Liz Gannes

Recent Posts by Liz Gannes

Bloglovin Tripled Traffic This Year as Tumblr-Plus-Reddit for Ladies

There’s a boom going on in women’s blogging, and a site called Bloglovin is one of the epicenters.

BloglovinThe majority of bloggers are women — there are about four million female blog writers in the U.S., or 62 percent of the total, according to Nielsen. Common topics include style, healthy living, interior design and parenting. The readers are primarily women as well.

And there are a crop of blogging companion tools, too: Women bloggers use fashion tools like Polyvore and ad networks like Blogher, and of course many of them hang out on Pinterest.

Bloglovin started out as a prettier version of an RSS reader, and it has evolved over time to be a portal for fashion and lifestyle content from the blogs its users follow. The site’s audience of 10 million monthly unique visitors is 93 percent women, with a median age of 20, according to internal stats.

Bloglovin said its traffic has nearly tripled since the beginning of this year, building on the introduction of a mobile reader app, widgets that show which readers follow which blogs and a public aggregator for most-loved posts. Google Reader’s shutdown proved fruitful for the company, as Bloglovin rallied bloggers to tell their readers to follow them on its site. “We got thousands of blog posts about it,” Bloglovin CEO Mattias Swenson said in a recent interview.

Basically, the site tries to be the interconnecting tissue between blogs and blog readers. Bloglovin shares many of the social-network-for-blogging tools that are familiar from Tumblr, but it can be used to read any blog site as well as larger news sites, too. The one thing it doesn’t do is host blogs itself.

The Bloglovin community tends to like things that are different from more general interest sites.

“‘Fifteen non-alcoholic summer drinks’ was one of the most popular articles we ever had,” recalled Swenson. “We realized — this is not the stuff you’d see on Reddit.”

“There’s something really powerful when you tie people together and help people organize the Web,” Swenson said, citing the young women’s shopping site Wanelosee our profile here — as a parallel to Bloglovin, where a similar demographic of users curate shoppable content for each other.

The most popular blogger on Bloglovin is Fashion Toast, a.k.a. Rumi Neely. With what appears to be a constant stream of stylish selfies, Neely has 330,000 followers on Bloglovin, compared to tens of thousands on other RSS readers combined, Swenson claimed.

Bloglovin CEO Mattias Swenson

Bloglovin CEO Mattias Swenson

Five-year-old Bloglovin was founded by a group of dudes — Swenson and his friends from high school — in Sweden, but earlier this year moved its headquarters to Betaworks in New York. Betaworks is one of the investors that participated in the company’s $1.3 million in funding.

Swenson said he would like to raise more money. He pointed out that Refinery29, which claims an audience of 11 million, just scored $20 million in Series C funding (though, to be fair, they are are pretty different; Refinery29 is an editorial site, not a tech tool).

But there’s no precedent for making it big in the world of RSS readers. Google shut down its Reader citing lack of usage, and Bloglovin is trying to bite off a smaller piece of the potential market.

In fact, Bloglovin actually shares an office with fellow portfolio company Digg, which is the revival of the formerly dominant news aggregation site whose team has also built a clone of Google Reader.

Despite their obvious overlaps, Swenson said Bloglovin and Digg are actually quite different. “The way we see it is they’re attacking the news problem, and we’re attacking inspiration and self-expression. They’re two completely different realms,” he said.


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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald