In an email this morning, he explained his thinking at the
"I was still at huffpost so I was in a bit of denial about not
hiring editors," he said. "I thought huffpost could be a media
business and BuzzFeed a tech business which would avoid the
awkwardness of both companies trying to hire the same type of
people. We didn't start hiring lots of editors until after Aol
bought HuffPost and I was no longer affiliated. Also the VCs I was
meeting had a strong anti-editorial bias which is still mostly true
The deck includes a separate detail that would today make the
company's president Jon Steinberg cringe: the inclusion of standard
ad units on some Buzzfeed.com pages (slide 17). BuzzFeed, of
course, eschews standard ad units on its site and instead relies on
sponsored posts. The standard ads, Mr. Peretti wrote, would be
"dynamically" placed "next to the hottest content."
But the deck also shows that Mr. Peretti saw the rise of native
advertising before most others. One of the keys to the business
model was "Advertising as content," according to the deck.
On the next slide, Mr. Peretti fleshes that idea out a bit. "The
future of the industry is advertising as content. Key Examples:
Google sponsored links and YouTube promoted videos. Advertising and
editorial content have the same format."
He even uses the word -- wait for it -- "native."
"BuzzFeed partners can publish and promote their buzz on the
BuzzFeed site," he wrote. "The promotion is native to the site and
works as content and advertising."
As for competition, Mr Peretti predicted: "Competition will come
as content and advertising converges and more companies enter that
Here's the 2008 presentation: