(note: These are internal memos I send out to my team of ~ 70 FTEs, you may find it interesting).

Came across this article: When BuzzFeed relied on native ads it praised Facebook, but after failing to scale that business, it’s now alarmed by Facebook/Google like any other publisher

Why this is pertinent to us: Buzzfeed is a much larger, venture-backed version of WatchMojo. Early on when I’d tell people we did video lists, people would say “oh, so the Buzzfeed of videos?” to which I’d reply… “well, I think Buzzfeed wants to be the Buzzfeed of videos, but sure.” They now have 2 units: news and entertainment. The news side has no real bearing on us… but the entertainment side is pertinent. Their audience overlaps with MsMojo more than WatchMojo, FWIW.

How are we like them/how are we similar: While we operate at very different scales (they have 1000+ employees, generate $300M in revenues etc), we’re both content-creating entities who grew via distributed traffic… them on Facebook and us on YouTube, and both feel the challenges (albeit different) of that. The article touches on their CEO coming to grips with the limitations, risks, downsides of being so reliant on traffic… they have managed to develop lucrative e-commerce startups, which is something we need to tackle at some point to being the one-trick pony we now are (relying mainly on YT-sold ads before our content). I can imagine that their investors are growing a bit impatient, but that’s also a testament to them possibly being unrealistic. Buzzfeed has raised ~ $500M from multiple investors, as well as media companies like Comcast NBC Universal. Our individual WatchMojo channel is larger than their main ones, but in aggregate their network of YT channels is larger than ours. That we can even make that statement is a huge sign of our historical success on YT.

How are we different: aside from size, we’re not venture-backed… so as long as we don’t make any fatal risks, we don’t have investor overlords with unrealistic and/or overly aggressive targets. Also, I’m not sure there’s a silver lining or pot of gold in the O&O (owned-and-operated website) strategy they now seem to be pursuing. On the bright side, while YouTube is by no means perfect, Buzzfeed’s original growth came on Facebook… which has proven to be a far more fickle, unreliable partner/platform. But make no mistake about it, the challenges and headwinds that Buzzfeed faces are risks we face now/in near future, so it’s good to be aware of their plight, learnings and plans.