Real Estate Bloggers’ Holiday Party: ‘Groupies!’ ‘Hangers-On!’… ‘How Do You Pay for This?’

The creators of real estate blogs like Curbed, Brownstoner, and Apartment Therapy hosted their second annual Design Blogfest holiday party at the Henrybuilt furniture store at 79 Wooster Street on Thursday night.

“Last year we promoted the hell out of the party on our blog,” said Lockhart Steele, the creator of Curbed. “We had 400 people in a tiny room like this.”

A couple of dozen family, friends, “hangers-on and groupies” showed up Thursday, Mr. Steele joked.

Five years ago none of the five bloggers attending the party knew each other, but since the medium began to explode, an informal, uncoordinated “blogger ecosystem” has emerged, explained Maxwell Gillingham-Ryan, the co-founder of Apartment Therapy. “When we all met [around 2003] starting a blog was like living in a small town; they linked to you, you linked to them, then eventually we said, ‘Hey, let’s get a drink,’" he said.

Harry Wakefield, the creator of the contemporary-design blog MoCo Loco, brought the bloggers together for the first time to suggest they share an ad-sales rep. The idea never panned out, but since then they meet at least once a year to talk shop.

“We realized we all had the same problems… How do you pay for this? All of us had other jobs but were spending all of our time blogging," Mr. Gillingham-Ryan said. "Blogging is still new and the rules are still evolving, so getting together and looking at each others’ stats is so helpful–figuring out how to promote, cross link, do well in Google. Right now there are more questions than answers.”

All of the bloggers have obviously found some answers to these questions, since they all have quit their day jobs. Graham Hill sold to the Discovery Channel for $10 million last August.

One of the relative latecomers to blogging, Jonathan Butler, a.k.a. Brownstoner, wants to keep his blog personal. Mr. Butler was still working on Wall Street until last February and did not even move to Brooklyn, the subject of his blog, until 2003.

“Part of me secretly hopes no one offers me enough money because I don’t want to sell,” Mr Butler said. “My blog is so connected to me personally that people call me Brownstoner"–Mr. Butler mimicked quotation marks with his fingers–"and I can still see myself being Brownstowner in 20 years." Real Estate Bloggers’ Holiday Party: ‘Groupies!’ ‘Hangers-On!’… ‘How Do You Pay for This?’