The Bustle: Not for a 21st Century Woman

Yesterday, Bleacher Report founder Bryan Goldberg announced the launch of a new website, His patronizing, endlessly offensive announcement was made via PandoDaily, and was met by the unanimous disdain of the Whole Damn Internet.

Forbes sums it up nicely: “When the piece you write for PandoDaily announcing the creation of your new media property draws comparisons to something The Onion would run, well, that isn’t a good sign.”

If you’ve not seen Bleacher Report, don’t bother. It’s a scumbag sports website that somehow (I don’t know how, really) managed to jam its barely readable content into high Google rankings. These are the folks who capitalized on the Japan Earthquake to give us a few paragraphs of meaningless text and a slideshow about sports.

Bustle failure
6.5 million in capital doesn’t save you from being irrelevant.

It’s not just that his website sucks, although it does. The outrage is a direct reaction to this Goldberg’s press release, which functions as a rambling, self-important, condescending explanation about how women are finally – finally – getting a website just for them. And he intends to make a ton of money.

Some of my favorite excerpts from the PR:

  • “During the last decade, many popular new media properties have launched, most aiming to attract men, like Politico, Bleacher Report, TechCrunch, Business Insider, Mashable, Grantland, TheVerge, Break, College Humor, IGN, Thrillist, and Gawker. “
  • “Creating an amazing blend of content — one that puts news and politics right beside fashion tips is what will set us apart.”
  • “Yes, we believe that a partner-track attorney can be passionate about world affairs and celebrity gossip. On the same day. During the same coffee break. And there is nothing wrong with that. Welcome to the year 2013.”
Bustle is a failure.

Bryan seems to believe he’s invented the wheel. He’s likewise proud of the website’s name, which he mentions on Twitter, saying, “BUSTLE: “to move or act with a great show of energy.” Right?

The 19th-century bustle was an upper-class fashion statement that emphasized a small waist at the expense of yards and yards of fabric and trimmings. It conveyed the subtle point that her husband could afford a decorative wife.

What’s worsNo bustle for mee is the entire concept that women need their hard-hitting news with a make-up chaser. Upset by the Cairo debacle? Take a deep breath and click to read the top 10 Hollywood jewelry trends this fall.

It gets better. This “feminist” publication goofed (again) when this (now deleted) job posting surfaced. $100 a day for 4-6 pieces of content? Guess that 6.5-million-dollar investment isn’t trickling down from genius creator to the real women doing the work.

What’s the lesson here? The Internet sees through garbage content. The Internet will dismiss useless content. The Internet will ridicule your sexist, tone-deaf press release.

Sara FraserVP Content Strategy


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