When MSNBC’s Dan Abrams launched Mediaite.com last July, it raised a host of questions: what was the media news site’s relationship to Abrams’ other recent project, Abrams Research? What was this Power Grid that everyone was talking so much about? And why did the site immediately go dark upon launch?
In the past several months, most of these queries have fallen by the wayside: if there’s been an overlap between the groups that consult with Abrams Research and the entities that are discussed on Mediaite, not one of the vigilant watchdogs of the Internet have been able to spot a specific example. Abrams himself brushes off what must be the hundredth question about the potentially blurred ethical boundary, telling FishbowlNY, “there hasn’t even been a close call” in keeping the businesses separate entities.
“I think we’ve shown with Mediaite that there’s no editorial overlap [with Abrams Research], and it has nothing to do with another business we happen to own,” he said.
And after sufficiently proving that Mediaite is a success (the site reportedly hit 1.2 million page views in its first month alone), and launching a Perez Hilton/TMZ-style celebrity site GossipCop.com close on its heels, Abrams is ready to expand his digital empire further with today’s launch of Geekosystem.com, a site that will cover every aspect of “geek” culture.
There may be an over-saturation of nerd culture already on the Internet (that’s what it’s there for, right?), but Geekosystem doesn’t just trade in a particular niche of gaming or sci-fi culture, it hopes to encompass all of them. About the site, Abrams said:
“There are sites that do comics, science, gaming…we want to be the place for people who care as much about Zelda as they do about gamma ray bursts. We have a wider scope, and a broader audience.”
Abrams also discussed content-sharing between what will eventually be his empire of sites — including the upcoming SportsGrid.com (a stat-based site that relies heavily on the Power Grid algorithm created by Andrew LoCascio for Mediaite), and the fashion site Styleite.com.
And while the Power Grid may look a little different on Geekosystem than it does on Mediaite — what do you base the rankings of “geekiness” on, anyway? — this first launch week will feature the roll out five categories of 30 of the most influential “geeks” in the field, with one category revealed today. It’s bound to be a good draw, but Geekosystem promises to be more editorial and review-based than the upcoming SportsGrid site, which will rely heavily on players’ stats.
So what’s the master plan? Although the TV talking head may not be looking to challenge Nick Denton’s prowess as a new media titan by building a media empire of his very own, he seems to be taking a cue from Gawker Media’s business plan of trading in niche entities. Said Abrams:
“My goal is to create brands online in discreet areas, and extend beyond a blog about media. Anything from events to job boards are additional sources of revenue, but I also think that having all of them together is a giant advantage. Adding verticals is easy once you get [your initial site] ready.”
Advertisers are already excited about Abrams’ network’s potential, with Microsoft’s Bing sponsoring the site’s first two weeks. Styleite will eventually incorporate a level of e-commerce so readers can shop while they get their fashion news. Abrams says that Styleite, will be “more user-generated; more so than any other site.”
So what about Geekosystem? Perhaps the most notable aspect of the blog can be identified without even going to the site: editor Robert Quigley and editor-at-large Andrew Cedotal are both recent college graduates, certainly a rarity in a world of scarce writing jobs where aspiring journalists frequently fall into unpaid internships. But the choice also speaks to the importance of youth both in the new media and tech worlds.
Both come from Yale (Quigley graduated in 2009, Andrew in 2008) and worked for Abrams at Mediaite before taking positions at Geekosystem. Quigley had only been out of college for two days before finding a Craiglist ad for an unpaid internship at the media company. After joining Mediaite pre-launch on May 25, Quigley soon ascended to an associate editor position. Abrams is confident in his pick of these wunderkinds, and he showed genuine little-kid excitement in his voice when he told us that both Cedotal and Quigley “will wow you with the amount of information they can access at all times.” Of Quigley’s quick ascent to the top, Abrams says:
“Robert has been a star at Mediaite. Not only did he write the story that remains our most viewed post ever, but he is also one of the smartest people about the Web that I have ever met.”
Abrams pointed out that Quigley’s “uniquely qualified” to run the site, and mentioned the oft-boasted fact that he’s a nationally ranked Scrabble player. (You can’t argue with those geek qualifications.) Quigley’s hope for the site, he told us over the phone, “was to appeal to the casual geek…moving away from the hyper-specialized” niche sites that dominate among serious geek connoisseurs.
With these sites under his belt and two more set to launch, Abrams may be one of the few publishers providing America’s recent graduates with job opportunities.
Read More: Geekosystem.com