Sunday, June 17, 2007

Web of Belief

According to,
Some of the biggest names in web journalism—,, and—were among the finalists for the 2007 National Magazine Award in “Online General Excellence.” But when the American Society of Magazine Editors announced the winner on May 1, a lesser known spirituality-and faith-based site called walked away with the top prize. And in bestowing its 2007 National Magazine Award, the American Society of Magazine Editors lauded Beliefnet for “its ability to unite a diverse audience under one digital roof. Founder Steve Waldman left US News & World Report to start Beliefnet in 1998.

Originally Beliefnet had an ambitious business strategy mirroring the ethos of internet entrepreneurs of the 1990s, and about 60 employees. Along with news and commentary, visitors to could book a vacation or access an online dating service.

When the Internet bubble burst, Waldman declared bankruptcy. The five remaining employees worked at minimum wage, although they were given stock in the company which, according to a recent New York Times article, could now be valued at as much as $100 million. (According to a New York Times article, its revenue has surged by at least 50% in the last four years, reaching $12.6 million in 2006.)

With the support of venture capital, the site was reorganized and adopted a new business model based predominantly on online advertising. Beliefnet also augmented the social networking component with more than 100 hundred different topics and a roster of beliefs that range from Atheism to Zoroastrianism. Snippets from

The site includes the trademarked Belief-o-matic to find out the faith group to which your personality type belongs, as well as prayer requests and advertisements for Evan Almighty, filmed in Crozet last year.

Labels: , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home