A little more than a year ago, Bleacher Report co-founder Bryan Goldberg’s attempts to “transform Women’s publishing” with the newly launched Bustle.com received widespread criticism, including the suggestion from this corner (“The Web’s #1 Content Farmer Finds Out That IUD Isn’t An Acronym For “Internet Underwear Deputy”) he was as credible a champion of feminism as Luke Winkie.
Fast forward to this morning, and Slate’s Amanda Hess surveys the commercial success of Bustle (rivaling Jezebel for traffic) and Goldberg’s skill in mollifying some of his more prominent foes (some of whom have not-so-coincidentally accepted payment from, uh, Goldberg). Still, while Goldberg has convinced some in the web world that he’s not the biggest creep on Silicon Row, Hess found at least one person unwilling to high five the man she calls “The Bro Whisperer” :
“It’s nice not having to code-switch as I would with a male boss,” one contributor told me of working with all female editors. A former intern described the office dynamic as an “all-girls summer camp feel,” where Goldberg typically stayed tucked away in his office, and the crew of relentlessly kind female editors “felt like counselors” to their young charges. In fact, Bustle’s office culture vibe is so by-women, for-women that one former contributor didn’t recognize Goldberg’s name when I raised it in our conversation. “I had no idea a man was behind Bustle,” she told me. “Weirdly, that makes me like it much less.” She had assumed that her low pay rate was the product of a fledgling female-run startup that had struggled to secure funding from venture capitalists. When I sent her Goldberg’s now infamous PandoDaily announcement, she looked at the headline and said, “There’s $6.5 million behind it, and this is what they’re paying me?” I told her that Goldberg had since raised an additional $5 million. “Jesus,” she said.