Strange Twists of the New Media

Trivia question: Martha Stewart’s web site recently had its busiest day ever. What site linked to Martha on that day to generate all this traffic?

If you’re thinking New York Times or CNN you’re not even close. And it’s not Google or Yahoo.

The media giant that slammed Martha Stewart and Omnimedia’s web servers:

Cute Overload

This blog has grown into a media powerhouse with pictures of cuddly mammals and clever commentary. Although I do not frequent Cute Overload, that does not keep me from seeing the latest kitten sleeping on a German Shepard or newspaper-reading otter. In fact I’m exposed to it constantly each time I walk into my wife’s workroom. It’s rare to pass through that part of the house without a COM (or Cute Overload Moment).

The site was started by a couple who ironically have no pets of their own (she’s allergic to cats and he is allergic to dogs). Wanting to share some photos of cute animals they started the blog. The rest is history.

But unlike the sticky sweet glurge that so often clogs our inboxes, Cute Overload offer clever and witty commentary along with the cuddly creatures. In fact, an insider jargon has even evolved to describe recurring themes, such as “prosh” combining precious and posh, or “baroo?” to describe a dog tilting its head as if trying to comprehend. Even this jargon itself has earned the name “cutecabulary.”

What fascinates me about the site is the magical way it has grown into such a hugely popular media property. Meg, the site’s founder, is frequently seen on daytime TV. And now, as Martha Stewart recently found out, a link posted on the site guarantees you a tsunami of web traffic. Pretty impressive considering it all started as a place to post some pictures.

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