BigThink has an interesting interview with gossip blogger (and one-time designer, and boy band builder and former actor) Perez Hilton, né Mario Lavandeira, which focuses on his image or, to use a term that causes us to go cross-eyed with rage, his “brand.”
In something of a departure from Maureen “No Moe” Tkacik’s essay/novel about the role of personal branding and a possibly fabricated, marketable personality in blogging, Hilton chalks up his early popularity (back when his blog was called “PageSixSixSix”) to the fact that he blogged about celebrities and entertainment rather than solely focusing on his own opinions and observations or the quotidian, mundane goings-on of his life.
As for fitting into certain boxes or behind certain labels now that more and more details about Perez the person (as opposed to the character) are revealed (he is, for example, gay and Latino), Perez says, perhaps a bit disingenuously, that he doesn’t want to be seen as a “gay blogger” or a “Latino blogger” – despite his tendency to sprinkle Spanglish in posts, or his ongoing mission to out allegedly closeted celebrities.
But Hilton is, undoubtedly, a savvy marketer who knows his “brand” and target demographic well. When asked why people read his blog, he admits that, while it might not be the most fulfilling or highbrow of web destinations, it’s definitely a guilty pleasure. With secret sauce:
I like to think of my Web site as, like, the McDonald’s of the Internet. A lot of people love to criticize McDonald’s, but yet it’s still really popular. And I love the french fries.
We bet you do, Mario. We bet you do.