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Troy

This is the #1 Black Owned Website

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I just refreshed my list of the top Black Owned Websites, a list I maintain on huria.org. In another conversation on this forum, a visitor wrote that the number one website, currently Worldstarhiphop.com,"...is for the children."

In reality, the website is designed for adults, and is currently the #1 Black owned website. I rank websites based upon Alexa rankings, an admittedly imperfect metric, but is all I have and is better than nothing.

Worldstarhiphop.com is essentially a gossip site that posts embrassing vidoes of celebtrities, public brawls and the like.  The founder Lee "Q" O'Denat, the founder of Worldstarhiphop.com. WSHH has been voted the "top hip hop and urban culture website" by BET four years in a row (see 2012 winners).  Obviously BET has no interest in giving awards to book sites LOL!

In the video below Lee speaks  about his rise to prominence.

 

Method Man says he hates Worldstarhiphop and Bossip.  Which are two of the top 5 Black owned websites.
You can't get better promotion than this.  Hey Meth, why don't you publically diss AALBC.com a drive some traffic my way too :-) 

I agree with Method man.  I don't believe because people happen to be famous that it is cool to put all their personal business in the street. Gossiping formerly the purview of stay at home moms has become a multibillion dollar industry.  And gossip is seemingly the only way Black folks can make money on the web. 

50 Cent expresses his anger with Lee "Q" O'Denat.

While I was aware of the website, learning about it when I complied my list of the top websites, I was not unaware of the founder Lee "Q" O'Denat.  Given that he is a extremely successful website owner, a Black man, and from the same city as I am, you would think we'd know each other.  We don't.  I fact, I don't know very many other Black webmasters.  Sadly, I work in effective isolation learning everything on my own... but I digress.

Lee's worldstarhiphop.com is no different, really, than MediaTakeOut, Madam Noire, Bossip, or BET all of which are in the top 10 on my list.

I initially compiled the list to see, among other things, what type of content the top white owned sites, that targeted Black people, produced.  Of course celebrity scandal ranks way at the top.  Interestingly, the most successful Black owned websites produce the same type of content. White folks may bring cocaine into the the Black community, but we are the ones selling it to each other.

In the words of Method Man's own group, the Wu-Tang Clan, C.R.E.A.M. (Cash Rules Everything Around Me).  While he may hate worldstarhiphop.com and Wendy Williams, I'm certain he understands them.

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I want to dive into this and discuss things, but you covered all bases here. This falls in line with the conversation that Hip-Hop actually does more harm than good in the Black community. We could discuss this all day, but at the root of it all is the videos and info from WSHH are shared and reblogged more than anything in the Black web. There isn't a "White" Man, or The Man, or some systemic oppression creating this wealth for Lee and his site. It's just us.

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Well you might be right, Chris but many people feel, and I'm in this camp, that Lee's site popularity (and by contrast this site's much less popularity), is more a reflection of oppression than a contributor to it.

  • Lee says his first site was a porn site.  Mine was a site to help people learn about computers and the web.  
  • Lee gets awards from BET.  BET has not covered me since they became white owned.
  • Lee has become very wealthy.  I have to teach on the side to make ends meet.
  • Clearly our people place a much higher value on what Lee does than what I do.  

But why is this true?  I think part of the reason is that we still suffer the effects of a couple hundred years of enslavement, followed by a century of legalized oppression followed by another 50 years hyper-incineration, forced into impoverished ghettos, subjected to inferior education, etc.  It is a small wonder why we are not more dysfunctional that we already are.  

For example, today I watched the car cam video of that sister pulled over in the texas; ignoring the fact that the video was edited, I completely understand the woman's frustration.  Sure she made matters worse by giving the cop grief, and no she did not deserve to be treating the way she was, but we literally live in a country where Black people can end up dead for failing to signal a lane change!

Worse still, BET, the socalled "Black Twitter", music companies, and many of our other most popular websites reinforce all of this...

So while I appreciate 50's and Meth's anger, it is like a drug dealer complaining when some drug addict smashed the car windows to steal quarters from the ash tray--this is the environment they help facilitate--facilitate, but not create.  

We know drugs were deliberately dumped into the Black community by the government.  We know the government helped create the ghettos most of us live in.  So while a 50 Cent havesome culpability we can't blame 50 for creating the environment, which elevates him to such a status that he is on talk shows, stars in movies and has become very wealthy, anymore than we cam Blame Lee for taking advantage of our dysfunction for a payday.  If it were not them it would be someone else.

I guess we need to create an environment where the demand for drugs and celebrity gossip is much less than the things that might feed us intellectually and spiritually.

 

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The sites are already out there as evidenced by the http://www.huria.org/blogs. The content is there, it's just that the people who browse the web the most are young people and their viewing and browsing habits are not informed or educated. They are just beginning to understand how the web makes money and what they know more than anything is that you can go viral and get famous through jokes, fighting or dancing. 

