In the world of online celeb gossip, the name Perez Hilton is quite well known. His official website Perezhilton.com in particular is regarded among Hollywood news fans for its eye-catching headlines, often with commentary and speech bubbles written on the article images themselves. Recently, the website began utilizing Yappa, an innovative new revamp of the traditional comments section that allows for video and audio comments and attempts to crack down on trolling. In this exclusive interview, Hilton discusses his collaboration with Yappa and his official podcast.
Innovation & Tech Today: What inspired this collaboration with Yappa?
Perez Hilton: The really smart folks over at Yappa reached out to me and explained what they do, and I was instantly sold. They didn’t have to ask twice. I love the technology. I love the simplicity of use. I love that I’m one of the first to implement this. I love that it encourages engagement from my audience. I love that Yappa has a proven track record of increasing page views. And for me, I love that it’s fun, and it also saves me time. Honestly, responding in video or audio form is so much quicker than typing something out.
I&T Today: How has your website changed since incorporating Yappa?
PH: I would say it’s changed in many ways. First, it took a while for me to really get the technology right where I wanted it. I was starting to use it and see how it would work on my site, and then I really fell in love with it. It took a while to change how we were doing things so that it could be even more prominent. That might be really boring for you. But I would just say my website’s changed so much for the better, even not just in my website. I love how great a partner Yappa is on their social media. They share “yaps” from my site. They really make me feel special, and I appreciate them so much.
I&T Today: Along those lines, how have you seen overall commenting on your website evolve over time?
PH: I would say for the most part, thankfully, comments have evolved in a more positive direction over time. Perhaps that’s a reflection of my journey and how I’ve gone in a more positive direction over time.
I&T Today: How have your fans reacted to your Yappa incorporation?
PH: I think everybody’s loved Yappa. I love seeing all the different yaps. Not everybody does video for many reasons, but people are doing audio as well and I love interacting with people.
I&T Today: One of the most interesting aspects of the Yappa tool is the ability to record audio comments. Why is this so important in the modern internet era?
PH: I think the audio and video component for your user doesn’t just save time but also makes them a creator as well, makes them a performer. It’s way more engaging and demanding of attention than just leaving a saucy comment.
I&T Today: Yappa also works against trolls, something that seems to plague most of the internet. Have you had issues with online trolls in the past?
PH: I’ve had issues with trolls in the past, but I love trolls. I would rather have trolls giving me page views than not.
I&T Today: Moving into your other projects, tell me a bit about what got you into podcasting.
PH: I am a veteran of the podcasting world now. I have been doing my podcast since 2015, and I love it. I got into it as a natural extension of what I was already doing on radio and I love it, I’m not going to say more, but it’s one of my favorite things that I do because it’s a show. It allows me to talk about the things that I’m passionate about, pop culture, celebrity, wacky things, cultural things. But it lets me do it in a way that’s really unfiltered and to elaborate.
The website’s all about being informative and entertaining and grabbing people’s attention as quickly as possible. The podcast, you can savor things, and people are loving it. Especially this year, we’ve had a huge growth spurt in 2019, which really started with all of the Khloe Kardashian, Tristan Thompson, Kylie Jenner, Jordan Woods, drama. And recently also, Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth gave us a huge bump in listenership. So thank you all.
I&T Today: What makes your show stand out compared to other podcasts?
PH: I would say that usually the formula for a podcast is you have hosts that are like-minded talking about their shared common interest, and then they usually have guests. My podcast bucks both of those trends. My cohost and I have a shared common interest, the world of celebrity, but we are so opposite from each other. And we don’t have any guests. So what establishes is this really deep, beautiful connection with our listeners that only gets more meaningful over time.
People tune in for us and to hear what we have to say, which is almost bigger than the stories even at this point.
I&T Today: Do you have other projects in the works?
PH: Yes, I am working on something in the book world and really trying to get things cooking, simmering in the TV space.
I&T Today: Where do you see the future of your iconic website?
PH: I see the website continuing to grow and evolve like it has for the last 15 years. I feel so blessed and grateful to still be here and still love what I do. Thank you.
To check out the Yappa comments and Hilton’s official podcast, check out PerezHilton.com.