O'Reilly Vs. Olbermann

With his recent unapologetic criticisms of Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, and George W. Bush striking a chord with viewers, MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann (host of Countdown with Keith Olbermann) has seen a huge boost in popularity. Videos of his commentaries are frequently featured on blogging sites and have enjoyed tens of thousands of views on YouTube. Members of the administration are not the only ones on Olbermann’s hit list. Fox News personality Bill O’Reilly frequently wins Olbermann’s “Worst Person in the World Award”. O’Reilly, in turn, has reportedly banned the word “Olbermann” from his show. The feelings of ill will between the two appear to be genuine, fueled as much by ideological differences as by a quest for ratings.

And in the ratings department Olbermann is making huge gains, especially in the 25-44 segment, while O’Reilly hits his stride by capturing a huge portion of the 65 and over set. So one would think that, in a head-to-head battle of websites, Olbermann would clean up. But let’s look at the chart:

What’s the story here? Regardless of what the TV rating trends say, KeithO is going to have a difficult time trumping BillO when it comes to drawing visitors to his website. Here’s why: phonetics. It’s simple. Try it yourself. Take a look at the two URLs (BillOReilly.com —- msnbc.msn.com/id/3036677) and then say them aloud. “Bill O’Reilly dot com” has a much nicer ring to it than, “M-S-N-B-C dot M-S-N dot com slash id slash three zero three six six seven seven”. And it’s a little easier to remember, too. Maybe the folks at MSNBC can shell out a little for a new domain name. I’m guessing Microsoft has a few bucks kicking around.

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