To Be Sold for 18 % of its 2007 Purchase Price

The Wall Street Journal reported that Discover Communications is selling the popular website,  They will be taking a loss on the sale as they are only realizing 18% of their 2007 purchase price.

From the article:

For Discovery Communications Inc., DISCA -0.49% the website proved to be one investment in digital media that didn’t work.

Discovery said Monday it would sell the site, which offers explanations on topics such as “How magnets work” and “How do they make hollow chocolate Easter rabbits?” for $45 million, or less than a fifth what Discovery paid to acquire the web publisher in 2007.

The site is being acquired by the Internet services company Blucora Inc., BCOR +0.31% which plans to integrate HowStuffWorks into its search advertising business InfoSpace, Blucora said in a news release. Blucora disclosed the purchase price in a securities filing, reported earlier.

Discovery, owner of cable networks including the Discovery Channel and Animal Planet, acquired the site for $250 million in 2007, as part of an effort to expose more of its television content to the web.

Much has changed since then, as Google Inc.’s YouTube emerged as major destination for instructional videos of all kinds, not to mention television content. HowStuffWorks drew 7.1 million unique visitors in the U.S. on desktop devices last month, a 15% decline from three years ago, according to data from comScore. Earlier data weren’t available.

Read the full story here


  1. Grim says

    This is important news and shows that larger sites will continue to take more and more visitors away from ‘smaller’ sites. (If you’re site gets less than 7 million visitors each month, consider yourself tiny and insignificant.)

    I had a business relationship with HowStuffWorks, as they were a sponsor of one of my websites for years. I started that site in the ’90s… but I grow less and less excited about the Internet these days… maybe I’m just burning out on tech after being in it for over 30 years now… but it also has a lot to do with how I see the future of the Internet ruled by a small number of very large sites, with diminishing visitor stats for ‘smaller’ sites, and no real hope at all for success for 99.9997% of any new websites that come online.

    Hence my intense negativity about the new gTLDs all these years. No need for ’em. None at all. Except to line the pockets of the registrars and ICANN for one last hurrah. The Internet is changing. But the gTLDs will have absolutely nothing to do with that change.

    Apple knew this which is why they only applied for .Apple. They didn’t even try for .App. Why not? That would seem like a natural fit for them. Because they know that apps aren’t brought to people’s attention and sold through thousands of one-product websites. They’re seen and sold through a very small number of app stores.

    Anyway, getting off track. This sale demonstrates what will happen to more and more sites down the road. HowStuffWorks is the ‘canary in a coal mine’ and it should act as a warning to others. Contrary to what Frank Schilling said in a recent blog post on this website, “This is (NOT) the golden age of naming, bro.” But proceed at your own risk, if you happen to think it still is.

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