You may not have heard about Playbuzz, but don’t be surprised if you see it pop up in your Facebook Newsfeed sometime soon.
Playbuzz is an Israeli media company cofounded in 2012 by Shaul Olmert, a 39-year-old tech entrepreneur and the son of former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.
And according to NewsWhip, a company that analyses how content gets shared online, Playbuzz, which launched only 10 months ago, is absolutely crushing it in terms of Facebook shares.
In September, the startup had the second-most shares on Facebook, coming in just behind The Huffington Post with 7.5 million shares. It has even managed to upstage BuzzFeed, and rival viral websites like Upworthy and Viral Nova didn’t even make the top-10 list.
Playbuzz looks very similar to BuzzFeed in terms of content and layout, and even BuzzFeed’s Joseph Bernstein denounced PlayBuzz as a “BuzzFeed clone” back in March.
Olmert, who now runs Playbuzz alongside Tom Pachys and Yaron Buznach, denies this, telling Business Insider in July: “BuzzFeed is very fortunately positioned. Whenever anyone creates forms of viral content, they get compared to BuzzFeed. BuzzFeed never invented neither viral content nor quizzes. We’re not comparing ourselves to BuzzFeed.”
In September, Playbuzz ranked fourth in terms of Facebook publishers on Newswhip’s top-25 ranking. The ranking takes into account not only shares, but also the number of articles, likes, and comments each publisher receives. Its traffic is skyrocketing, too. When we talked to Olmert this summer, he told us that PlayBuzz had 70 million unique views in June, with about half of its traffic coming from Facebook.
Playbuzz specialises in quizzes — on its homepage are links to quizzes with headlines like “Which 90’s TV Girl Are You?” and “Which South Park Character Were You As a Kid?” Most Playbuzz content is created by a community and not by staffers. When we talked to Olmert in July, Playbuzz had only 16 staffers and three writers. Now, according to Mashable, Playbuzz employs a staff of 26 people.
In addition, Playbuzz functions as a content-creation platform for other businesses, including publishers like the Huffington Post, MarthaStewart.com, and MTV.com, who use Playbuzz’s ready-to-use and easy-to-use quiz formats to promote their own content. In addition, Playbuzz’s posts can be embedded, which is attractive to other news organisations trying to capitalise on the success of viral posts.
Playbuzz has received $US3.8 million in funding, most recently in July, raising $US3 million from Carmel Ventures.
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