BuzzFeed Editor-in-Chief Ben Smith on Thursday profiled Cafe.com, a news site that’s aiming to be a “blend between Vox, BuzzFeed, the New York Times, and Amazon.”
Here’s the pitch, as told by founder Vinit Bharara to Smith:
“We’re trying to create these big blocs of communities,” Bharara said. Rather than simply serve readers display ads, the challenge is to “act as their union rep, go to the brands, and figure out a mutually advantageous way” to sell readers products. In the case of Scary Mommy, that could be diapers; on Cafe, Bharara suggested he might connect readers to advocacy groups. The site’s revenue would come from vendors, not readers.
Media companies once dreamed of being the home base for engaged, passionate communities, but that has declined alongside the rise of mobile, and of Facebook and Twitter.