All that we want for Blacks is already available. Blacks just do a crappy job of taking advantage of the information available.

Edited by CDBurns

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Richard, as we speak I'm in the process of redesigning AALBC.com.  It will take me many months of effort, and will be a much improved website, but there is nothing on my drawing board that will be fundamentally transformative, or earth-shatteringly different, about what I'm doing on the website.

I think the most powerful thing I can do is to actually get Black writers to take advantage of the platform.  It sounds so fundamentally basic, but authors underutilize this website.  Thumper's corner is a great place to showcase one's work, but too few authors recognize this.  Even those that do post info about their books don't do so ineffectively. Here is an example from today you can see the difference between what the author posted and what I posted on their behalf.  This took all of 5 minutes and you just can't post anything close to this on social media.

So if I can get authors to just take advantage of the website, that would be the most transformative thing I can do :-)

Richard do you have any ideas on how to more effectively deliver positive content? So far all of the ideas I see coming from large corporations are not doing the job.  Indeed their solutions seems to be not to bother trying--at least as it related to Black folks

 

Edited by Troy
fixing typos

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I tried it before, but unless you are constantly removing spam, it is a pain to run. Under Wordpress PHP I installed Buddypress. I pushed a lot of people to sign up for it, since it looked almost like Facebook. People used for one day and went right back to Facebook. So creating a content that streams ala Facebook and Twitter is out of the question and it doesn't even matter. Consider that Google + is all but dead and couldn't compete with FB/Twitter/Instagram.

Black people simply have to make an effort to visit more websites outside of social media and to interact with the websites as opposed to only on social, but it's very hard to get them to understand this so you have to factor in consumer education when you decide to create a site that is content driven.

Troy has an old platform which means he has an extensive database. He has the best chance of any of us to get Black people to a single location, but in order to do so AALBC will have to become an information based site that caters to every walk of Black life. In a way he already does this with the books and film reviews. He simply has to add other sections of entertainment, business and education content. Once these streams have been set up then it's a matter of finding dedicated writers.

I always mention Wordpress, but any content provider that allows the blogger layout would work. The ease of adding users is straightforward. This is what I did when I made a call for writers (which didn't go very well). I required each writer to have an Amazon Associates account and a Google Adsense account. When they wrote an article that was about music or books, they had to link to the item on Amazon and they could add an Adsense ad to their post. (By not having any adsense ads on my site this is allowed. If I had adsense, I would only place the banners in two locations leaving a third for the writer to post theirs in their article.)  By forcing the writers to sign up and have their own blogs, they could monetize every blog post.

All writers would theoretically make money if they are sharing their articles on FB/Twitter/Insta when people visit and if they click through. This was an incentive. It can work. But there is also a learning curve in teaching writers about the benefits of monetizing. Hell most writers don't even run their own sites.

Getting people to use the site is as simple as building a staff of writers who will write one article per month. 30 writers with a network of 1000 people on Facebook. A tenth of their followers see their posts is 10 people x 30 writers is 300 extra unique visitors per month and if they simply click one extra page in their visit then you are talking a solid number of page loads. 

The key is getting the writers. The rest is easy.

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Can you go to any website today without tripping over the Facebook or Twitter logos? 

Facebook and Twitter benefit from so much free publicity it boggles the mind.  When I started noticing that major brands where telling people to; "Friend me on Facebook and follow me on Twitter," I really could not believe it.  Today it is said so often it is like a freaking cliche.  I mean when you have major content providers telling readers to check them out on Twitter, when they have a website they are trying to monetize, it defies logic!

It defies logic because the idea is that you send people to Facebook, rather than directly to your site, where they so impressed with your content that eventually visit your website.  But people on Facebook tend to stay on Facebook, because a huge percentage of them are accessing the platform via mobile and they are less likely up the cell phones browser to read an article.  Besides they've just noticed the funny meme someone just posted and that potential visitor is off doing something else.

I'm firmly convinced people who read literature for pleasure are not the same ones spending a ton of time on Facebook.  Most of my traffic comes from search, very little (<2%) of it comes from social media.  

But major content providers are starting to double down and are beginning to post their content directly on social media?!  Of course Mark is creaming his pants at the prospect of the like of the Wall Street Journal posting their content directly on Facebook!  Can you image!

Imagine if every author profiled on this website (>1,000) came here everyday and posted information just about their work; put my logo on their business cards and websites; and told everyone to, "Check me out on AALBC.com;"  I would be richer than the guy who runs worldhiphop.com.  But more importantly I would be able to pay for writers for articles, book reviews and have a much better site-authors and readers benefit.

I too think Chris is on the right track with his idea.  I'm working with other writers to compile and publish content that is not being provided anywhere else--and it is all book related.

