Another Banner Year for LatinoRebels.com

2013 was another fantastic year for LatinoRebels.com.

Latino Rebel

Here are just some of the highlights:

Our Best Year Ever

  • From January 1, 2013 to December 29, 2013, LatinoRebels.com had 1,092,188 visits, 875,638 unique visitors and 1,423,449 pageviews. Compared to 2012, LatinoRebels.com saw a 78% increase in visits (481,089 more visits in 2013 than in 2012), an 84% percent increase in unique visitors (400,691 more unique visitors in 2013 than in 2012) and an 67% increase in pageviews (570,661 more pageviews in 2013 than 2012).
  • Since LatinoRebels.com launched on May 5, 2011, the site has seen 1,769,632 visits, 1,395,420 unique visitors and 2,366,295 pageviews. Our 2013 traffic accounted for 62% of all the page’s overall visits, 63% of the site’s total unique visitors and 60% of all total pageviews.
  • Our December 29, 2013 Alexa ranking is 60,620 in the United States and 265,798 in the world, making us one of the top independent Latino media sites in the world. You can check it for yourself.

Our Top Stories of the Year

  1. MUST WATCH VIDEO: Diego Luna Teaches Conan About #NoMames: 62,618 views
  2. UT’s Young Conservatives Hosting “Catch an Illegal Immigrant” Game: 55,897 views
  3. Video of Brazilian Police Sitting Down with #ChangeBrazil Demonstrators Goes Viral: 25,642 views
  4. Twitter Goes Ballistic About Mexican American Boy Singing National Anthem at NBA Finals: 14,936 views
  5. Why Is Urban Outfitters Hawking the UFW Logo on a Denim Shirt?: 10,622 views
  6. “God Made a Farmer” Super Bowl Commercial Celebrates Farmers, Yet Ignores Reality: 9,688 views
  7. Now The Twitter Ignoranti Hating on Pitbull… And We’re Defending Him: 9,075 views
  8. Dominican Govt Official’s Email to Junot Díaz: You’re a “Fake and Overrated Pseudo Intellectual” Who Needs to Speak Spanish Better: 9,054 views
  9. ICE Raids Home of DREAMer Activist Leader Erika Andiola: 8,310 views
  10. When You Are Not Latin@ Enough: The Sad Case of Jakiyah McKoy, Little Miss Hispanic Delaware: 7,797 views

Our Top Contributors of the Year

Where Our Stories Were Featured/Linked (Partial List)

Our group was also featured in a lengthy interview on NPR. There was a also a very cool profile about our founder here from Poder magazine as well as another one from Fusion that was not as good nor accurate. Nonetheless, we say, “¡GRACIAS A TODOS! THANK YOU, EVERYONE!” 2013 was a fantastic year and we are very excited for 2014.

And as for the haters? Here’s our answer to you all, especially the anonymous ones.

Stay Rebelde, familia. Your support for this page and this community is beyond amazing. We will continue to independently produce the content we want to produce, content that reflects the bilingual, bicultural world we live in.

Latino Rebels Featured on NPR

This week NPR’s Tell Me More invited Latino Rebels founder @julito77 to talk about about Latino Rebels.

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Here is the full interview with Celeste Headlee. You can also visit the show link. We still have no idea why he quoted “High School Musical” and the whole “Saludos” thing? Ayy, jefe.


You can read the whole transcript here.

Listen to Our Founder’s Really Strong Boricua Accent on Telemundo Austin

Yesterday our founder @julito77 appeared on Telemundo Austin to discuss the whole Disney “Día de los Muertos” trademark fiasco. The interview was done via Skype from Latino Rebels HQ in the Boston area.

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Yeah, Julito has a wicked strong Puerto Rican accent. Watch.

Rebels Nominated for Three Social Revolución at SXSWi Awards: VOTE HERE

Latino Rebels received three nominations this year for the 2013 Social Revolución at SXSWi awards. As a proud Ally of the event (see the video we did below with our friends from Cuéntame), we think the Social Revolución represents all that is good about the Latino digital space. We congratulate all the nominees, but since part of the process involves getting as many likes from our supporters as possible, we are shamelessly asking you that you take a minute and just click on the links below or on each nominee’s image to vote for the Rebels. Or you can just LIKE Latino Rebels, Julito, and Charlie right now. Voting ends on February 25.

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To vote for Latino Rebels, you can click here or just click on the image below. This will take you to a Facebook link, and all you need to do is click LIKE. If you want, you can also SHARE the post with your Facebook friends after you clicked LIKE.

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To vote for Julio Ricardo Varela, our founder, you can click here or just click on Julito’s image.
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And to vote for Charlie García, one of our newest Rebeldes, you can click here or just click on Charlie’s image.
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Thanks for your support! Don’t forget: click here for Latino Rebels, here for Julito, and here for Charlie.

VIDEO: My Bizarre Live Appearance on Colombian Radio About “Modern Family”

This morning I was contacted by Colombia’s W Radio to make a live appearance on its morning show. The topic? A piece the Rebels wrote about the “Fulgencio” episode which aired last week on ABC’s “Modern Family.”

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I said yes, and within five minutes of agreeing to talk, the show had me on live to discuss the issue. From the very beginning, it was obvious that the show’s host was trying to let Colombia know that I was “offended” by Sofia Vergara. He was so unprepared. Quite frankly, it caught me off guard, but I plowed through. Here is the interview in Spanish.

For those who need an English synopsis of the segment, after clarifying that our page’s post (written as an editorial by our group) was not some attack on Vergara or “Modern Family,” but instead a critique of the “Fulgencio” episode, I took a breath and did my best to state my case. I did find it quite funny that the show’s co-hosts didn’t even read the original piece or even saw the episode in question.

I also tried to make the case that the “Fulgencio” episode crossed the line in portraying Colombian characters in a negative light, with jokes about giving guns as baptism gifts and asking where the river was to do the laundry. The episode speaks to a bigger issue of how many in the U.S. entertainment industry continue to perpetuate negative stereotypes of Latinos in mass media. Self-deprecating humor (you go, Al Madrigal!) is one thing, bad stereotypical humor when there are very few opportunities to balance out the episodes like “Fulgencio” are not.

By the way, I felt the host wanted to trap me into saying something that we didn’t write in this episode. “Modern Family” chose to turn Vergara’s character into a Charo-like persona that is stale and lame. I know so many of my friends who don’t even watch the show because of it. If a major show like “Modern Family” misses the mark, then I have no problem saying it. And by the way, I am not the only person making this observation.

The episode was disappointing but if the W Radio hosts think that this is good for U.S. TV, I really don’t care. I will continue to ask networks to offer a greater variety of programming that tries to dig deeper into showing more positive images of Latino characters. “Modern Family” failed with the “Fulgencio” episode, and our group already stated our reasons. Sorry, W Radio, if you don’t agree. You can promote the stereotypes and we will try to change the paradigm. Just don’t put words into my mouth minutes in a live interview. And next time, watch the episode and do some more homework about what the group wrote. This is not about “offense.” This is about saying that networks should get a clue about when they don’t get it right.

***

Julio (Julito) Ricardo Varela (@julito77 on Twitter) founded LatinoRebels.com (part of Latino Rebels, LLC) in May, 2011 and proceeded to open it up to about 20 like-minded Rebeldes. His personal blog, juliorvarela.com, has been active since 2008 and is widely read in Puerto Rico and beyond. He is also a weekly contributor to NBC Latino. Recently, Julito represented the Rebeldes on CBS’ Face the NationNPR, and The New York Times.

AUDIO: Latino Rebels Founder @julito77 on WGBH’s Boston Public Radio

2012 was certainly a turning point for the Latino Rebels. The year began with a little bit of luck, which led to spectacular growth, a highly engaged social media community, and 50+ Rebelde stories being picked up by global and national media outlets. Yesterday our founder @julito77 had a chance to talk about the history and the future of the Rebeldes with WGBH’s Boston Public Radio, one of the country’s premiere NPR radio stations.

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Here is the entire 30-minute interview with host Marcela García (who rocks, by the way) and Julito (click here). We hope you like Julito’s “NPR” voice.

And many thanks to our newest Rebelde, Charlie García, for sharing the interview with his Twitter stream. The following tweet got over 4,000 RTs and was favorited over 4,000 times as well.

 

Luis Fortuño Loses… And Puerto Rico Wins

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED AT JULIORVARELA.COM

Last night the island of Puerto Rico experienced a historic election. Not only did Puerto Ricans go to the polls to vote for Governor, Resident Commissioner, and other legislative positions, they also voted in yet another non-binding plebiscite that tried to determine whether Puerto Ricans favored its current commonwealth relationship with the United States, and if not, whether it favored statehood, independence, or associated free state.

The biggest news of the night was that Republican pro-statehood incumbent governor Luis Fortuño of the island's New Progressive Party (PNP) lost his re-election bid to Alejandro García Padilla, the Democratic pro-commonwealth challenger of the island's Popular Democratic Party (PPD). The independence candidate, Juan Dalmau, as well as the other third-party candidates, didn't even play a role in the tally, which is still being counted. The following screen shot showed the latest results as of this morning, with over 96% of the precincts reporting. The Fortuño loss confirmed what many Puerto Ricans had said all along: his policies and personality were too polarizing. While he was being praised by FOX News for being a new Latino conservative, Fortuño could not break away from his critics and detractors. Double-digit unemployment and a consensus that Puerto Rico was heading in the wrong direction, a Gasoducto project gone bad, and the Ley 7 protests gave García Padilla the little boost he needed.

Of course, it wasn't a landslide and with pro-statehood Democrat PNPer Pedro Pierluisi winning his re-election bid for Resident Commissioner, the Fortuño loss is not a clear mandate for García Padilla. He is going to have to work with the PNP since the role of Resident Commissioner (the island's non-voting member in Congress) is seen as the island's second-in-command. Pierluisi is Puerto Rico's Washington voice and the uneasy alliance between the PPD and PNP will be interesting to watch, to say the least.

Yet I will argue that this is all a good thing for Puerto Rico, since no matter what García Padilla or the PPD are saying today, the island's formal Washington-San Juan relationship is now a bipartisan status  issue (it doesn't hurt that both García Padilla and Pierluisi are Democrats). And given the results of the plebiscite, that is a good thing. A really good thing. Which brings us to the status questions, and why in the end, Puerto Rico wins. Here are the latest results. Question 1 basically asked if Puerto Ricans prefer to keep the status quo (commonwealth) or reject. The status quo was rejected. (FYI, there were over 64,000 blank votes, more to come on that.)

García Padilla, Puerto Rico's governor-elect, favored a YES vote. He lost. When it came to what options Puerto Ricans favored (statehood, independence, free associated state), here are the latest results:

Statehood was what Fortuño favored, and so did Pierluisi. So in essence, Fortuño won this one. However, it gets complicated when one takes into account that over 468,000 votes (so far) were blank for this category, which is the strategy García Padilla declared. Because a blank vote meant that you were voting for the status quo, which by the way was already rejected in Question 1. Therefore if you take into the account the blank votes, here is where it stands:

Let's face it, García Padilla made a strategic mistake on his part, and that is actually great thing for Puerto Rico. Here is why: Question 1 basically said NO to the status quo, which is what García Padilla favored. Question 2, which only listed three options (BLANK was not an option), made statehood the winner. As uncomfortable as that makes García Padilla today, the reality is that political games that telling people not to vote backfired.

Voting BLANK doesn't count. It doesn't mean anything. It just means BLANK. It means you didn't want to vote or even provide an honest choice, especially since Question 1 already rejected the status quo or the BLANK people were trying to defend in Question 2.

If the PPD were smart and savvy about Question 2 and if they wanted to have statehood lose the vote, they should have pushed for either independence or associated free state, or they would have initiated a real write-in campaign for the status quo. But they didn't, and this morning they are left defending a political system that around 1 million Puerto Ricans don't want and a status option the PPD can't support. Already, García Padilla has lost control of the status agenda. He will be forced to resolve it by engaging those who favor other options.

So governor-elect García Padilla needs to be careful right now. He cannot start his administration by refuting and ignoring the results of the plebiscite. He will be making a huge mistake in putting the political history of the PPD ahead of a vote that clearly says that the status quo must change. I am not suggesting that García Padilla should all of a sudden push for statehood, but what he SHOULD do his first day in office in tell Pierluisi to demand that Congress move the process on resolving Puerto Rico's political status. Staying stuck in the past will keep the island in neutral and eventually going backwards, instead of doing the right thing and putting the people over one political party's stubborn preference.

Many Puerto Ricans will criticize Fortuño, and those criticisms have merit, but Fortuño should be commended for establishing a plebiscite process that rejected the status quo and initiated a real tangible dialogue about where Puerto Rico goes next. García Padilla, if he is smart enough, could actually go down as the Governor who finally moved the needle on the island's status and resolved it. He can also thank Fortuño for that because that is why leaders do: sacrifice politics for the greater good, even if it means losing your own election. 

Now for a different take on this, read what my dear friend Gil the Genius has to say about it. This time around, we follow different paths about yesterday's results and come to the same conclusions: we need more "adults" in Puerto Rican politics. The PPD leadership missed a huge opportunity to be "adults" and to clarify the plebiscite question by actually fully participating in it, instead of trying to be clever about it. Being clever is the old way. Being honest about where Puerto Rico goes next is the new way. Here is to the new way. It will win.

***

Julio (Julito) Ricardo Varela (@julito77 on Twitter) founded LatinoRebels.com (part of Latino Rebels, LLC) in May, 2011 and proceeded to open it up to about 20 like-minded Rebeldes. His personal blog, juliorvarela.com, has been active since 2008 and is widely read in Puerto Rico and beyond. He pens columns on LR regularly. This year, Julito represented the Rebeldes on CBS' Face the NationNPR,  UnivisionForbesand The New York Times.

Fellow Latino Bloggers: Don’t Settle for Mediocrity

UPDATE, October 25, 2012: As I suspected, although the vast majority of private and public responses I have received for this piece has been very positive, I have also been criticized by some for linking to some of the blog posts that didn't clearly reveal that what they were writing was a sponsored post. Since my original intent was to just start a dialogue about the bigger issues here (Latino stereotypes in media and how influential blogs need to be more responsible) and not call out these blogs, I have removed the links of the blog posts here. This is not what this is all about. To those blogs who got upset at me, my apologies. I am just wishing for a more open dialogue about this, and that is why I wrote the following piece on my personal blog here. Thanks.

I normally do don't video blogs, but I felt I had to do one after contributing to the Rebeldes MundoFox piece about how its primetime programming is only perpetuating the same old Latino stereotypes (criminals and drug kingpins) in the name of new "original" programming. I also felt pretty strongly that there are way too many Latino blogs out there that are writing sponsored reviews about MundoFox's new "CORAZONES BLINDADOS" and promoting a cop show from Colombia as a potential crossover Latino hit with US Latino viewers. I find it hard to believe that these blogs are being honest and sincere in their reviews, and quite frankly, I think it is a mistake to mislead readers.

Instead of writing more about this issue, I shared my thoughts via video. 

Now, I could list the blogs and show examples of how the content that is being shared is extremely similar across different posts, but I won't. I understand that some brands and blogs will always follow this rather mediocre (and some would say, unethical) practice. There is always a constant pressure to monetize your blogs, and we get that, but at what price is money more important that your integrity?

