KIRK: You have to learn why things work on a starship.

Star Trek II The Wrath of Khan 1982

Batman: My mistake was to try to Match is Savagery. To fight like a Young man.

Batman the Dark Night #2 1986

Hot wife in a bikini? #Winning!

Robert Stacy McCain Sept 14th 2012

The AP reports that the Journal News has decided to take down its interactive map of gun owners or rather disable it:

The maps remained online late Friday but could no longer be manipulated to find names and addresses.

The story suggests the reason for the change is the new gun law in. I say BALDERDASH!

When the Journal News published its online map of gun owners and where they live, it produced a firestorm of critique.

Pixels poured out like water. Television and Radio pushed the outrage and the defense of the paper, James O’Keefe skewered them via Project Veritas, threats poured in to the point where the anti-gun paper in a twist of Irony hired armed guards to protect folks on their staff and it became the target of the Blaze and the subject of multiple Drudge stories.

This is not a bug, it’s a feature.

Obviously the interactive map was a web feature alone. It likely took a fair amount of time and effort to put together and such effort is done on an online site for a reason. The reason is to generate hits, and as the AP article notes:

She said the maps had been viewed nearly 1.2 million times since they were published Dec. 23.

Mission Accomplished!

And not those 1.2 million hits were in under 30 days and that number doesn’t include side hits to other stories on the site generated through those views. Bloggers like myself dream of traffic at that level.

The value of an online site and the price of its advertising is directly related to the number of hits the site gets.  The Journal news may claim this map was all about journalistic discretion and advancing the story and discussion, but when it comes down to it, that map was no different than the first two paragraphs of this post from The Other McCain last year:

Traffic to the blog has gotten a slight and unexpected boost the past couple of days because the entire world, it seems, is Googling for nude photos of Kate Middleton or rather topless photos of Kate Middleton. Don’t bother clicking those links, as they are merely a round-trip ticket back to this post, part of Ye Merry Olde Google Bomb Trick.

Donald Douglas has a post cleverly titled “Kate Middleton Topless” and our friendly Evil Blogger Lady offers ”Kate Middleton topless photos? French magazine Closer publishes them. Rule 5 Britannia! Update: Reports of outraged Brits storming French embassy in protest!

As Robert Stacy constantly reminds us,  he writes for money.  The Journal News does the same. That map was a google bomb directed at 2nd Amendment advocates nationwide, a red cloth in front of a bull to make it charge. The Map fuels outrage among gun advocates,  outrage fuels interest, interest creates searches, searches mean clicks, clicks mean traffic, and traffic dictates what the Journal News can charge for the ads that generate the revenue.

That being the case, the map as a successful revenue generator, why take it down? Why are we seeing posts like this:

Glenn Reynolds 9:50 PM January 18th EVEN A FLATWORM IS SMART ENOUGH TO TURN AWAY FROM PAIN: NY newspaper removes handgun permit holder data. Punching the bully in the nose works.

It’s not punching in the nose? You already had armed guards at homes and outraged people who own deadly weapons and that didn’t get the interactive map down. (BTW Guards not withstanding, the willingness to outrage those armed people tell you all you need to know about how much they actually think those people were going to come to seek revenge)

Nearly a month of outrage and debate didn’t pull down the map, if the interactive map going away is the effect, what was the cause?

The answer is a simple cost benefit analysis thus:

Glenn Reynolds 11:31 PM January 17th  I SMELL A LAWSUIT: Burglars steal two guns from home featured on weapons permit map published by newspaper, just days after break-in at another address on the list.

Lawsuits cost money. All the outrage, anger or potential danger for law-abiding citizens in the world was going to move the Journal News. The potential of a lawsuit turning a source of profit into a loss, now That’s punching back twice as hard.

So the interactive map is gone having served it’s purpose, but the raw map will remain, still able to generate hits for years to come and the Journal News will slowly sink back into the level of obscurity it had before…

…until they find another red cloth to wave in front of an internet bull.