very much pro-life. If you go down the list of what makes up a conservative, I’m there almost all the way.”
Drudge Reporthad supported Donald Trump in the 2016 election. But then I began to notice a change since Trump’s presidential inauguration whenDrudge Reportincreasingly posted links to anti-Trump (and therefore anti-“Deplorables” — the 63 million Americans who had voted for him in 2016) mainstream media outlets like CNN and theWashington Post.
Simply put, I didn’t go onDrudge Reportfor CNN. So I stopped readingDrudge Report.
Sometime before WordPress took downFOTMon August 15, 2018, in comments onFOTMI broached the subject ofDrudge Reportceasing being conservative. To ensure I wasn’t imagining things, I did a search online and found other websites saying the same thing. A longtimeFOTMreader who had effusively praisedFOTMand “Dr. Eowyn” took such issue with my observations aboutDrudge Reportthat he became verbally abusive. After I banned him from commenting, he sent me an email in which he stooped to racist and gender insults. All of which completely baffled me why he had so much invested in a news aggregator site that he took any criticism ofDrudge Reportas a personal affront.
Then TrailDust noticed the transformation ofDrudge Reportas well, and wrote two posts warning our readers:
A couple of our readers speculated that Matt Drudge turned to the dark side because he’s gay and has a new boyfriend. The never-married and childless Drudge has consistently denied the rumors of him being homosexual, but in January 2016,Southfloridagaynews.comreported that he had given away half of his real estate holdings toJuan Carlos Alvarado, his roommate of eleven years.
Drudge used to break stories before the mainstream media or Fox News even knew about them; they went to Drudge to find out the latest. Josh Bernsteinrecently exposed what has happened to Drudge. He says we should boycott Drudge and I agree with him.
In a surprising turn, Drudge Report removed ads between the end of May and mid-July of this year according to Danny Rogers, a cofounder of theGlobal Disinformation Index, a project that’s analyzing domains to generate “risk ratings of the world’s media websites.” After noticing an absence of ads on Drudge around May 31, Rogers told BuzzFeed they didn’t see any ads on Drudge until about July 12.
During that period, Drudge cast off his advertising representative of close to 20 years,Intermarkets, in favor of a new and unknown company, Granite Cubed. It has no record in the digital ad industry, was only registered as a company in March of this year, and lists no staff or owners on its websites. Yet it just landed one of the biggest websites in the US.
Corporate records show that Granite Cubed is owned by Margaret Otto. According toPathmatics, a marketing and advertising platform owned by Margaret Otto, she and her husband, Adrian, have close ties to both Matt Drudge and his father, Bob Drudge. The Ottos have known the Drudges since 1999. Pathmatics, a marketing intelligence platform, estimates that over the past 12 months the site generated more than $30 million in ad revenue. Another estimate from the Global Disinformation Index, to be published in a report next month, pegs revenue at $9 million per year.
The Otto’s also acquired another company in 2017 founded by Bob Drudge calledRefdesk. Adrian Otto joined Google Cloud in 2017 and is their technical director. Matt Drudge is now in bed with Google and Alphabet Inc., the parent company of Google.
Alphabet Inc., Google subsidiaries, and YouTube all detest President Trump and everything on the Drudge Report has switched from supporting conservative sites and our president to leftwing media who despises President Donald Trump and his supporters. Drudge’s links now go to mainstream media like CNN and MSNBC. Conservative media is rarely seen anymore.
Drudge gave up his relationship with his conservative advertising company of 20 years and joined with the enemies of freedom because they are family vested via Matt’s father, Bob Drudge.
It all makes for a startling shift for a publisher best known for a strategy rooted in changing nothing about his site’s operation. It’s also causing the ad industry to look closely at the mysterious new firm and its high-profile customer.
It must be said that Bernstein’s account is of Matt Drudge switchingDrudge Report‘s advertising representative to a new and unknown company, Granite Cubed, the husband-and-wife owners of which have ties to Matt’s father, Robert Drudge,who is a Democrat. But Matt’s father (and mother too) has always been a Democrat, and a constant (Robert Drudge being a Democrat) cannot explain a variable (Matt turning against Trump and embracing the liberal media). Nor does Matt changingDrudge Report‘s advertising representative explain his political transformation — changing advertising representative likely is a result, not the cause, of his political transformation.
And so, the reason for Matt Drudge’s and theDrudge Report‘s transformation remains a mystery.