My Modern Met

Eugene Kim, Co-Founder/EIC

Lake Forest, CA
My Modern Met screenshot. My Modern Met logo
An eye on the art world

Experiencing great art can energize you, sending you off on your day with a renewed sense of inspiration and joy. Eugene Kim and Alice Yoo always understood the deep power of creativity, so they started My Modern Met in 2008 to celebrate the beautiful, enlightening world of art and design.

“My sister and I founded My Modern Met to create one big city that celebrates creativity,” says Eugene. “Our mission is to promote a positive culture by spotlighting the best sides of humanity — from the lighthearted and fun to the thought-provoking and enlightening. Today, we receive millions of visitors coming to our site each month, looking for articles on art, design, photography, architecture, science, technology, environmental issues, and more.”

My Modern Met also makes sure to help artists promote their work, providing a platform for incredibly talented creatives who are on the pulse of contemporary art — with the belief that the message in their artwork is more powerful than words could ever be.

“Our aim is to contribute to a brighter future by showcasing the top creative minds in the world,” says Eugene. “We celebrate diversity and people of all ages because we believe that the most beautiful fabric is one that includes us all.”

With such an important, admirable mission, it was important for them to figure out a strategy that would sustain the site and keep it in business. So early on, Eugene and Alice decided to monetize My Modern Met through Google AdSense.

Eugene at a museum.
Remaining free and accessible

Eugene and Alice felt strongly that access to art and culture should be free to the public globally, so they resisted any thought of putting their content behind a paywall. At the same time, they were running a business, which came with costs. They needed a way to generate revenue.

About a year into their site’s existence, they tried out Google AdSense and never looked back. With Google AdSense, they found a way to place ads on the site in a tasteful way that never took away from their site’s unique, enlightening user experience. And most importantly, it became the core of their revenue generation.

Several years later, they partnered with Raptive, a Google Certified Publishing Partner. Immediately, they found a group of professionals who could manage their ad strategy for them so that they could focus on highlighting great art and design.

“Raptive does a fantastic job handling that side of the business so that we can focus on content creation,” says Eugene. “They have been super reliable, amazing at communication, supportive in providing many helpful services, and truly a pleasure to work with.”

With a sustainable business model in place for their site, it was time for Eugene to start thinking bigger about the possibilities of My Modern Met as Alice had moved on to new ventures.

“Advertising has always been the biggest source of revenue for our art and culture website. Over the years, our audience and ad revenue has grown as well. It has allowed us to reinvest in our company, including hiring writers and editors.”
Bigger team, bigger ambitions

“Advertising has always been the biggest source of revenue for our art and culture website,” says Eugene. “Over the years, our audience and ad revenue has grown as well. It has allowed us to reinvest in our company, including hiring writers and editors.”

Eugene realized it was actually more rewarding to work with a team. Instead of becoming a brother-sister project, My Modern Met turned into a group of like-minded individuals who were passionate about art and culture.

“We currently have an editorial team of six people, including writers and editors, as well as overhead costs for software, hosting, and more,” explains Eugene. “In order to run the site, we need to generate revenue while keeping our work free and accessible.

“A lot of our writers and editors have been with us for over five or ten years,” says Eugene. “It’s been fulfilling building these strong relationships with the team and navigating the ups and downs of digital publishing with a passionate group. We’re bonded by a single mission: to feature the most extraordinary creative people in the world.”

The revenue from ads has also been reinvested into other revenue streams, including a store and an academy. In My Modern Met Store, users can buy creative goods from some of the greatest makers working today. Meanwhile, My Modern Met Academy offers courses that help burgeoning creatives ignite their passion and improve their creative practice.

What keeps Eugene going are the stories from artists whose careers were improved thanks to exposure on My Modern Met. Artist Kirsty Mitchell's video, highlighting a series called Wonderland, received over five million views — and encouraged her to take the leap of faith and release a second edition of her photo book.

“Seeing that type of impact on the artist side really moves us,” says Eugene. “We also hear from teachers who use our site as a resource from the grade school level all the way up to university levels, which is also really encouraging to hear.”

Eugene loves knowing that students from a young age are gaining exposure to the art world. And it’s not just that — through their site, they’re gaining access to a positive online culture that they’ll hopefully carry on as they grow up.

“We really see our site as an online metropolis full of beautiful art and culture,” says Eugene. “We hope it inspires our global audience to be creative, to learn constantly, and to be forever curious.”

About the Publisher

Eugene Kim is Co-founder & Editor-in-chief of My Modern Met. In May, 2008, the art+culture website started to build one big city that celebrates creative ideas. Ever since then, he’s been on a mission to promote a positive culture online.

A graduate of Cal State University, Fullerton, Eugene earned a BA in Business Administration. In his spare time, he loves playing catch with his dog, traveling and experiencing different cultures, and supporting his favorite sports team, Manchester United.
Eugene Kim headshot