Important People #41 through #45
41. Perez Hilton
Love him or hate him, this controversial blogger (real name: Mario Lavandeira) has changed the face of celebrity journalism. Hilton's hugely popular Web site offers around-the-clock access to celebrity gossip and photos, but that's not the only reason that he's on our list. Hilton is involved in a legal battle with photo agency X17, which has accused him of using its copyrighted photos without permission. Hilton claims that posting the photos on his site is legal, amounting simply to fair use of newsworthy images. The $7.6 million federal lawsuit could have lasting effects on how bloggers everywhere use digital photos online.
42. Paul Graham, Trevor Blackwell, Robert Morris, and Jessica Livingston
Founders, Y Combinator
Rather than sinking a whole lot of money into a handful of companies that may (or may not) turn into the next big Google, venture capital firms like Y Combinator dole out smaller sums to potential mini-Googles. Y Combinator commits to two rounds of funding and dispenses less than $20,000 (expense money, really) to coders so they can work, work, work on a prototype to parlay into more funding. In exchange, Y Combinator asks for 2 to 10 percent of the company's stock. Startups that these guys have funded include Reddit (acquired by CondeNast), Kiko, and Weebly. The names sound funny, sure, but do you remember the first time you heard the name YouTube?
43. Mikko H. Hypponen
Director of antivirus research, F-Secure
F-Secure's security news blog, written by director of antivirus research Mikko H. Hypponen, is one of the Internet's go-to places for learning about the latest security threats. Too bad Sony BMG didn't think so. When directly approached by F-Secure, Sony BMG ignored Hypponen's warnings about a rootkit hidden within the antipiracy software used in certain SonyBMG audio CDs. Though F-Secure didn't initially go public with the news, Windows expert Mark Russinovich detailed the rootkit discovery process on his blog. The resulting embarrassment (and a third-party lawsuit over the rootkit) might encourage Sony to take Hypponen more seriously next time.
44. Rob Malda
In 1997, Rob Malda (aka CmdrTaco) created Slashdot, the original blog with prioritized news content discussed in posts by snarky (and often highly technical) readers. In fact, the original news story often serves as a mere jumping off point for the site's meaty comments and discussions (fodder for links to more news stories). Even if you prefer Digg (see #32), Techmeme (see #38), Technorati, or some other news aggregation blog, don't forget that it all started with Slashdot. Authors and editors still consider it a badge of honor when their news story is "slashdotted," though increased competition from other sites has stolen a bit of Slashdot's thunder.
45. Nick Denton
Founder, Gawker Media
Nick Denton's blog empire is so influential and so blogged about that you probably visit at least one of his 15 properties every day through one route or another. With titles that include New York City page six alternative Gawker, Washington, D.C., gossip rag Wonkette, L.A. equivalent Defamer, and tech news site Gizmodo, Denton's empire is unquestionably the most successful independent blogging venture on the Web right now, holding considerable sway over industries from automobiles to Hollywood to high tech.