The Times reported:
About.com uses a network of about 500 experts to write online about hundreds of specialty topics, from personal finance to quilting to fly-fishing. Primedia wanted About.com as a way to provide a link with its many print publications, Web sites, newsletters and video programs.
Sounds an awful lot like the Times acquired a set of blogs doesn’t it. In fact, the experts writing on these niche topics for About.com publish on a blog platform.
One blogger I read this week, whose name unfortunately escapes me, placed the value of About.com on its blogs. His thinking was 500 blogs for $400 million was the equivalent of $800,000 per blog. Sounds crazy, but in the hands of an Internet publishing powerhouse such as the NY Times maybe it’s not.
It should be noted it was not that long ago that About.com was worth a heck of a lot less than this sales price as Primedia shopped it around. I believe About.com’s switch to a low cost and easy to use blog platform brought a more fired up expert base, more content and more readers – all of which increased its value.
I say hats off to the survival of the About.com concept. I remember it from the days when it was called The Mining Company based on the concept their experts were mining the Internet for good stuff for their target audience (almost sounds like blogging). When the company I founded, Prairielaw.com (a virtual law community) headed out to do law communities for large players, About was on the top of our list. But for the dive in the dotcom roller coaster in early 2000 with all of us, including About hitting some tough times, I expect we would have worked with them.