Kara Swisher

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Happy Virtual Mother's Day: Modern Mom Site Gets a Celebrity Relaunch


What’s one of the ways you might attract a lot of attention online?

Here’s one possible equation: Celebrity + Mom + Tips Galore.

That’s the formula behind a new site relaunching today called Modern Mom, which is backed by “Dancing With the Stars” winner Brooke Burke and partner Lisa Rosenblatt, wading into what the pair hopes will be a lucrative market.

In an unusual twist, they have bought an existing site, redesigned it and then turbocharged it using both original content and stuff pulled from Demand Media (which was founded by Rosenblatt’s husband, Richard Rosenblatt).

It’s an interesting effort to watch in online publishing, to see if the pair can attract both an audience and advertisers without a big brand name in the mother space and by leveraging Burke’s online and offline popularity.

She now has, for example, 562,522 followers on Twitter alone, a huge fan group on Facebook and is an active social networker.

Whether that can be turned into a real business is a good question.

“I think I am passionate about this and want it to be organic,” said Burke, who noted that she and Rosenblatt have seven kids between them. “There are a lot of places for moms to go online, but they tend to cut up the experience, while we’re focusing on information and tools from pregnancy to the teen space, since being a mother does not stop at any one point.”

Rosenblatt, who said that the effort has been backed by several million dollars in angel investment, added that the key was trying not to overwhelm readers with content that was not relevant.

“We wanted to be a place for people to feel involved easily, so they could feel comfortable,” she said. “We’re the audience for what we are offering, so we think we know what people want.”

That means, no surprise, nothing too heavy–with lots of tips, buying suggestions, health and beauty, food and home, videos, blogs, as well as an area focused on celeb parents, called Mommywood.

Of all the evergreens online, celebs are almost always a hit (witness the big wet kiss the New York Times recently bestowed on Wonderwall, which BoomTown wrote about a while back), and so are sites aimed at mothers.

Some of the many include BabyCenter, iVillage, Momlogic and Mommy Track’d, among others. Still, the packed category has a lot of potential, given it’s often an advertising-friendly environment.

Burke and Rosenblatt said Modern Mom already had such relationships and that they would be combined with Burke’s endorsements and her existing e-commerce business, called Baboosh Baby.

Here’s a screenshot of Modern Mom’s new homepage (click on it to make it larger), as well as a welcome video from Burke:


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— David Pogue on why he’s joining Yahoo