The Talks starts out asking Scott about teen bloggers like Tavi Gevinson, the 15-year old with a hugely popular blog and online magazine. Scott says he doesn’t think her audience is that big and calls her success “a little bit of a conspiracy by established print media that wanted to show that this blog thing is not that important, that it’s done by a bunch of twelve year olds.” A little extreme, no? He continues, “But a lot of us are serious grown-ups.”
Then, he says the problem with Tavi and blogs like hers is that they steal pictures from other people, arguing that “for blogs to take the next step, they have to have people like me who are in charge of all the elements – the writing, the visual, everything. Those are the ones companies can buy into.”
In fact, the only bloggers he thinks are doing it right are him and Garance, whose blog is the only one he reads on a regular basis. He also says he’s not worried about competing bloggers because they won’t be able to make a business out of it the way he has.
They might do it for a little while, but it’s hard to keep the passion to do it until you make money with it. And as soon as they start making money, if they are not controlling that, all the money is going to go right out to all those people they are taking stuff from.
So, how does he make money?
For one, he made “more than a quarter million and less than a half a million” on advertising this year alone from just two advertisers: American Apparel and Net-a-Porter.
My audience is so much larger than everybody else’s that advertisers, well at least American Apparel told me that I am not in their internet budget. My order is so big and they have to pay so much that I am actually in their magazine budget.
But, he has a lot of integrity. So does Garance.
But I think the thing that has worked really well, and this is potentially a new day in media, is that what they are buying into is not just the image but also the amount of integrity. The thing that I am very proud of is, even though they bought ads for an entire year, I have no relationship with my advertisers; I have no contact with them.
Magazines, on the other hand:
I think everyone knows not to believe in magazines anymore, they know that magazines are just page after page of advertisers…Magazines are driven by fear: they have to keep these advertisers and do these things for them. But now blogs have grown so big that I get emails like that all the time. But we know, Garance and I, that the thing for us is the level of integrity so we just don’t do it.
How do you think Scott comes across in this interview?