Politics

Donald Trump ends blog after 29 days, infuriated by measly readership

Trump still wants to launch some other platform and didn't like that his first attempt was mocked, said one adviser.

President Donald Trump looks at his phone during a roundtable with governors on the reopening of America's small businesses at the White House last summer. AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File


Related stories

Former president Donald Trump’s blog, celebrated by advisers as a “beacon of freedom” that would keep him relevant in an online world he once dominated, is dead. It was 29 days old.

Upset by reports from The Washington Post and other outlets highlighting its measly readership and concerns that it could detract from a social media platform he wants to launch later this year, Trump ordered his team on Tuesday to put the blog out of its misery, advisers said.

On its last day, the site was commented on or shared on Facebook and Twitter just 1,500 times — a staggering drop for someone whose every tweet once garnered hundreds of thousands of reactions.

Trump still wants to launch some other platform — timing not yet determined — and didn’t like that this first attempt was mocked, according to a Trump adviser who spoke on the condition of anonymity to talk frankly about Trump’s plans.

Trump spokesman Jason Miller said that the “From the Desk of Donald J. Trump” blog “was just auxiliary to the broader efforts we have and are working on.” CNBC first reported the blog’s demise.

Launched last month with a grand unveiling replete with an action-movie-style trailer that proclaimed, “In a time of silence and lies, a beacon of freedom arises,” the blog never secured more than a sliver of the spotlight Trump held before he was banned from every major social media site in the wake of the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.

A Post analysis of online data late last month found that the site was attracting fewer visitors than the pet-adoption service Petfinder and the recipe site Delish. The blog’s prospects hadn’t improved since, even though Trump had taken to writing on it more and more, a new analysis of online data shows.

Advertisement:

Three days after The Post report, Trump had released a statement saying his “very basic site” was doing amazingly well, attracting greater attention than during the 2020 election campaign and that it would be doing even better had he not been banned by Facebook and Twitter, actions that denied him direct access to more than 88 million Twitter followers and 35 million Facebook followers.

In his statement, Trump, without citing a source, said that tens of millions of Trump supporters had stopped using Facebook and Twitter “because they’ve becoming ‘boring’ and nasty” — a claim not backed up by the companies’ own data, which shows that U.S. usage has stayed steady or increased since Trump left office.

Trump had said the site allowed everyone to “see my statements, issued in real time, and engage with the MAGA Movement” and that it would allow him to communicate “until I decide on what the future will be for the choice or establishment of a platform. It will happen soon. Stay tuned!” No other Trump platform has been announced.

Many in the former president’s orbit were annoyed with former Trump campaign director Brad Parscale for promoting the blog. But Parscale had defended the website less than two weeks ago, telling The Post it was “built exactly as we pitched it.” “My company spent the last six years building products that helped the president spread his message around the world. And we happily continue to do so,” he said then.

In March, Miller said the new Trump social media platform would be revealed within three months and draw “tens of millions of people” to become “the hottest ticket” in social media. “It’s going to completely redefine the game,” he told Fox News.

Advertisement:

But no details have been shared about the new Trump platform. Social media sites are endlessly more expensive and complicated than a simple blog, requiring a vast infrastructure allowing for user accounts, comments and other modern web features that were never present on Trump’s site. Trump dictated his messages to his aides, who would print them out so he could revise them with a Sharpie before manually posting them to the blog.

But the site rarely gained much viewership: Trump’s entire website, including his blog, merchandise store and donation page, saw roughly 4 million visits in the week ending May 18 from desktop and mobile devices in the United States – roughly half of the week’s traffic for the right-wing websites Newsmax and the Gateway Pundit, according to an analysis by the online-analytics firm Similarweb, which tracks and estimates traffic and referrals for millions of websites.

Trump’s supporters also were not racing to share the site on social media. Social engagement across the web with Trump’s blog — a measure of the ‘likes,’ reactions, comments and shares on some of the biggest social media sites, such as Facebook, Twitter, Reddit and Pinterest — peaked at 159,000 interactions on its first day, according to data from the social media analytics firm BuzzSumo.

That response rate was pitifully low by Trump standards. But even though Trump’s blogging rate actually increased in recent days, including 10 new posts last Tuesday, his blog never got anywhere near his first day’s interest level, averaging about 4,000 interactions a day, BuzzSumo data show.

Advertisement:

Every blog post has been scrubbed from the internet. The old link now redirects to a webpage urging people to give their contact information to a Trump campaign mailing list.

Jump To Comments

Conversation

This discussion has ended. Please join elsewhere on Boston.com