Bustle Made by a Man
Can a man successfully create a website that’s targeted for women? Maybe; but Bryan Goldberg, founder and CEO of Bustle.com, might be succeeding where the site is concerned, though he has lost major points with his readers thanks to some controversial words.
When Goldberg (co-founder of Bleacher Report) set up the Bustle.com site, the cheap hosting company he signed up with didn’t have any idea the impact that his site would have on women around the globe. Lately, his site has been getting a lot of hits, but not for the right reasons.
What Bustle . com Is All About
Bustle boasts a well-known staff of female journalists and editors from such magazines as Entertainment Weekly, Seventeen, and Glamour. These are all well-paid contributors to Bustle that Goldberg purposely lined up to attract an all-female audience. Why does the world need more female-focused content? Maybe we can look to the Bleacher Report site for the first reason.
The mission of the Bleacher Report site states that the site exists to “…revolutionize the way sports fans learn, think, and talk about their favorite teams and topics.” So is Goldberg attempting to “revolutionize” the way women access their favorite topics with Bustle? It appears that way. But how do women feel about what a man considers “women's interests?”
Goldberg's Stance on Content for Women
When his site launched on August 13, Goldberg wrote a post on Pandodaily.com. In it, he spoke of Bustle stating:
“…we're different, because we recognize how many diverse interests are shared amongst the next generation of women…creating an amazing blend of content — one that puts news and politics right beside fashion tips is what will set us apart.”
Goldberg also mentioned some of the various hurdles for women in the business world that he believes to be true –”media feeding frenzy over the integrity of women's publishing,” women's publishers being out of touch with their readers, and the dwindling number of readers for even famous women's publications, like Vogue and Glamour (never mind the fact that other print publications are losing readers too…), were some of his less-popular comments.
Still, everything was going off without a hitch for Bustle, including $6.5 million in funding, until Goldberg let this statement fly: “my job, as CEO, is to hire the right people…knowing the difference between mascara, concealer, and eye-liner is not my job.”
Cue The Booing
And with that comment, any high-ranking status that Goldberg might have enjoyed amongst female readers, editors, bloggers, and journalists took a nosedive. Rachel Sklar, founder of Mediaite and head of TheLis.t, online women's community, responded to Goldberg’s statement writing, “surely you can see how that might rankle, especially alongside claims that *other* sites condescend to women.”
Founder of Jezebel, Anna Holmes, had this to say to Goldberg’s claims that his site presents something new and revolutionary in the female world:
“You imply that marrying pop culture and fashion with feminism and politics is something new, innovative and uniquely YOURS, which completely glosses over — even erases — the hard work and vision of dozens of (female) editors and writers who have been doing this exact thing for years, myself included. That's really patronizing.
Will women be on board with Goldberg’s vision for a better female publication? The site does present a variety of content besides fashion and beauty in a pleasing format, but only time will tell if a man can run a successful website in a woman’s world.