Popularity of gossip sites spike

According to recent studies the number of people logging on to see juicy celebrity gossip has jumped significantly.

“These gossip sites are attracting a mass number of young people at an alarming rate,” said Garret Holmes, senior public affairs research analyst at MGT of America, a management and consulting firm. MGT conducted a study on gossip websites in 2007.

“About 38 percent of young adults ages 18-24 use these gossip sites as a supplement for hard news .”

Most of these gossip sites have been established in the last five years and have gotten big responses from their young audiences.

“I want to say that about 60 percent of our registered visitors are about 18-28,” said associate editor Shawna Price at Mediatakeout.com, the number one black gossip site in the world. “We have over five million hits a day and that’s big for a black gossip website.”

Holmes said that the sites may be popular, but they don’t always hold up to factual scrutiny.

“The silly thing about these blog sites is that they hold no credibility whatsoever,” Holmes said.

Gossip sites are not a favorite among stars since celebrities are the ones that are heavily targeted.

“We get a lot of hate mail from celebrities and their representatives and some of them try to sue us,” said Price. “But it’s all a part of the business and we keep pushing our site to be number one in gossip news.”

 Price said she thinks the sites are beneficial because they provide entertainment.

“We take the public away from all the hard news and try to stick to news that is fun,” Price said. “I believe that is why we are so popular and why many mainstream hard news shows now show entertainment news.”

Ashley Taylor, a 22-year-old education student said she visits the sites frequently.

“I am addicted to gossip sites,” said Taylor, a Houston native. “I check at least four a day like TMZ, Mediatakeout, Perez Hilton, and Pop Sugar. They are so entertaining and that is the way I start my day most times.”

The gossip sites often do feature hard news. Some sites feature national news, involving politics and big headline stories, in its daily line up.

“We definitely try to put at least two hard news stories up a day,” Price said. “We choose the two or three biggest stories to feature in the lineup because most times that is the only way some of our readers will know hard news.”