Published on Mommy Tracked (http://www.mommytracked.com)

Danielle Friedland

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 [1], 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 [2] 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 [3].


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 [4] 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 [5]. 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.

Your union with People.com seems a match made in heaven. Could you tell us a bit about how that transpired?


DANIELLE FRIEDLAND: I wasn't looking to sell the site, but when I had the opportunity to partner with People.com, it was, like you said, a match made in heaven. They are the most respected brand in the celebrity news world and I wanted CBB to be part of that.


In the past, you’ve said that with the blog idea of celebrity babies you “had the right idea at the right time.” Do you foresee another topic that is ripe for a megablog?


DANIELLE FRIEDLAND: The blogosphere was really different five years ago than it is now there must be a blog on every topic that you can think of already. Being the first in the celebrity baby space was important then but it's not enough anymore. The key to CBB's success is not only the right idea at the right time but also knowing how to develop the brand, bringing on the best people, learning from your mistakes and keeping it going. I feel that by now there's a blog on every possible conceivable topic so the best thing is to find out what has the most resonance with the most people and further develop it.


You are so busy! How do you find balance between your professional life and your personal life? What do you do to relax? Do you ever find yourself a victim of “mommy guilt?”


DANIELLE FRIEDLAND: I strongly feel that if Mama's not happy, no one's happy and this Mama is happy. Fortunately, I love my job so that brings me joy so how could I feel guilty about that? When I do feel bad is when I have a really busy week and don't get to spend as much time with my daughter or husband. A three year old doesn't understand why I have to/need to work and it makes me feel sad when she wants me to stay but it also makes me feel good that she's healthily attached to me! I would start feeling guilty if she didn't care at all if I was around or not!


What is your proudest professional moment? Proudest Mommy moment?


DANIELLE FRIEDLAND: Professionally, I am proudest of seeing my engraving on the cover of the Wall Street Journal and adding "sold company to Time Inc." My proudest mommy moments are seeing my daughter respond to and socialize with other children and adults. It shows me that we've raised her well (so far, ha ha!) and that she is a well-adjusted, thoughtful, and kind person.


What’s next on your plate?


DANIELLE FRIEDLAND: There's so much more I want to do with CBB that I expect to be here for a while. Down the line, I want to have another baby and train to become a lactation consultant (a five year process).




Danielle Friedland lives in Maplewood, New Jersey with her husband Josh and their precious daughter Anya, 3½ . Catch up with the latest and greatest in the world of celebrity babies by visiting Celebrity-Babies.com [6].




Interviewed by Cheryl Lage: The author of Twinspiration: Real-Life Advice from Pregnancy through the First Year [7], Cheryl Lage is a freelance writer/editor and a full-time mom. Her twin-centric perspectives have appeared in a wide array of print, web and broadcast media including: MSN.com, TWINS, Pregnancy, AmericanBaby.com, Parents.com, ePregnancy.com, Martha Stewart Living Radio, iVillage.com, People’s Celebrity Baby Blog, Richmond Parents Monthly, and her own web support site, Twinsights.com [8].

Currently, Cheyrl Lage lives with her family in Richmond, Virginia, where she is an elementary school room mother times two! Learn more about Cheryl by visiting her blog, Twinfatuation [9].


New media mavens take note: if you liked our interview with Celebrity Baby Blog [10] founder and working mother Danielle Friedland, don't miss our chat with BlogHer [11] co-founder Lisa Stone [11]. 

Source URL: