I hadn’t even heard of Bustle.com until I heard about CEO, Bryan Goldberg and his apparently tongue in cheek comment about what is and isn’t his job as a male chief executive officer for a women’s website.
“My job, as CEO, is to hire the right people. … Knowing the difference between mascara, concealer, and eye-liner is not my job.”
Goldberg is the co-founder of Bleacher Report and raised $6.5 million dollars to launch Bustle, which he says will compete with sites like Vogue, Glamour, or Cosmo, and targeting similar markets as Jezebel, XOJane, and PopSugar, so called “high-revenue” sites.
Now, even though I’m the founder, I guess you could even say CEO, of The Well Written Woman, I don’t know what a “high-revenue” site is other than maybe a site that makes a lot of money. I’d like to think one day we can compete with major sites like Jezebel or Feministing, but my goal starting out has always been community, and I don’t think it’s much different than other women heading up the bigger sites.
Sure, the money would help (both my husband’s vehicle and mine are only a few digits away from the 200,000 mile mark on the odometer — that’s not a typo), but I want a place where women don’t feel talked down to, where we feel connected with and where we can resonate with real ideas, real commentary, and real stories.
I think women have spent so much time being talked at by media that it’s important to begin to create space where we can talk with one another.
I’ve browsed Bustle; it’s a polished mass media site geared towards women. It is touching on trending feminist topics such as #solidarityisforwhitewomen, the promotion of abuse in 50 Shades of Grey, and even female short story writers. In fact, I would probably read it regularly if it wasn’t for the fact that it seems a bit clunky on the navigation. Seriously, it makes my head hurt.
I respect that Goldberg saw an available market and is capitalizing on the opportunity available. I think his statement was incredibly stupid, but honestly, it wasn’t wrong. He’s building a media business to make money. He is betting $6.5 million dollars that he can hire people to know the difference between mascara, concealer, and eye-liner and that they can write about it and market it to you in just the right package that you will continue to visit his website. And he obviously realizes, or at least has writers that realize, there is a large audience hungry for sites that can give make-up and fashion tips and open up discussions on topics such as intersectional feminism.
But I don’t think he sees the women he’s marketing to as actual people, he sees us as market share. We are an investment that he expects a return on. If I had to guess why there aren’t many “high revenue” sites for women, it’s probably because revenue isn’t our primary motivation.
I can honestly say I wish I had the connections and the finesse to raise a fraction of that kind of money to invest in this little corner of the internet. Because I know there is one thing that I can likely do much better than he; I can connect with our readers on a personal level. I read every single article that is submitted. I communicate with every writer. I am often behind our tweets and Facebook comments and now, our tumblr. If you write to us, you’ll probably receive a reply from me or Lauren, our co-founder.
I think we’ve only spent about $650 building this website and it’s all been out of our own pockets. We offer editing services, we have a cafepress store, and we’ll soon have advertising. I hope one day we will have income to pay our writers and even make enough to live off of ourselves, but more than anything it’s about building relationships.
Camicia Bennett: Founder of The Well Written Woman, Florida Native and cerebral creature, she loves her husband, yoga, red wine, potty humor, swearing superfluously and putting hats on her dog. If given her druthers she’d be surfing the web and writing randomness from someplace sunny and tropical whilst sipping her favorite vino. Oh wait, that’s exactly what she does.You can find her randomly sharing her own brand of slightly pretentious propaganda at her personal blog.