Blog Post

Time to pay attention to Paris Hilton?

For sometime I have been scratching my head about the $8.3 million funding received by Daylife, a news aggregator of sorts, wondering how could this start-up, a mainstream media mash-up of Digg-style voting site, a meme tracker and plain-old news aggregator, get such a massive amount of funding. Answer to the Why question proved to be a bit elusive. (Updated: Hipmojo believes that there is a need for such a start-up, though not necessarily Daylife.)

And then Paul Kedrosky posted his summary of his SuperNova appearance, pointing out that an innately large number of start-ups were channeling Paris Hilton, the most vapid of all celebrities, who I have often dismissed as a sad reflection of shallow modern celebrity culture. And that just might be my problem.

Hilton is someone a lot of people care about – and thus is a symbol of something bigger – mainstreaming of the web, blogs and broadband. Kedrosky rightly points out, “is unassailable evidence of the arrival of the web as mass, popular media.”

Those who follow Hilton including sites like TMZ, PopSugar and scores of others are leveraging the broadband to build brands that till recently were relegated to the checkout counter of your local Safeway. These brands, and if their traffic is any indicator, are going to attract the hordes, which is going to attract even more advertising to the web.

And that sort of explains why Daylife – another mainstream play – attracted all that cash. Maybe ;-)

13 Responses to “Time to pay attention to Paris Hilton?”

  1. At this point a company that makes a Paris Hilton filter so I never have to see or read about her, Britney Spears, or Lindsey Lohan would get my money.

  2. Although Om refers to Paris Hilton & technologies which enable online social news, the main point of this post is that online blog/website brands are taking the place of grocery-store-checkout-line-rags. Thus, they are attracting big money. I am surprised that Om is noticing this only now. It is inevitable that online social media should cover politics, entertainment news and celebrity gossip, and thus become very popular and make a lot of money.

  3. Paris Hilton, whom Om Malik dismisses as “a sad reflection of shallow modern celebrity culture”, is extremely precious commodity in keyword value terms. According to Overture number of monthly searches “paris hilton” has reached 1,690,878, while “william shakespear” got only 63,848. Keyword economy holds high value for Paris Hilton, even without accounting inherited hotel empire.

  4. This is the classic scenario. The companies/technologies that interest the leading/bleeding edge will be filter and soften before hitting the mainstream.

    Digg et. al. have pioneered the community news voting model which is now being turned into mainstream companies that will appeal to a non-tech mass market.

    Think of it this way. The tech focused companies (particularly internet startups) are a hot bed of mutation and Darwinian survival. What works and prospers becomes the blueprint for mass-market companies.

    The downside is when the mass-market companies begin popping we reach the point of really beginning the next bubble. The last bubble was driven by the mass-market companies and not by the solid niche markets.