Few women on the web — or men for that matter — can claim the savvy and success of Danielle Friedland. In 1994, while she was still in college — and the Internet was still in its infancy — Danielle built her very first website. Later, she became an executive assistant for Avon Products, and then a web producer, who amongst other high-profile projects helped to build Beliefnet.com In 2004, she founded the wildly popular Celebrity Baby Blog, which was purchased by People.com in 2008. Listen in on our conversation with web-wonder — and mother — Danielle Friedland.
MOMMY TRACKED: Hundreds of thousands of parents blog for personal enjoyment, but a very select few actually been able to guide their blog into a successful profession. You have! At what point did you realize that not only was your blog going to be a huge success, but a full-time job?
DANIELLE FRIEDLAND: When I was on maternity leave with my daughter in the Fall of 2005, I realized that Celebrity Baby Blog would afford me the opportunity to work for myself as long as I wanted.
Sometimes some very “lively” comment discussions get started as a result of particular stories on CBB. Is it hard to “watch,” and not jump in? What examples have gotten you “riled?”
Sometimes I get a bit riled up, but I rarely comment because the community is for the readers. Our philosophy is to simply let the readers discuss amongst themselves. The fun part is seeing what they'll say. Sometimes we expect them to react one way and they end up finding something else to discuss.
What blogs — if any — do you read for enjoyment, and why?
DANIELLE FRIEDLAND: When I'm online, I'm working on CBB. Even during my free time, when I go online, I end up working on CBB, so I try not to be online when I don't need to. The one blog I read occasionally is Consumerist, which was recently acquired by the Consumers Union, who put out Consumer's Report. Oh, and my husband's blog, The Food Section.
You’ve been an ardent supporter of breastfeeding on CBB. Are there other issues you feel are important to bring to a wide audience via blog? If so, which and why?
DANIELLE FRIEDLAND: CBB doesn't promote any particular parenting agenda, but when stories about breastfeeding, co-sleeping, cloth diapering or baby wearing comes up, we don't ignore it. By simply covering it or including the quotes about those particular topics, we raise awareness of an often under-reported story.
Two recent examples come to mind: Salma Hayek cross-nursing a Sierra Leone woman's hungry child — we added a quote from breastfeeding experts for context and a poll asking readers if they would or have nursed another's child who was in need. Not only did our readers respond positively to the post, many said they were in tears watching the video of Salma nursing the child. In our poll, 77% said they would nurse another's child who desperately needed it.
Prior to that, Kelly Rutherford recently spoke about nursing her two-year-old son. While Page Six likened it to child abuse, we passed no judgment about it and let our readers discuss it. They had a very lively and respectful conversation.