 

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When I say I tried "it" I failed to clarify. I tried to add writers to my site, but it didn't work very well. I also tried Buddy Press inside of Wordpress which is a feature that mimics Facebook in it's feed concept. That didn't work very well either. BUT I'm not Troy and I don't have a huge network at my disposal. I think if AALBC had a wall with a feed it would work, however it would be just like Facebook in that the content would be very short lived and not indexed or searchable by Google, so that would be a problem.

While Myspace and Google+ are not dead, they don't compare to Facebook/Twitter they are both viable commodities and that is really the goal isn't it? To generate enough money to create a trickle down effect of sorts to the content providers. Good dialogue here!

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Richard given that everybody and their mother has published a book, even with more than 1,000 authors profiled on this site, I have only a small fraction fraction of them.  But this site was never intended to include everyone who ever published a book.  Some curation takes place here. 

But as the desire (or need) to generate revenue increases the curation, or selectivity goes down.  this is the model for that makes social media so successful. I really try not go down the path of putting just anything on this website.  I think readers need this.  Someone has to separate quality from the mediocre.  Right now those with the most money, or fame wins.  Quality is secondary  I hope to distinquish AALBC.com as a place where readers can find quality.

Also, keep in mind, I'll include authors in the "anglosphere" if they write something of interested or importance to Black folks.  One of the first non-black authors on this website was Jack Erza Keats.

Richard I think you are absolutely right "famed membership" is a powerful draw.  Indeed it does not even have to be that intense; as Facebook provides a platform for anyone, not to necessarily become famous, but just to be heard. People want, some desperately, to be seen and heard, to know that they matter to someone else besides themselves.  This is very powerful and difficult to compete with...  especially when what you are offering in exchange is the opportunity to discover a good book to read.

Also the dynamic that drives a Facebook is completely different on these discussion forums; for example, sharing minutiae from your daily life would just be boring here.  I do not want to even try to replicate that aspect of Facebook.  But I need more people have to contribute.

The crazy thing is that people will email be stuff that they believe my readers would be interested in but they will not take the extra step to post it here.  Now I know sending an email is easier than posting here, but the very same people will take the extra to share something on Facebook!  

Here is something that I recently shared from a notice I saw on Facebook, Call for Submissions: Fall/Winter 2015 Killens Review of Arts & Letters. Now I went to the linked website, copied and pasted the information to share it here.  The information is presented much more nicely here than on Facebook and MORE people will read it here.  

I simply don't have the time to do this each time I think readers here would benefit.  Despite working with this entry that publishes this magazine, for years, I can not get them to share this type of information here. The impression that Facebook is more powerful is simply wrong in this case.  Indeed the belief that is is what is constraining all of our growth.

Again changing this mindset such that we more actively utilize our own resources, within the Black book world will be the best thing I can accomplish.

 

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Well, before i became a committed christian at 17 again i piped down o rap, but before that i used to be into Rap, but I'm still the same way i was, i don't like the word Bitch or Nigga, and even when i was listening to hip hop i avoided the words, that's why i mainly listened to Tupac, and Nas. and common.

 don't get me wrong i like hype conversation, but I'm not into Gossip and seeing people acting a fool, or intoxicated seeming they have no  common sense what so ever at all, i like heated conversations on stuff that informs me, because I'm a really argumentative person lol,

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Thanks everyone.

Here is the latest bestellers list which is baed upon the new website's design I still have some a lot fo work to do, but you see where I'm going: http://75.103.68.29/books/bestsellersmay2015.php?genre=Children%26rsquo%3Bs the new bestsellers list.

The new list removes my dependency on the Amazon widget I've been using for years.  It also makes creating the bestsellers list FAR easier. I can even use the code on the current site until I finish the upgrade next year: http://aalbc.com/books/mayjun_2015.htm

If I decide to sell books directly, making the switch will be trivial.  I was looking at drop shipping using Ingram but it does not look to be cost effective...

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Man I wouldn't want to be you right now. You have a lot of work to do converting the site. If I could help with the coding I would. Keep pushing and you know I'm pulling for you. I'm still waiting on you to build me a package to buy for my books. I just don't know which way to run with this. When time permits let me know what to do and it least I can invest both financially and with my patronage.

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Thanks for the offer, for I know white gay males don't have to work for free. 

Anywho, "gay white slave boy's" message did prompt me to reread this post. Almost two years later things have seemingly gotten worse even scandal driven black owned sites are not as popular as they once were. 

I this may be a leading indicator of the fate of indie websites in general. Is this the end of indie websites?

Have Facebook reached a tipping point on their way to dominance of the WWW?

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Guest Sherry

This design is spectacular! You definitely know how to keep a reader entertained.

Between your wit and your videos, I was almost moved to start my own blog (well, almost...HaHa!)
Fantastic job. I really loved what you had to say, and more
than that, how you presented it. Too cool!

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