Nicholas Butterworth's New New Thing

LOCKHART STEELE — Internet industry life in New York City is different than in the Valley. People here don't listen to podcasts not produced by NPR, and they don't read Scoble. (If they do either, they aren't admitting it.) And the sine qua non press hit for your new webtacular isn't a TechCrunch profile; it's a story in the Times' Sunday Styles section. Which is why a Styles piece last March by reporter Warren St. John was probably a happy occurrence for Nicholas Butterworth, the former MTVi CEO and Silicon Alley Reporter coverboy, who, like many from Alley 1.0, was suddenly back at the table, buying back in:

''Everything is cranking up,'' said Butterworth. ''There is definitely something in the air. It's not exactly the same as it was the first time around, but it's got some of that same spirit.''... Mr. Butterworth, a founder of the online music site SonicNet back in the day, is soon to move into an office at the Broad Street incubator. Sounding very 1995, he declined to discuss his new venture on the grounds that he is in stealth mode.
But like all stealth modes, Butterworth's had to end.

After initially hinting that he was working on some sort of blog network, Butterworth and colleagues at his new firm, Diversion Media, launched Travelistic in late October. The site is billed as a YouTube for travel videos, with, one assumes, all the good and bad that concept brings immediately to mind.

Butterworth, as is the fashion these days, is blogging about his new company. In the last few weeks, he's noted that Bear Stearns analyst Spencer Wang's widely circulated Powerpoint endorses Diversion's business model, and jokingly urged his old Alley friend Jason Calacanis not to start a "Weblogs, Inc. of video"—presumably because it competes with the stated goal of Diversion (to wit, from a recent press release, "Diversion... a New York-based publisher of video destination sites for niche consumer audiences... plans to launch several additional sites in 2007, leveraging its proprietary platform and shared infrastructure to rapidly deploy compelling, engaging user experiences in robustly profitable niches." By the by, anyone else find it charming that they still use PRNewswire? Not to mention phrases like "robustly profitable niches"?)

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All well and good — well, except for the traffic to Butterworth's Travelistic, which after a nice launch spike has been on the wane (blah standard Alexa disclaimers blah):

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Nicholas Butterworth's New New Thing

Perhaps that's a reason why Travelistic is already moving beyond the strict user-created model and nabbing professional video personalities for the site. This month, they've imported a cute reporter, Liza de Guia, from a local Hamptons TV station, and they're sending her to, er, the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas next month. Okay, and the Virgin Islands. Which maybe, if we're pressed, we'll admit we might even watch, if we don't have to admit that to anyone.

Travelistic [travelistic.com]
Diversion Blog [diversionblog.com]
Former Plum TV Star to Anchor Travelistic's First Original, Web-Only Travel Show [PRNewswire]
Alive and Well in Silicon Alley [Times Select]