Is About.com Worth It?

According to Reuters, the NYTimes will pay Primedia $410 million for the network of content sites. That's a lot of money.

Presumably the newspaper publisher will use the site for content distrubtion, as a traffic driver and an advertising network/vehicle. It's a move out of the strickly newspaper realm into a broader Internet content platform, which might be seen as akin to a network of content-specific blogs.

According to Amazon.com's Alexa traffic ranking, NYTimes.com comes in at 89 and About.com at 72.

Previously, About.com featured Sprinks' content targeted ads on its sites. Sprinks was acquired by Google, which now provides the contextual advertising for About.com. The NYTimes uses AdWords/AdSense, as do many newspapers.

About.com changed its strategy awhile ago, from being a meta-destination site to what are effectively separate content sites that can be found individually in search engine results. About.com, which began life as The Mining Co., never really lived up to its early promise. Primedia paid $690 million for About.com in 2000.

See Paid Content interview with the head of NYTimes Digital.

This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. option

    About.com is like one of those restaurant buildings that keeps getting new owners who change the menu…but it is really just the same old place. About.com obviously won't take the Grey Lady down like it did Primedia, but it wasn't a smart buy either.

  2. spencer

    Seems like NYT could find better ways to spend $400 million – more west coast sports coverage, more national entertainment and restaurant coverage. How many times have you gone to about.com? Me, only to see what the heck KKR paid over $600 million for and once again what NYT is buying.

  3. JFK

    Primedia paid $690 when their stock was at nearly $30 a share, now it is selling for $4. So they really paid more like $100 million and sold it for over $400 million. The question is did the purchase of About help bring about the fall of Primedia? Which came first…

    The Times is betting big on businesses who have established positions in growing markets. But About.com has had a lot of owners, none of whom have made it really pop. Can the Times do what others have not?

  4. The Local Guy

    This is great news for online publishers -like me 🙂 and shows the value of traffic in the eyes of offworld publishers who likely see revenues migrating online and all hope to build their own craigslist.

    PS Greg – great blog – I will be back often

  5. John

    I think it was a terrible move; NYT is so afraid of the Internet that they will spend anything so they are not left behind.

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