About.com - and the winner is.... New York Times!

Thread Title:
New York Times to buy About.com for $410 mln
Thread Description:

A week or so ago we reported that About.com was to be put up for auction and that the major search players and NYT were to bid.

the New York Times won, at a cost of $410M

The New York Times Co. on Thursday said it will buy online information portal About.com for $410 million from publisher Primedia Inc. as it looks for new ways to build advertising revenue online.

There will no doubt be much talk and analysis of the buy as the NYT have been struggling with their online business model for some time, as i come across good stuff, i'll post it.

...and i didn't have to look too far. IMO the content commentary doesn't get much better than that found at Paid Content, here's what Rafat had to say:

Make no mistake, it is about search/CPC ad revenues in the short term, first and foremost. Then, of course, the benefits of added traffic over long term.
It will be very interesting to see how they execute on the integration of NYTimes.com and About.com. The phrase "adding an alternate model of content creation and aggregation" is a peculiar way to put it, but it denotes blogs and the whole blog media world, so to speak. In short, this is NYT's blog strategy, on the editorial side. Whether they want to characterize it as such, that I doubt...

There is much more, and it's goooood!


Hopefully for NYT

the losers (the search properties) don't give 'em a good ole ban out of spite. :-)

I wonder what changes in direction and revenue generation about.com will now take.

Change in Ownership


We just found out this afternoon who won the bidding war (one of the downsides of SEC laws).

I don't think it's really sunk in quite yet, but overall, I think the NYT will be better for About in the long-term. Certainly they're a much better fit than being owned by AOL-TimeWarner or *shudder* Ask Jeeves.

However, I do have a bit of a problem with Paidcontent's commentary. About.com certainly isn't "NYT's blog strategy, on the editorial side". I can see how someone not familiar with About might mistake first page as a "blog" with the introductions to articles and snippets of news of interest to our readers, but...to think that was the extent of About's coverage, you'd have to overlook all the reviews, how-to articles and other pieces of editorial content About offers.

I wonder

How will this affect the http://www.wired.com/news/business/0,1367,53140,00.html class action?

Conference Call

I didnt even know about that Chris, thanks...

NYT have a transcript of a conference call about the deal out now...

Class Action appears settled

I wondered about that when I saw the news of the auction originally, and I checked.

It appears to have been settled/withdrawn Always a bob or two to be made for lawyers

About, Inc. In Levinson, et al. v. Primedia, Inc., et al, (S.D.N.Y.), a purported employment class action lawsuit that is pending in the Southern District of New York, Mr. Cooper was instrumental in convincing the plaintiffs to voluntarily dismiss copyright and related state law conversion claims directed at the online content provided by About, Inc. (a wholly-owned subsidiary of publisher Primedia, Inc.) through its website, about.com.

The original details are still up at this former guides site

I'll see if I can get a comment from the horse's mouth

Class Action apparently not settled

I have it that

the item referenced in the thread is just about one of the 9 or 10 claims in the lawsuit. The lawsuit is very much alive.

Audio: Interview SVP-Digital Operations, NYTCO

Paidcontent.org has an interview with Martin Nisenholtz regarding the About purchase.

Text Highlights
Audio (mp3: 14.6 MB)

Interesting quote:

Frankly, they (About.com) bring a lot of competencies to us. They're the leaders in search-engine optimization, they're the leader's in advertising inventory management, they've got great site stat capability and they're highly entrepreneurial so they bring just as much to us as we bring to them.

Frankly, they (About.com) bring a lot of competencies to us

It wasn't that long ago that somebody would have actually mentioned content, how times change.

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