Rookie in its demise has joined The Awl, Grantland, and The Toast. They all shared a business model that was based on hand-cut advertising deals...a model that lost out to the new wave of programmatic advertising. In that sense, the end of Rookie represents another nail in the coffin of small, independent internet publishing.
-- Josephine Livingstone
Color me skeptical. The thing is, programmatic advertising (i.e. clickbait) sites Vice/Vox/Buzzfeed/etc. are all on life support, just like the small independents that Josephine mentions in her piece. I don't know a lot about Mark Cuban, other than what I've seen a few times on Shark Tank, but I can picture him in my head questioning all of these businesses about their ability to scale. I really think that's the problem we are witnessing, here.
Whether you're selling ads directly to other businesses, or you're letting Google handle the sales function for you, it takes a huge amount of effort to establish a track record - and then build on it. The model doesn't matter; it takes a continuous stream of creative content to hold the reader's interest. And interest equals time-on-site, return visits and new readers - all nice metrics if you're trying to sell ads to businesses (even through Google).
We're often compelled to accept the simplest explanation for events, like a company going out of business. In fact, despite all of the technological advances in content delivery, the business still trumps everything else. Sales. Expenses. Cash flow. There's no app for that, you are the app.