Bustle: Bryan Goldberg’s women’s site aims to earn $100M in ads in 2019

The Bleacher Report founder envisions his new site Bustle to be the regular stop for the 50 to 100 million twenty-something women in the English speaking world. That’s gotten him lots of push back.

Media entrepreneur Bryan Goldberg envisions his new site Bustle to be the regular stop for the 50 to 100 million twenty-something women in the English speaking world. That’s gotten him lots of push back.

Indeed, it’s a grand plan, which is simultaneously hurt and helped by his previous startup success, the widely-read, at-times boorish, very local, sports content machine that is The Bleacher Report.

While the day-to-day content decisions of Williamsburg-based Bustle are made by a team of editors, Goldberg will use analytics to reveal what of its content is the most popular, how to optimize what they have and which parts of the country aren’t reading.

Goldberg is aiming to raise millions in investment and, within six years, earn more than $100 million annually in advertising revenue, according to the New Yorker.

The site’s lifestyle editor, Rachel Turits, describes the space she hopes the site will fill in the story this way:  “I often sit on my couch, and I watch MSNBC while painting my toenails. It didn’t feel like there was a website that felt like the Internet equivalent of watching MSNBC while painting my toenails.” 

Goldberg didn’t exactly do a launch event for the site, but he did announce his intentions on Pando Daily in a post that was widely pilloried but also spurred a lot of interest in what he was doing.

The site is organized around five “verticals”:

  • News
  • Entertainment
  • Fashion
  • Lifestyle
  • Books

Bustle’s strategy seems heavily tilted toward SEO, but as we learned from Buzzfeed, the power of search is waning. People are stumbling onto sites less and reading what their influencers, friends and colleagues are sharing more.

Technically Brooklyn first encountered the site while searching for webcomic artists based in the borough, finding this profile on cartoonist and animator Colleen Lynn Cox. The Bustle content that has done the best on Reddit so far has all come out of its news vertical.

While Bustle’s organization is meant to reflect the fact that women are interested in multiple aspects of human life, what’s somewhat less clear is why they need one site to meet all those interests. If a woman really likes to read about — to take an example from Goldberg’s ill advised announcement — both eye make-up and foreign affairs, why couldn’t she just visit both a beauty blog and The Economist?

Series: Brooklyn

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