The issue is that if bloggers allow for brands to take over their blogs, then where do the independent voices go?

Why is there this feeling that do we as bloggers NEED brands? We don't need brands. Brands need US.

We need to challenge brands, tell them to raise the bar, and if we find instances where there are missing the market reality, let's not use our platform to just become bloggers that say YES to these mistakes. In the case of MundoFox, the bloggers who one day are bemoaning Latino stereotypes in media but are now pushing these very same stereotypes because a brand is feeding them content need to realize that this practice comes across as forced and unprofessional. We have a responsibility to educate our readers and also educate brands.

Step up the game and change the paradigm. Bigger things can be achieved once we all decide to not settle for mediocrity.

***

Julio (Julito) Ricardo Varela (@julito77 on Twitter) founded LatinoRebels.com (part of Latino Rebels, LLC) in May, 2011 and proceeded to open it up to about 20 like-minded Rebeldes. His personal blog, juliorvarela.com, has been active since 2008 and is widely read in Puerto Rico and beyond. He pens columns on LR regularly. This year, Julito represented the Rebeldes on CBS' Face the NationNPR,  UnivisionForbesand The New York Times.

The Talented @FunnyLatino Offers His Video Response to NY Times Article on Latino Programming

We got the following video from @FunnyLatino today on our Facebook wall and we are glad we did.

Román Suárez is a Bronx-born comic/actor/writer. He is one of the countless of talented individuals who have connected with our online communities. Suárez offered this video response to the New York Times piece called "Networks Struggle to Appeal to Hispanics."

Now that is how you offer good solutions to networks. Can you imagine a collective of creative talent brought it to think of the next great show? We wonder if networks would even listen, but we are. LatinoRebels.com has been known for its critiques and commentary about how major net still don't "get" the US Latino population. Like our jefe @julito77 said in the the Times piece, when discussing the train wreck that was ¡ROB!:

For Julio Ricardo Varela, the founder of the Web site Latino Rebels, both the content of “Rob” and how it was marketed relied too much on stereotypes.

“ ‘Rob’ was a big running joke among our community,” Mr. Varela said. “It just felt lazy, stale and I think that mainstream television is missing the boat.” Mr. Varela noted a contest on the show’s Facebook page where viewers were invited to hit a virtual piñata to “whack and win” a trip to the show’s set. Also on the page were promotional images of Mr. Schneider and the rest of the cast in a conga line. “I thought the marketing was beyond ridiculous,” Mr. Varela said.

We would love to join @FunnyLatino and others in going beyond the weak and stereotypical content that is still being churned out by major networks. The time to change the paradigm is now, and if the networks don't want it, we don't need them.

As It Completed Its First Anniversary, LatinoRebels.com Outpaced Several Latino Media Pages

FROM JULIORVARELA.COM (@julito77, one of our founders)

In one year, LatinoRebels.com, an independent media page founded by 20 other individuals (including myself), has outpaced other more established mainstream Latino media pages as well as several independent Latino online pages. We agree 100% that the Latino digital space is a growing and untapped market, and the fact that several pages are beginning to hit a sweet spot when it comes to traffic and unique visitors should serve a call to brands and organizations that are trying to capitalize on a market that has become digitally savvy and influential. Conferences like LATISM and Hispanicize are taking the lead in communicating this message to the mainstream and we welcome all pages that are creating and curating what was once an underserved market.

So far, according to our own Google Analytics, LatinoRebels.com has achieved the following traffic on a shoestring budget and with a social media strategy that spans several platforms (we are active on FacebookTwitterYouTubePinterestG+TumblrStorify, and Instragram) for our different niche markets: 303,131 visits, 239,094 unique visitors, 432,598 pageviews, and 78.79% new visitors, with 21.21% returning visitors. Since January 1, 2012, LatinoRebels has gotten 238,806 visits, 183,204 unique visitors, 342,571 pageviews, which if we average out for all of 2012, would are anticipating the following 2012 yearly traffic: 576,000 visits, 445,000 unique visitors, and 834,000 pageviews. That would result is an 900% increase in yearly traffic between 2011 and 2012. In addition, our current visitors spend an average of 1:07 minutes on our site per visit. Even though social media helps us to get more readers to our site, the goal of our company is to highlight our main site and share stories and content we feel is relevant to our community.

