Thought Catalog

Last updated

Thought Catalog
Type of site
Contributor weblog
Available in English
FoundedFebruary 2010 (2010-02)
190 North 10th Street
Brooklyn, New York 11211
Area servedWorldwide
OwnerThe Thought & Expression Co.
Founder(s) Chris Lavergne
Key peopleChris Lavergne
Advertising Yes
LaunchedFebruary 1, 2010;13 years ago (2010-02-01)
Current statusActive

Thought Catalog is a website founded in 2010 by American entrepreneur and media strategist Chris Lavergne. [1] Owned by The Thought & Expression Company, the site attracts 6.6 million monthly unique visitors. [2]


The site's founder, Chris Lavergne, registered the domain name in 2008, and began working on the site while a marketing strategist at Warner Bros. Records. [3] Thought Catalog started publishing on February 1, 2010. [4] By 2012, Thought Catalog was attracting 2.5 million unique visitors per month, and began to attract many millennial readers, with nearly three-quarters of the site's audience falling into the 21- to 34-year-old demographic. [3]

The site is based on a semi-open model, employing staff and freelance writers while also taking submissions for publication. [3] [5] Thought Catalog receives between 100 and 500 pieces a day via the submission form. [6]

In July 2014 Thought Catalog was drawing more than 34 million unique visitors per month, with much of the traffic due to social sharing. [7]

Thought Catalog earns revenue from branded content and banner ads, with the Wall Street Journal featuring the site on its list of "Sponsored Content That Buzzed In 2014." [8] [9]

Thought Catalog’s founder, Chris Lavergne, was named to Forbes "30 Under 30" list in 2014. [10]


Thought Catalog launched Thought Catalog Books with four original e-books priced from $2.99 to $4.99. [11] As of June 2015, the imprint accepts manuscripts from their active contributors and from unaffiliated authors, some with agents, some without. [12] They publish both eBooks and print books. In September 2014, Thought Catalog Books and UTA sold the rights to The Tracking of a Russian Spy, by Mitch Swenson, to StudioCanal. [13] The imprint published Prozac Nation author Elizabeth Wurtzel’s book Creatocracy in early 2015. [14] [15]


Thought Catalog’s content, which includes listicles, essays, and think pieces, has been noted for its "millennial" voice. [2] [16] Many well-known authors have contributed to the site including Simon Critchley, Elizabeth Wurtzel, Tao Lin, Nick Mullen, Robert Greene, James Altucher, Mélanie Berliet, Gavin McInnes and Tim Ferriss, in addition to previously unpublished essayists. [6] [17] [18] [19] [20] These entailed co-publisher Brandon Scott Gorrell, conversational columnist Chelsea Fagan, technology and gaming writer Josh Liburdi, and Avery Hopwood Award-Winning Poet Jennifer Sussex.

Early on, the site was known for publishing alternative literature, with Tao Lin as a regular contributor. [16] Later, it became associated with a personal, confessional style. [21] The ambiance between Fagan and Lin was particularly entertaining for fans, while Gorrell composed a majority of the more serious, lengthier essays.

It reflected initial debates on protests against educational funding with the tragic and unfortunate result that higher-education used students' lives as exploitative teaching moments without regard to their psychological well-being, aptitude for coursework, or access to legal defense. Many such writers who attempted to outline the subprime mortgage crisis and student debt bubble were blacklisted.

At the time, Lavergne and Lin drew accolade for hosting a platform that featured all voices rather than the establishment. For emerging writers unaffiliated with Vice or self-publishing entities and those alienated from academic institutions, Thought Catalog was representative and reminiscent of zines like Up is Up and Down is Down and earlier New York pop scenes.

Disputes remain as to intellectual property regarding the only author allowed to publish a novel. The fortunate Thought Catalog alumni have sought employment in the technology sector or moved on to the world of publishing.

After heavy promotion by regular contributors and guest contributors, Thought Catalog reached mainstream millennial audiences. Despite the aspirations of Joycean prose and Dickensian length essays with writers forced to demonstrate craft to overcome institutional bias, the predominant style was indeed akin to confessional poetry. In a time when American millennials could self-publish on social media, the need for stratification into professional spheres arose.

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  1. Newton, Matthew Thought Catalog And The New Age Of Confessional Media Forbes. June 7, 2015
  2. 1 2 SimilarWeb SimilarWeb. 2023
  3. 1 2 3 Weissman, Saya Thought Catalog Wants to Capture the Millennial Moment Digiday . June 8, 2015
  4. The Thought & Expression Co. June 7, 2015
  5. SUBMISSIONS Thought Catalog. June 8, 2015
  6. 1 2 Schonfeld, Zach Thought Catalog’s Reckoning Newsweek. June 8, 2015
  7. Marikar, Sheila On the Nice Internet, Caring Is Sharing New York Times. June 6, 2015
  8. Geron, Tomio Sharethrough's Sponsored Videos Bringing Branded Content To Websites, Apps Forbes. June 8, 2015
  9. Marshall, Jack Sponsored Content That Buzzed in 2014 Wall Street Journal. June 6, 2015
  10. 2014 30 Under 30: Media Forbes. June 8, 2015
  11. Weissman, Saya Thought Catalog Tries E-Books Digiday . June 8, 2015
  12. "Thought Catalog Books F.A.Q." October 8, 2014.
  13. Fleming Jr., Mike Newbie Picture Company On The Case For ‘Tracking Of A Russian Spy’ Deadline. June 6, 2015
  14. Donnelly, Elisabeth Elizabeth Wurtzel Is Publishing Her Next Book, ‘Creatocracy,’ With Thought Catalog Flavorwire. June 8, 2015
  16. 1 2 Herrera, Tim Inside the contradictory world of Thought Catalog, one of the Internet’s most reviled sites Washington Post. June 8, 2015
  17. Simon Critchley Thought Catalog. June 8, 2015
  18. Robert Greene Thought Catalog. June 8, 2015
  19. Tim Ferriss Thought Catalog. June 8, 2015
  20. James Altucher Thought Catalog. June 8, 2015
  21. Hasan, Heba Too Sincere for the Internet? How the Web Journal Thought Catalog Sparked an Online Firestorm TIME. June 8, 2015