Black Blogger Month: The YBF, Downloading Dividends

Taking the blogging world by storm with The YBF, Natasha Eubanks breaks news and the bank at the same time

Natasha Eubanks of The YBF

Digital diva Natasha Eubanks (Image: Lonnie Major)

  • Blog: The YBF (Young, Black & Fabulous)
  • Niche: Celebrity Gossip/Entertainment
  • Founder: Natasha Eubanks
  • Twitter: @theybf

When Natasha Eubanks started Young, Black & Fabulous (TheYBF.com) in 2005, it was just a personal blog giving her take on the latest Black celebrity happenings. In the time since then the site has grown into a lucrative venture that attracts more than 14 million page views a month and allowed the young businesswoman to rake in a reported $1.4 million in revenue last year.

Already chosen as one of Black Enterprise’s BE Next entrepreneurs, Eubanks has seen her brand expand into the go-to spot for the latest in gossip, fashion, music and entertainment news on African American stars. For her continued growth in the online space, The YBF founder makes BlackEnterprise.com’s list of 20 digital thought leaders for Black Blogger Month.

I started my blog because…

[Black people] still don’t get the same recognition from other [media outlets] as we should be. We were overlooked in mainstream sites. I started TheYBF.com so we could see our celebrities and we could control the news and what’s out there ourselves.

The YBF stands out because…

It’s coming from a personal standpoint as opposed to a random staff or person writing. People feel like, I know Natasha is writing this so I can relate. Most sites, if you’re talking celeb gossip, we’re all talking about similar things, it’s just all about how you put your spin on it. Whether you’re the cool one, the funny one… I provide personal touch from Natasha’s point of view.

People trust my brand because…

They feel like they’re talking to that friend in their head. I don’t just post anything for attention and hits. I try to check out the gossip and try to get the most accurate information. We go the extra mile to get statements from publicists and from the source.

I realized blogging was a business when…

The YBF Logo

I decided to leave law school, and I knew my parents weren’t going to support me financially anymore. I was a student most of my life. I went from living off an allowance of $200 a month to getting my first $10,000 from an ad. It blew my mind. But in my head, I’ve always had a frugal mindset. I knew that if I needed to live outside the help of my parents, that’s when it was lucrative for me. I was still in school when the money started rolling in, but still lived frugally.

The best piece of business advice I ever got was…

To trust my instincts. Nobody knows your business like you. Don’t be apologetic. I tend to be a people pleaser but when you own a business, that can’t be your priority. You can’t please everyone. Do what’s in the best interest for your business… If you know that there’s a person or company that doesn’t have your best interest at heart or who doesn’t put you first, or it isn’t a great idea to deal with them, you have to be okay with parting ways. I like to have a trusted circle. A person can either make the company or break the company, so be careful with who is on your team or who you’re doing business with.

Networking has helped me to…

Actually, I hate networking. I call it NOTworking. If you’re going to network, you should do it in a fashion where it’s genuine and makes sense for your business instead of going to cocktail events where you won’t even remember someone’s name. That’s a waste. But if you go to a panel or you’re a speaker, or in a focus group, you’re getting benefits and making one-on-one connections, where you can meet people and make real connections—that’s networking.

The First Amendment is…

A grey area, especially for media. When it comes to Internet law, Internet media, it’s such a grey area because it’s so new. There aren’t a lot of concrete laws on what you can or can’t say. If you get taken to court by a celebrity or publicist, there’s almost a greater chance that you’ll win. It’s such an open field, and not much precedence has been set. It’s a double-edged sword

If someone doesn’t like something I post…

I won’t back down. At first, I didn’t understand why people would hate the girl behind the blog. I was never the person out in the forefront. I didn’t understand how all of a sudden I became the subject of blame. I used to put a lot of personal things about me on the site. Now, I just stick to talking about the celebrity. I’ve seen it all and heard it all. With celebrity backlash, anytime someone gets caught cheating, I get told I’m a liar, then two years later it’s made plain and clear who was cheating. Then they see that Natasha was telling the truth.

Anyone that wants to follow in my footsteps should…

Start it without intentions of becoming so big. Be in it for the long haul. The making-money aspect of it is a whole other beast. I work 24-hours, I sleep with my laptop. If you build it they will come. Have a passion for it and be willing to do it for free.

What’s next for The YBF is…

Working to become a household name. I’m working with brand strategists to correctly position myself to do that. I want to do it correctly, whether it’s TV, doing some different things in radio. I just want to expand my brand.

Be sure to check out the rest of the digital thought leaders as they’re revealed each day by logging on to BlackEnterprise.com/BlackBloggerMonth.

Videographer: Melissa Johnson

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