Yesterday, Bleacher Report co-founder Bryan Goldberg announced his new venture, Bustle, along with a $US6.5 million fundraise. Bustle aims to be a massive content site for women, focusing on entertainment and fashion, produced by up and coming (paid) professionals.
His launch announcement was met by a lot of criticism from media and startup pundits, who say Goldberg just raised a ton of money to compete in an already saturated market.
Elizabeth Spiers, who helped launch Gawker then BetaBeat, left multiple comments picking apart the business plan. “I think you need to do more competitive research,” she said. “What you seem to be describing above could also describe Jezebel, theHairpin, TheGloss.com, Rookie, Hello Giggles…If you think those smaller [publishers] are not trying to go after TENS of millions of readers, you have failed to talk to enough online publishers who operate women’s pubs. Or to look at their growth trajectories given when they launched, which if they continue will put several of those sites at 10MM sooner rather than later.”
Rachel Sklar, co-founder of TheLi.st, also knocked Goldberg for suggesting his idea for a women-first site is innovative. “I do take issue with your framing of that vision as new and groundbreaking,” she wrote on PandoDaily. “We’re different, because we recognise how many diverse interests are shared amongst the next generation of women. That is actually *not* different, and to say that betrays either a lack of familiarity with the space or a dismissiveness of those who have come before you in building it.”
Goldberg, who has a knack for writing controversial blog posts and generating clicks, further explained his point of view.
“Bustle is a very different company from xojane or thehairpin,” he wrote in response to Sklar and Spiers. “I would like for Bustle to be one of the 50 largest sites on the internet within this decade, and I would like to see it generate $US100 million in revenue by that point. That’s not to say that it is impossible for a feminist site like thehairpin to also achieve this, but I think that we are approaching things differently. Raising a large round of venture capital is one such difference in approach. Partnering with a major media company like Time Warner is another. I appreciate the feedback and criticism, and I really intend to take it all in.”
One of the people he’s hired, Bustle’s managing editor Kate Ward, left Entertainment Weekly and Hollywood.com to join Goldberg. She was lured away after Goldberg contacted her on LinkedIn and explained his vision for Bustle.
In response to the criticism, she tells Business Insider: “Of course we’re all fans and readers of those sites [like Jezebel and theHairpin]…But [Bustle is] able to bring on so many different writers from so many different backgrounds and allow them to give a unique perspective to so many stories…we think more adding more female voices to the Internet is never a bad thing.”
PandoDaily now also has an update to Goldberg’s article, which says it “grabbed the wrong version” of it and accidentally left out his mention of smaller, female-targeted competitors.
In an interview with Business Insider, Goldberg says why he’s starting another media company, how he “plans to make a fortune,” and why he feels media startups are the least risky startups to launch.
Edited by Justin Gmoser
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.