1. Tila Tequila
tila tequilaTila Tequila is the stage name for Tila Nguyen. First gaining popularity as a model for Playboy, Tequila was soon featured in other magazines such as Maxim and Stuff, and begun recording music and putting in appearances on reality shows including VH1’s Surviving Ted Nugent and Identity. On Identity, she claimed to have over one million MySpace friends.
One reality show, A Shot At Love With Tila Tequila, featured twenty contestants (both men and women) vying for Tila’s affections, a mix that caused considerable controversy among conservative Christians. She has gained fame as a force in self-promotion, with her website tilashotspot.com flogging her music, videos, selling photos and even marketing her own fashion line.
2. Perez Hilton
perez hiltonCapitalizing on a seemingly endless public appetite for celebrity gossip, Mario Armando Lavandeira Jr. started blogging under the pseudonym Perez Hilton (taking his nick-name from socialite and professional celebrity Paris Hilton). Rocketing to fame in a matter of months, he soon launched PerezHilton.com, where he claims to receive upwards of eight million page views daily.
Content tends toward the juvenile, but Perez has gained a huge audience by posting celebrity photos with catty comments; some are even adorned by his “doodles” of genetalia, horns, drug remnants or other objects. Controversy surrounds Hilton, not just because of the nature of his comments, but also because of accusations of illegally copying photos from other sites and a habit of “outing” celebrities he suspects of being gay.
3. Beppe Grillo
beppe grilloThe Italian comedian and activist became famous by his political satire. Inside his television shows he would attack directly corrupted politicians and blow financial scandals open. He became so uncomfortable to politicians and business men alike that in the late 80s he was banished from television in Italy
The television ban did not silence Grillo, though. He continued to perform in theaters all over the country, and in 2003 he started the blog BeppeGrillo.it. The success was immediate, and today his blog is among the 10 most popular in the world according to Technorati. What does that mean in numbers? Well, his posts receive over 1,000 comments on average.
Among other brilliant stunts, in 2005 he bought a full page of advertising on a national newspaper, and used it to ask for the regisnation of the governor of Bank of Italy (who was involved in several scandals).
4. Michelle Malkin
michelle malkinMichelle Malkin is a blogger, columnist and political commentator. She makes many guest appearances on radio and television shows like Fox News Channel, but it is perhaps through her blog that she shines the most.
Despite claiming that she “was born and remain an ink-stained wretch,” MichelleMalkin.com is one of the most popular conservative political blogs on the Internet. Her articles are often mentioned on other media outlets, including several mainstream publications, which illustrates the important role that bloggers are taking on the new media landscape.
In 2007 the National Republican Senatorial Committee named Malkin one of the best consersative bloggers on the country. A couple of years ago she also founded the Hot Air broadcast network, following on the success of her blog.
5. Seth Godin
seth godinSeth Godin is a best-selling author and speaker. His blog, among the most popular on the Internet, is focused on how ideas spread and permission marketing. Seth’s marketing ideology describes a powerful consumer that, thanks to the Internet, is not subject to the television monopoly anymore.
Following this ideology he created in 2005 Squidoo, which is a social network where users can share their recommendations or expertise on different topics. It would be difficult to visit any marketing related website without come across a mention to Seth’s ideas.
He is also the co-founder of Yoyodyne, a pioneer online marketing company. Yoyodyne was sold to Yahoo! in 1998, and seth became a VP of Permission Marketing for the search company.
6. Chris Crocker
chris crockerIf you’ve been near a computer recently, chances are you’ve either seen or heard of the infamous “LEAVE BRITNEY ALONE!” videos, the first of which Chris Crocker posted to his MySpace page, while the second went to YouTube. A response to media backlash against Britney Spears, particularly the critical abuse she suffered after her “comeback” performance at the 2007 MTV Music Video Awards.
Crocker’s video featured an over the top performance that rapidly made it one of YouTube’s most viewed clips and gained Crocker instant fame. He appeared on a series of television shows, including various news programs, The Howard Stern Show and Jimmy Kimmel Live and was honored with an award in Wired magazine. “LEAVE BRITNEY ALONE!” has inspired hundreds of parody videos, commentary videos and proved how effective YouTube can be for viral content distribution.
7. Mark Cuban
mark cubanAmerican Billionaire Mark Cuban sold a software reselling business (MicroSolutions) to Compuserve, using the proceeds to fund Broadcast.com, which he sold to Yahoo! for $5.9 billion in Yahoo! stock. Cuban then bought the Dallas Mavericks NBA team.
He remains interested in media distribution and is a strong proponent of high definition video; he is currently Chairman of HDNet and part of 2929 Entertainment, which made news in 2006 by being the first production company to release a movie (Bubble) in theatres and on DVD simultaneously. Cuban’s blogmaverick.com gives him the pulpit to reach the masses on topics close to his heart, including video, TV and The Mavericks.
8. Scott Adams
scott adamsCartoonist Scott Adams hit a nerve with Dilbert, his widely-syndicated cartoon about white collar workers toiling in a cubicle farm, based on his own experience working in high tech firms.
Among the popular cultural terms spawned by Dilbert are “Pointy Haired Boss” and “Nerdvana.” dilbert.com has grown into a destination site with daily cartoon strips and additional content including Dilbert widgets, animation and mashups. Taking advantage of Web 2.0 social aspects, readers vote on and rank comic strips.
Adams’ blog dilbertblog.typepad.com is separate from the Dilbert comic empire and allows Adams to exercise his acerbic wit on a wide range of topics from the political to environmental and pop culture.
9. Eric Schmidt
eric schmidtVoted by PC Magazine as first on its list of the 50 Most Important People on the Web (along with fellow Google executives Larry Page and Sergey Brin), Dr. Eric Schmidt has a very long and influential career in the technology industry. Companies he has held prominent positions with include Sun Microsystems (CTO and leader of JAVA development) and Novell (CEO).
In 2001 he was hired as Chairman of the Board and CEO of Google. In addition, Schmidt joined Apple’s Board of Directors in 2006, making him a significant part of two of the most influential technology companies around. Schmidt has helped Google to continue its rapid growth, making him one of the richest men in the world.
10. Larry Page
larry pageOne of the two founders of Google, Larry Page helped design the original Google search engine and was the company’s first CEO.
As Google began to grow into something much more ambitious, Page moved out of the CEO role (which was filled by technology veteran Eric Schmidt), taking on the position of President, Products.
Together with Schmidt and co-founder Sergey Brin, Page is responsible for the day-to-day operations of Google, a company which now employs over 10,000 people worldwide. Along with Brin and Schmidt, Page was named by PC Magazine as first on its list of the 50 Most Important People on the Web.