New Glenn Beck Website,'The Blaze' A Shot At Alex Jones?
New Glenn Beck Website, The Blaze: The War For Libertarian Audience, Glenn Beck vs Alex Jones
Glenn Beck has launched a new website called The Blaze hoping to expand his reach catering to a remarkably large Internet audience.
Indeed, Glenn Beck understands that his popularity on Fox is underpinned by a vast online audience that will dip into his radio and TV programs - and likely, The Blaze, will further cement those cross media platform relationships with his audience.
Which brings us to Alex Jones - the hyper-independent TV and radio prognosticator who has built a remarkable media empire of his own, without the backing of mainstream media outlets.
Both Alex Jones and Glenn Beck are immensely popular with a certain audiences - call those audiences Libertarian, call them rabidly anti-government, call them fiercely independent, call them wacko.
The point is The Blaze is seeking those audiences. Glenn Beck's main site is Glenn Beck dot com and the main site for Alex Jones is Infowars.
Here is a graphic comparing traffic in unique visitors between Infowars and Glenn Beck dot com.
In general Glenn Beck draws more traffic but look at the growth in unique visitors for Alex Jones' Infowars - impressive to say the least.
Now, the statistics from Compete dot com are not as accurate as the analytics packages the sites use to measure their own traffic but they do show a trend; Alex Jones' audience is growing faster than Glenn Beck's. Plus, Alex Jones also has a more video focused platform called Prison Planet and few other sites in his family of web properties. Glenn Beck needed to beef his online reach. He now has his online university and newsletter Insider Extreme and now he has The Blaze. And he launches micro-sites as needed such as the recent one for his Restoring Honor To America Rally.
It seems there is an unannounced war for ownership of the right-wing libertarian audiences between Glenn Beck and Alex Jones.
Both have similar strategies - Create a network of sites with multiple media formats and harness a large vocal, increasingly angry libertarian audience.
Alex Jones is deeply embedded in online culture in a way that makes Glenn Beck seem like an interloper. But Glenn Beck has the power of Fox driving his content.
Alex Jones has called out Glenn Beck in the past. In an open letter in 2009 to Glenn Beck Alex Jones said,
It cannot be denied that you – Glenn Beck – are an extremely talented radio and television host and you have a magnetism and a proficiency of public speaking that draws people in and maintains their interest. However, being a novice history buff I am also painfully aware of the fact that Benedict Arnold was, like you, a talented individual – he was also a traitor.
Alex Jones believes Glenn Beck is more of Neocon than a true conservative. And for that hard core libertarian audience authenticity is paramount - Alex Jones (rightly or wrongly) is perceived to be more authentic than Glenn Beck.
So in the short term The Blaze and the associated Glenn Beck online properties may indeed cause some sparks but in the long run Alex Jones and Infowars and his stable of sites, may in fact be The Blaze that turns into a raging inferno.
On the flip side, Glenn Beck has an undeniable appeal - albeit often wrong headed and downright dangerous. His rantings make him a latter day Howard Beale (Peter Finch in the 1976 classic Network) a "mad prophet of the airwaves."
And so while Glenn Beck expands his online presence the final determinant of the success of The Blaze way well be Fox itself.
The network is unashamedly right wing, the question is will they take a cue of Beck and go even further down that path? If Glenn Beck is to deliver the Alex Jones audience (there likely is a crossover there already)to Fox he has to reclaim his right wing authenticity.
Whatever the outcome the launch of The Blaze signifies an chapter in the online battle for the hearts, wallets, and attention of right-wing audiences.