Thursday, July 24, 2008 12:07 AM
In conjunction with our EconCeleb conference later today, we present the Econoclast10, a top 10 list of the most influential and innovative online celebrities. Whether they're blogging, investing, entertaining or, well, updating their MySpace profiles, these celebs are finding new ways to reach and interact with their fans. Check out the fancier, illustrated version here.
Our Econoclast10 is below. Please feel free to tell us which picks you agree with?and which ones you don't?and add your own nominations in the comments.
#1) Will Ferrell, Chris Henchy and Adam McKay: The trio's venture FunnyorDie.com has funny videos featuring celebrities, comedians and you. HBO, which couldn't make its own comedy site work, recently took a small stake in the site. The trio has wrangled in a plethora of Hollywood's hipper comedy elite to contribute to FunnyorDie.com and other sites in its network.
#2) Will.i.am: Black Eyed Peas hip-hop star Will.i.am has his own social network online, Dipdive, and has struck a deal with RIM ( NSDQ: RIMM) to put it on Blackberry handsets. He also served as a spokesperson at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Beyond that, Will is responsible for the "Yes We Can" video supporting democratic presidential candidate, Barack Obama, The video was released on Dipdive.com and YouTube.com, and featured 35 stars including Kate Walsh, John Legend and Scarlett Johansson. It was viewed more than 17 million times and inspired dozens of others to follow suit.
#3) Ashton Kutcher: Ashton Kutcher co-founded the production company Katalyst, which has created TV shows and movies. The company has gone digital and signed a deal with AOL ( NYSE: TWX) to produce five programs each with at least 20 mini-episodes to be distributed on AOL.com and AIM. Kutcher is also creative director for tech start-up Ooma; Kutcher's spearheading the marketing campaign and producing viral videos to promote this service. More named after the jump...
#4) Oprah Winfrey: Oprah.com has daily coverage of "The Oprah Winfrey Show," and provides millions of users with extensive expert advice, interactive workbooks, photos, video, inspirational stories, books and product information from the show. For some early online cred, Oprah was a founder of multi-platform Oxygen Media long before most people knew you could have multiple platforms. Now she's partnered with Discovery. In addition, Oprah's Book Club allows members to connect with other readers from their local area or around the world. Oprah also has a webcast named, "Soul Series," and an online adaptation of "Live Your Best Life."
#5) 50 Cent: From drug dealing to fame with the release of his 2003 album "Get Rich or Die Tryin'," Curtis James Jackson III has become a rap mogul, founding G-Unit records and achieving multi-platinum success. In addition, Fifty founded the G-Unit Clothing company, has dabbled in movies and consumer products, and has used his Web sites, 50cent.com and thisis50.com, to push the promotion of 50 Cent events and memorabilia arguably more than any urban rap artist to date.
#6) Stephen Colbert: Well known for his popular Comedy Central show, "The Colbert Report," Stephen Colbert has used the Internet to interact with his fans in new and innovative ways, from Google SEO to a presidential campaign complete with Facebook groups. A winner of the 2008 Webby Awards for "Person of the Year," Colbert has also used his fame and success to raise funds for his education charity, DonorsChoose.org.
#7) Radiohead: At the end of 2007, Radiohead released their newest album, "In Rainbows," online in a "pay what you want" form. Some artists are commending the move, most notably, Bono, and others, such as Coldplay, have followed suit by offering their latest single online for free. Radiohead has since re-released their album on-demand on Last.fm and now have their own branded section and new music video available on Google ( NSDQ: GOOG) and iGoogle.
#8) Peter Gabriel: From his initial fame as the lead vocalist of the rock group Genesis, Peter Gabriel has had a successful solo career and more recently has become a pioneer in digital distribution for music. Gabriel backed OD2, one of the first digital music companies We7, and more recently TheFilter.com, an entertainment site that filters users tastes in music, movies and Web video.
#9) Tila Tequila: Beginning her career with modeling in "Playboy" and "Import Tuner," Tila Nguyen had begun to find some success as a reality TV star and TV host before her MySpace page catapulted her to fame and "A Shot at Love with Tila Tequila" debuted. She is now turning to music and with an unconventional tactic: instead of signing with a major record label she will release her first songs only online.
#10) Martha Stewart: Martha Stewart has made her mark in the digital space with MarthaStewart.com, which not only houses her blog and social net, but also recipes, gardening tips and home decorating advice, to name a few?oh, and did we mention she reads the WSJ on her Amazon ( NSDQ: AMZN) Kindle? This year her company bought Emeril and a large stake in wedding planning community site WeddingWire. Late last year, it launched the Martha's Circle network, enabling advertisers to reach targeted audiences via its niche blogs and sites. Additionally, MarthaStewart.com has everything from recipes to entertaining ideas, and her TV show. The Martha Stewart brand has integrated partnerships online with companies including 1800 Flowers, Everyday Food and Macy's.