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Type of businessPrivate
Type of site
News and entertainment
Available inEnglish
FoundedMarch 14, 2012; 9 years ago (2012-03-14)[1]
HeadquartersLos Angeles, California,
United States
OwnerGood Worldwide
Founder(s)Eli Pariser and Peter Koechley
CEOMax Schorr
Current statusActive

Upworthy is a website dedicated to positive storytelling. It was started in March 2012 by Eli Pariser, the former executive director of MoveOn, and Peter Koechley, the former managing editor of The Onion. One of Facebook's co-founders, Chris Hughes, was an early investor. In 2017, the company was acquired by Good Worldwide. Between the two platforms, they reached 100MM people a month.[2][3][4][5][6][7]

Upworthy's stated mission is "to change what the world pays attention to."[8]


In June 2013, an article in Fast Company called Upworthy "the fastest growing media site of all time".[9]

In August 2013 the site became the first "non-traditional" site to feature in NewsWhip's Top Ten Publisher Rankings, in fifth place.[10] By November 2013 they were the third most social publisher on Facebook, despite their low article count.[11]

The site popularized a style of two-phrase headlines.[12] It has been criticized for its use of overly sensationalized, emotionally manipulative, "clickbait" style, headlines as well as having a liberal bias, and simplifying issues that are controversial by nature.[13][14][15][16][17]

Since 2015, under the site's new editorial director, Amy O'Leary (who joined the site from The New York Times in February, 2015) it has been focussing more on producing original content, rather than aggregating third-party content. This resulted in six of its staff being laid off as well as new staff being hired.[18][19]

Upworthy was accused of laying off one round of writers in 2015, and another in 2016, after a unionization effort by some of the staff. The union involved, the Writers Guild of America, East, has organized several online "viral" news publishers.[20]

In January 2017, Upworthy was acquired by Good Worldwide, a company that similarly focused on spreading progressive messages through their websites such as good.is. The newsrooms of the two organizations would merge as part of the acquisition. About 20 staffers were laid off as part of the merger.[6] An October 2017 article in AdExchanger described the merger as successful in helping the joint entity achieve profitability.[7]


Upworthy has been through two rounds of funding. In October 2012 it raised $4 million from New Enterprise Associates and other angel investors, including BuzzFeed co-founder John Johnson, Facebook co-founder and New Republic owner Chris Hughes, and Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian.[21]


Upworthy writers and video staff produce daily stories, which are distributed on social media. Topics include "Being a Better Human," "Citizenship & Democracy," "Culture," "Identities," and "Science & Technology."


In November 2013, Upworthy hit a high of over 80 million unique visitors for the month. However, in early 2014 it had fallen to roughly 20 million unique visitors.[22] As of December 2014, Upworthy's mission statement says it engages a total of about 50 million people each month.[23]

As of October 2016, Upworthy's YouTube channel has 157,370 subscribers and has had over 10 million views. By October 2018 the channel had 163,154 subscribers and over 14 million views.[24]


Upworthy has been labeled a "clickbait shop"; however, for two years Upworthy did not monetize clicks through display advertising. The company began making money in April 2014 with the announcement of Upworthy Collaborations.[25]

As of 2016, Upworthy also relies on traditional advertising with AdSense.

Upworthy Collaborations is a name given to Upworthy's advertising partnerships with corporations. It includes native ads, and articles that its advertising partners underwrite.[26][27] It is selective with the organizations it collaborates with and states that "We draw a line on greenwashing".[28] Upworthy states that it wishes to work with corporations who have a common mission and similar values. Peter Koechley said on the topic: "We won't take an ad from Exxon claiming to be good for the environment, but Skype claiming they help people communicate--that seems about right".[27][29] It has attracted prominent brands such as Unilever, Skype, CoverGirl, and charities such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.[26][30][31][32]

