Content and accessibility is almost everything when it comes to social news sources. Jonah Peretti, founder and CEO of the online social news and entertainment company BuzzFeed, believes that in order to be considered a news source which is respected, original content is important. Furthermore, he feels it is important to publish to wherever consumers want to interact with their content.
BuzzFeed was launched by Jonah Peretti in 2006 as an “experimental lab”, which focused on tracking and posting content that was trending and posts readers wanted to share. Currently, BuzzFeed covers topics like politics, sports, business, entertainment and travel.
Recently, Peretti has been driven to make BuzzFeed a more respectable media news source, specifically with regards to its content. They have worked toward this goal in a couple of ways. First, posts were deleted from their website because they were thought to be a version of plagiarism, and secondly, Community Brand Publisher accounts were frozen.
In August 2014, Peretti called for over 4,000 BuzzFeed articles to be deleted. Before doing this, they did not offer any communication to readers. All Peretti said was that the posts did not meet editorial standards. In other words, BuzzFeed was experiencing a plagiarism issue with writers. Peretti felt the posts were from back when the company was more of a tech company and was designed to detect and track trending content. However, does that make it right?
A second way BuzzFeed attempted to be a more respected media news source was by freezing all Community Brand Publisher accounts in early 2015. They are trying to encourage brands to purchase advertising on BuzzFeed’s sites rather than attempting sell something or use BuzzFeed‘s brand as an implied endorsement of a product or a political position. This is not what Peretti wanted from his company.
Not only is BuzzFeed trying to be more respected, they are also trying to branch out into different media sectors. Peretti wants to remain true to the company’s roots, which is technology. In 2014, BuzzFeed acquired two different media organizations. One of the acquisitions was Hyper IQ. Peretti acknowledged the increase in the use of apps and wanted to take advantage of where readers prefer content. By doing this, BuzzFeed was able to take an app that crashed frequently and turn it into one that was named one of the Best Apps of the Year. Thanks to the help of Hyper IQ, of course.
The Cute or Not app launched in February 2015, and was the first app to be released in several years from BuzzFeed. This app has been called a version of Tinder for pets. People who download the app are able to vote whether a pet is cute or not, like the name suggests. Subscribers are also able to upload pictures of their own for others to vote on. The Cute or Not app is obviously not driven to media news, but media entertainment.
After looking at the various business advancements BuzzFeed has accomplished over the past year or so, it is confusing on what the goal actually is. Peretti seems to have at least two goals for the organization, but they seem to contradict each other. If they want to become a respected media news source and take advantage of creating new apps, Peretti should encourage more news worthy apps to be released, right? Not an app where users decide if a pet is cute or not. So, my questions are do you feel that readers will deem BuzzFeed less credible due to the Cute or Not app? Also, are Peretti’s efforts in ‘cleaning up’ their website going to make BuzzFeed more credible? (i.e. creating own content and encouraging brands to purchase ads)