This past April, according to Compete.com (which works of a sample of 2 million Internet user profiles in the United States only), LatinoRebels gained more unique US visitors (12,234 measured on April 20) than the following English-language Latino media and cultural sites: NBC Latino (12,181 UVS), Univision News (7,612 UVS), News Taco (9,929 UVS), Being Latino (10,127 UVS), Pocho.com (2,992 UVS), Voxxi (11,340 UVS), and Remezlca (7,033 UVS). Our current Compete.com ranking is 129,171 in the US and we saw a 74.50% increase in our UVS for the US in April. FYI, the most successful independent Latino media page we came across on Compete was Hispanically Speaking News with an impressive 47,384 UVS for April.

Besides Google Analytics and our own WordPress analytics (our SlimStats since May 6, 2012 have listed 99,859 hits to our site—search engines, bots, and humans combined—with 12,522 unique IPS in the span between May 6-May 19). This data slice confirms that our current unique human traffic according to our own internal stats averages about 30,000 uniques with about 50,000 pageviews (Our content and stories in March still had us at 50,000 uniques and 100,000 pageviews) per month in 2012 right now.

Another tool that partners and our clients use to measure us is Alexa. We don't think Alexa is the end all and be all of traffic (and you need to enhance its data with your own internal data), but it is an industry standard used by many to "check you out." As of today, May 20, 2012, our current Alexa ranking is as follows: 163,009 of all the Alexa-tracked web pages in the world and 39,698 in the US. We have accomplished this in a span on just one year and 20 days. In the last three months, our Alexa traffic has increased 150% although this past month we have seen a dip in traffic (blame it on the good spring weather).

Compared to other similar sites, LatinoRebels.com can definitely say that it is one of the top Latino media pages in the world. Here is where we stand with other sites:

MAY 20, 2012 Alexa Rankings (by GLOBAL RANKINGS)

  1. Hispanically Speaking News: 55,509 global, 13,380 US
  2. Voxxi: 105,501 global, 30,620 US
  3. Remezcla: 143,043 gloval, 26,263 US
  4. Latino Rebels: 163,009 global, 39,698 US
  5. Being Latino: 247,612 global, 48,184 US
  6. Latism: 269,282 global, 41,566 US
  7. NBC Latino: 315,389 global, 66,316 US
  8. Univision News: 324,654 global, 84,597 US
  9. Hispanicize: 330,208 global, 86,204 US
  10. Pocho.com: 481,821 global, 110,355 US
  11. News Taco: 568,719 global, 166,033 US

Again, this is just a sample of some pages that are part of our daily Latino online universe. We don't list this ranking as a competition, but instead to put the context of where Latino Rebels stands within this world. In the end, having ALL Latino-themed pages doing well (and many are) is a great thing. However, this data confirms that Latino Rebels is getting the traffic, and even after our explosive growth of early 2012, we have been able to sustain our traffic and we have become a viable destination page for readers who are looking for US Latino content and information on a global level.

We have yet to truly dive into the product branding world, since we like our independent streak and our ability to control our own destiny, but we do welcome any dialogue with any group, brand, or organization that thinks our page's vibe and content is of value to them. Quite frankly, if the fit is right, we will be more than happy to share stories, content, ideas, profiles, etc. that speak to the growing world of the US Latino digital space.

Finally, we believe that our group has the savvy and expertise to help anyone, both Latino-themed brands and non-Latino ones. In less than 13 months, we literally went from 0 to becoming one of the top Latino pages (and now overall pages) in the world. We do it a bit differently than others, but we can assure you that we will deliver. Just look at the numbers. They don't lie.