See also


  1. ^ "UpWorthy.com WHOIS, DNS, & Domain Info - DomainTools". WHOIS. Retrieved .
  2. ^ Carr, David (March 26, 2012), "New Site Wants to Make the Serious as Viral as the Shallow", The New York Times, retrieved 2012
  3. ^ Pilkington, Ed (March 26, 2012), "New media gurus launch Upworthy - their 'super-basic' internet start-up", The Guardian, retrieved 2012
  4. ^ Gannes, Liz (March 26, 2012), Viral With a Purpose? Upworthy Finds Serious Web Content Worth Sharing., AllThingsD, retrieved 2012
  5. ^ "The woman behind Upworthy's viral explosion". Archived from the original on 24 January 2014. Retrieved 2014.
  6. ^ a b Sutton, Kelsey (January 27, 2017). "Upworthy to merge with Good Worldwide, newsrooms to consolidate. About 20 staffers were laid off as part of the merger". Politico. Retrieved 2019.
  7. ^ a b Sluis, Sarah (October 16, 2017). "Post-Merger Profitability: Upworthy and Good's Happy Marriage". AdExchanger. Retrieved 2019.
  8. ^ http://www.upworthy.com/about
  9. ^ "How Upworthy Used Emotional Data To Become The Fastest Growing Media Site of All Time". Fast Company. Retrieved 2015.
  10. ^ Corcoran, Liam. "Top Social Publishers August 2013: Sharing way up for all publishers, and BuzzFeed on Top". blog.newswhip.com. NewsWhip. Retrieved 2014.
  11. ^ Corcoran, Liam. "Top Social Publishers 2013". blog.newswhip.com. NewsWhip. Retrieved 2014.
  12. ^ "Why Are Upworthy Headlines Suddenly Everywhere?". The Atlantic. Retrieved 2015.
  13. ^ Kaufman, Leslie (14 October 2013), "Viral Content with a Liberal Bent", The New York Times, retrieved 2014
  14. ^ James Ball. "Read this to find out how Upworthy's awful headlines changed the web". the Guardian. Retrieved 2015.
  15. ^ "Create Your Own Overly Emotional, Click-Baiting Headline With the Upworthy Generator". AdWeek. Retrieved 2015.
  16. ^ "Upworthy Used to Have Huge Traffic. What Happened Next Will Blow Your Mind". TechnologyTell. 2014-02-11. Retrieved .
  17. ^ Christopher Zara (11 December 2013). "The Rise Of Clickbait Spoilers: Bloggers Expose What's Behind Upworthy's Histrionic Headlines". International Business Times. Retrieved 2015.
  18. ^ "New York Times' Amy O'Leary to join Upworthy as editorial director". capitalnewyork.com. Retrieved 2015.
  19. ^ "Once the web's fastest growing aggregator, Upworthy pivots". capitalnewyork.com. Retrieved 2015.
  20. ^ "Report: Upworthy's Lefty Owners Scared Employees Out of Unionization".
  21. ^ "Upworthy Raises $4M for Aggregating Virals That Aren't Cat Videos - Liz Gannes - Media - AllThingsD". AllThingsD. Retrieved 2014.
  22. ^ Mathew Ingram (18 February 2014). "Reality check: No, Upworthy's traffic didn't get crushed by Facebook's algorithm change". GigaOm. Retrieved 2016.
  23. ^ "About Us". Upworthy: Things that matter. Pass 'em on. Retrieved 2014.
  24. ^ "Upworthy". YouTube. Retrieved 2018.
  25. ^ "Upworthy's Sponsored Posts Are Crushing Their Regular Editorial. Here's Why". Retrieved 2014.
  26. ^ a b "Upworthy Wants to Run Native Ads that Make You Feel Good - Special: Digital Conference - Advertising Age". 1 April 2014. Retrieved 2014.
  27. ^ a b "Our Mission Is Huge. Here's How We're Building The... - Upworthy Insider". Upworthy Insider. Retrieved 2014.
  28. ^ "About Paid Content". Upworthy: Things that matter. Pass 'em on. Retrieved 2014.
  29. ^ "Viral Content With a Liberal Bent". The New York Times. 14 October 2013.
  30. ^ "All 7 Billion". Upworthy: Things that matter. Pass 'em on. Retrieved 2014.
  31. ^ Derek Thompson (14 November 2013). "Upworthy: I Thought This Website Was Crazy, but What Happened Next Changed Everything". The Atlantic. Retrieved 2014.
  32. ^ "How Upworthy gets its branded content to outperform editorial". Digiday. Retrieved 2014.

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