We chat with the founders of three of our favorite websites: IMDb.com, Whatevs.org, and MaudNewton.com
Internet Movie Database
Col Needham started this comprehensive entertainment resource from the U.K. in 1990, when he was 23. Bought by Amazon.com in 1998, the site now boasts more than 50 employees worldwide. ”This takes a huge amount of time and energy,” says Needham. ”As a result, I have not had the opportunity to meet any stars, I’ve never set food on an active movie set, nor attended a movie premiere outside of a film festival environment.”
Traffic Count 38 million unique users per month.
Wow Factor ”I once watched Alien 14 times in 14 consecutive days as a 14-year-old,” recalls Needham, whose love of movies began at age 4 when he won a coloring competition that awarded him a ticket to see Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. —Eric Kohn
Detroit-based Mark Graham, 31, who began blogging in 2002 after he was laid off from an advertising job, reports on pop culture with the snarkiness of a gossip columnist and the irreverence of a latter-day Gen-Y teen. ”I figured interjecting different kinds of language would make it kind of interesting, a little bit goofy,” he says.
Traffic Count 100,000 visitors per month.
Wow Factor Graham snapped a shot of Chloë Sevigny and Vincent Gallo schmoozing in the VIP area at California’s Coachella festival in the midst of the Brown Bunny controversy. ”I unsuccessfully tried to pimp these shots to US Weekly and People, and at the end of the day decided not to,” he says. ”My readers deserved to see it more than I deserved 25 lousy dollars.” —J.P. Mangalindan
Brooklyn writer Rebecca ”Maud” Newton launched MaudNewton.com in 2002 as an outlet to procrastinate. Since then, it’s evolved from a collection of personal observations and cultural tidbits into a blog with book excerpts, intelligent interviews, and a weekly calendar of New York literary events — a must-read for the book-obsessed.
Traffic Count 150,000 visitors per month.
Wow Factor Newton, 35, still marvels at the response she received from Caitlin Flanagan, author of To Hell With All That (Loving and Loathing Our Inner Housewife), whose traditional views of womanhood she criticized. ”Her e-mail managed to be patronizing, obsequious, and overfamiliar all at once,” Newton recalls. ”I didn’t respond to her message.” —JPM