Local Web site gets the scoop on celebrity newsWritten by Julie Ryan | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Nestled in an ordinary brick office building at Secor Road and West Central Avenue, eight employees sit behind their desks, sifting through photographs of celebrities and plotting the latest gossip.
“I know more than most 13-year-old girls. I can tell you what Zach Efron is doing; I don’t want to be able to, but I can,” said Brad Mandell, chief executive officer of GossipGirls.com.
GossipGirls.com began in 2003 by a network of girls in Los Angeles and Indianapolis, Mandell said. They followed entertainment news as a hobby. Brand Technologies Inc., a company started by Mandell, his brother Zach and father Steve, purchased GossipGirls.com in 2006 and officially took over the site Jan. 7, 2007. Mandell said they made the purchase after researching and deciding entertainment news was the “hottest place to be.”
GossipGirls.com operates out of Toledo, with only salespeople in Los Angeles, and receives 1.5 million views a day, up from the 15,000 daily visits it received before the site was swallowed by Brand Technologies.
“We enjoy Toledo, and it’s a great place, surprisingly, to run this sort of business,” said Craig Ryerson, business development director of GossipGirls.com.
The company employs five St. John’s Jesuit High School grads and the Mandell family is from Toledo.
According to Alexa.com, a Web information company, GossipGirls.com is the 9,630-most-trafficked site on the Internet. Celebrity-gossip.net, the original URL of GossipGirls.com that serves as a blog, is ranked 3,800 — up from 415,000 since Brand Technologies took it over.
Ryerson said GossipGirls.com is updated with 30 articles each day, all produced at the Toledo office. The frequent updating entices visitors to revisit the site, or bookmark it, and comment. All comments are previewed by staff members before going online.
Mandell said they work with 12 of the 13 biggest photography agencies in the country and do not use photos with nudity.
“We try to keep a PG-13 environment on the site,” Mandell said. “We want the parents to think it’s OK to have their kids visit the site.”
Brand Technologies is working on content syndication —working to create a brand for GossipGirls.com and more than a Web site. To reach that point, Mandell said the company is exploring working at the beta level with programs and exploring the best way to get their content out. Users of Amazon.com’s Kindle, a wireless reading device, can receive GossipGirls.com’s news on their Kindles.
The Toledo office also has a green screen for producing video and TV clips. Mandell said they will be launching a new Web site devoted to celebrity news video clips. It is all part of Brand Technologies’ syndicating GossipGirls.com’s content, he said.
“Even though we are in celebrity gossip, our history is Internet and technology,” he said.