According to a recent New York Times profile, actress-turned-wellness-firebrand Gwyneth Paltrow’s oft-clowned, always insane website, Goop, is now worth $250 million – and thanks in large part to the haters.
Started as a newsletter with recipes, the Times exhaustively (and entertainingly) chronicles how the endeavor soon spiraled into the multi-vertical, product-schilling beast it is today — and how each iteration was less self and culturally aware than the one before it.
And, as she hawked goods with progressively more offensive price tags, and extolled the virtues of more dubiously developed treatments, the levels of scrutiny and criticism rose.
As the Times notes, in 2016, Paltrow was the target of a Council of Better Business Bureau inquiry and last summer she drew the ire of a watchdog organization who took issue with her website’s apparent allergy to fact-checking.
Elsewhere, “a [columnist,] gynecologist and obstetrician in San Francisco named Jen Gunter… criticized Goop in about 30 blog posts on her website since 2015.” There have also been Jezebel posts, Slate stories and more, all devoted to tearing down the myth of Goop.
But as the writer, Taffy Brodesser-Akner, notes, whenever an impassioned rebuke was issued, “something strange happened. Each of these pronouncements set off a series of blog posts and articles and tweets that linked directly to the site, driving up traffic.”
Those traffic numbers inevitably attracted new Goop fiends, and as of June, the story reported, the site was pulling in “2.4 million unique visitors to the site per month.”
Like some sort of home and wellness Sith Lord, “Goop had learned to do a special kind of dark art: to corral the vitriol of the internet and the ever-present shall we call it cultural ambivalence about G.P. herself and turn them into cash.”
Huh, Americans popularizing and rewarding a lie-spewing narcissist. That’s so unlike us.
You can read (a lot) more about it at The New York Times.