The story of earning Dollars by making viral content- The BuzzFeed Hero.
In this era of social media, generally, we are familiar with the word “Viral”. But at the start of this century, people weren’t familiar this the word “Viral”. People didn’t know that anyone can go viral on the internet. And it’s true. But the company that introduced us to the word “Viral” is BuzzFeed. You will be surprised to know that when BuzzFeed started its journey, there were no social media like Facebook, Twitter, etc.
Today we will talk about how BuzzFeed survived even without following the traditional model. And what is their condition today?
At the start of 2000, there was no Messenger or What’s App to chat or discuss. People used email for conversation. So, there was no easy way to make viral anything. What do we do now? We just hit the share button and that boom. But when people used email they just forward an email to their friend and his friend forward it to his friend. The chain would continue with the process. Mostly the spam email would become viral.
In 2001, NIKE launched a campaign. They offer that you can order your customized shoes. Under the NIKE logo, people can add their custom “word”. That was an interesting offer from a brand at that time. But NIKE added some limitations that you can’t add such types of work like ( abusing, political hates, nudity, blah blah……). But here is an interesting fact a boy named Jonah Peretti ordered a pair of shoes with the custom word “SWEATSHOP”. NIKE never thought that someone can order like this. Point to be noted this word doesn't go against NIKE’s rules. For those who don’t know what “SWEATSHOP” means, it is a term used for which a company uses cheap labor by offering a very low salary by burning their sweat. And NIKE used cheap labor at that time.
But NIKE emailed Jonah Peretti that unfortunately, we can’t send you the shoes with this word. Jonath replied why even I didn’t break your rules. But NIKE did not agree to provide the shoes. And Jonah had a long conversation with NIKE. But NIKE refused to provide the shoes with the word “SWEATSHOP”.
Now Jonah forwarded the interesting email conversation with NIKE with his friend. And the email became viral because of the interesting and wired conversation with NIKE. And Jonah became famous. Many TV channels called him for an interview. The topic was interesting for Jonah but bad luck for NIKE.
Now here is the turning point. Jonah got an idea from the above topic. He thought that many companies invest a lot in marketing but I got this marketing free just by forwarding some email copy so, is there any science behind it? He started researching it. And founded the company BuzzFeed Lab. Added the word lab because, of thinking something like scientifically. He tried to get the strategy for getting viral.
After researching a lot they build BuzzFeed BOT. The BuzzFeed BOT would suggest some viral email thread for a specific catagory. The BOT starting to become popular. They were getting a lot of traffic but there was no profit.
Jonah was thinking about how to take it to the next level. Then he decided to hire a producer, content creator, writer, etc. Then gradually BuzzFeed converted into an entertainment zone from a BOT.
Still, there was no social media platform. People would surf the internet for important news, email, or pass their time on BuzzFeed.
Nowadays, we see many polls or quizzes on Facebook. BuzzFeed is the actual inventor of that. They also invested in listicle articles.
But when the dot com bubble started many platforms like YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram were taking a position in the market. Many people thought that can BuzzFeed survive in the ocean of competition. But Jonah ( founder of BuzzFeed ) was a smart guy. He still that time worked in BuzzFeed part-time but hired people to work. He mainly works in another famous company HuffPost. Jonah thought that should I give up BuzzFeed I should work for the next push. Finally, he decided to work for BuzzFeed and he resigned from HuffPost that he will just take the profit.
Then, Jonah could understand that the competition is becoming harder day by day. He got a smart idea, he said that we will not compete with YouTube or like other platforms. We will not create any new platform. Rather, will go inside YouTube and Facebook and will create content on them. Then BuzzFeed started its YouTube channel with many sub-brand. And they are now famous with millions of Subscribers. They now own 30+ YouTube channels.
At the last point, BuzzFeed competes with the world smartly. They didn’t go in the platform war. They go inside the platform and make content. Maybe Facebook is the world’s best social media platform and YouTube may be the world’s best video platform. But BuzzFeed thought they will the best content creator of that platform.
In 2008 BuzzFeed raised a fund for 3 million dollars only. But when BuzzFeed is evaluated in 2020 its net worth is around 420 million dollars within 12 years. Now BuzzFeed is the complete media house. They also now started to acquire companies. They also announced that they will launch a public IPO.
The whole journey was interesting because Jonah started BuzzFeed a side hustle business. He got the idea from just sending an email. Now BuzzFeed is a 420 million dollar company.
Hope you got it, How One Man Made BuzzFeed a Cult Web 2.0 Company 😱. How a funny idea can be a million-dollar company.
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