Business Insider Overview

Garry Spear
Businesswoman on digital tablet

Online magazines play an increasingly important role in the reporting and analysis of news in all segments of society. Launched in 2009, Business Insider has become one of the most popular online business magazines with a huge following of approximately 70 million unique visitors each month.

History of Business Insider

Business Insider was founded by controversial financial guru Henry Blodget and his partner, Kevin Ryan, the former CEO of DoubleClick. The online magazine was re-named and re-launched out of Blodget's initial online platform, Silicon Alley Insider, a publication that concentrated solely on New York-based tech start-up companies. The company wanted to focus on broader business and tech industry issues.

Based in New York City, Business Insider has seven international editions (Australia, India, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, China, and the United Kingdom). Additionally, Business Insider publishes several special-interest versions, including Tech Insider and Markets Insider. According to Bloomberg News, "60 percent of its traffic comes from mobile devices and 39 percent from social networks."

The media measurement and analytic company Comscore named Business Insider the top business publication in the United States. In late 2015, the European digital publishing conglomerate, Axel Springer, acquired the company for a reported $343 Million Dollars.

Perspective

The general tone of Business Insider shows a pro-capitalist slant. There is a general disagreement whether the publication supports a liberal or conservative political point of view and the publication seems to attempt to be apolitical in its approach to the news.

In addition to broad coverage of the business world, Business Insider also reports regularly on technology, politics, lifestyle, finance and even sports. The site publishes any material that might be of interest to its core audience of bankers, traders and geeks.

Content Focus

The publication relies heavily on pulling in news stories from around the web. Many articles appearing on the Business Insider platform are in the form of summaries of articles from other solid news sources. The publication also has a large team of well-recognized writers and editors who provide original exclusive reporting to the website. Business Insider also does exclusive interviews with business notables, primarily as background information to support its articles or editorials. External blogger articles also show up on Business Insider.

Contributors

The publication has been able to attract a very prestigious collection of writer/journalists who contribute regularly. Well-known contributors include:

Investigative Articles

Business Insider staff writers have written many well-received original articles. Examples include:

  • In 2012, Blodget himself wrote in How Goldman Sachs Blew the Facebook IPO, a revealing article on how that investment bank lost the opportunity to be the lead underwriter of Facebook's initial public offering of its shares.
  • Nicolas Carlson's investigative article, At Last - The Full Story of How Facebook Was Founded, impressed many readers. In the article, Carlson provided controversial and previously undisclosed internal emails that questioned the founding of Facebook by Mark Zuckerberg.

Controversial Content

The articles on Business Insider are generally fact-driven, but the website has published some articles that have been highly controversial.

  • Businesswoman using digital tablet
    A recent 2017 article used a subjective ranking of five environmental factors to name Saudi Arabia and Kuwait as the most polluted nations in the world. The article criticized Saudi Arabia, one of the world's largest oil producers, as having some of the world's lowest renewable energy contributions, despite having weather conditions ideal for solar energy.
  • In another controversial article, Business Insider published an unflattering biography of Travis Kalanick, the founder and CEO of Uber. The article discussed, in tabloid type headlines, the many controversies that have rocked Kalanick's young company. It discusses how his brash leadership style and early bitter battles with the taxicab establishment shook-up the tech business world.

Criticisms

Business Insider is a pioneer in attempting to find out exactly how readers want to view news and commentary online. It is known - and often criticized - in the industry for its clickbait headlines and frequent use of unrelated and unlabeled photos. This leads to frequent criticism.

  • The publication's sensationalistic style is one of its main criticisms. Marco Arment, of Instapaper fame, voiced concerns that the site relies too heavily on misleading headlines and slideshows to juice its page viewing numbers.
  • The company has been criticized for getting stories first, rather than getting them right.
  • The company's publishing style calls for readers to filter out the good journalism from the bad. You can count on the publication for solid analysis/editorial pieces and easy-to-digest news summaries. However, blogger re-posts and the listicle and ranking articles can be subjective and possibly self-serving.

Key Strengths

According to former staff writer, John Carney, Business Insider enjoys some excellent areas of strength.

  • The website utilizes great technology that makes layout adjustments and formatting look fresh and inviting.
  • The company wants to deliver what its readers want to see.
  • The work environment encourages competitive, excellent writing that is very user-focused.
  • The company's approach to rewarding talent within the organization helps keep strong creative writers on the website staff. A good example of this loyalty to staff is Alyson Shontell. She started with Business Insider in 2008 as a sales planner and is now the Editor-in-Chief of Business Insider U.S.

Business Insider Forecast

Business Insider has established itself as a force in business journalism. From its humble beginnings, it has become a popular and top-ranked source for online news. Take a critical look at Business Insider and decide for yourself whether its style and content satisfy your nose for news. Business Insider is here to stay and seems destined to become the leader in the next generation of go-to news sources.

Business Insider Overview