I remember "the good old days", when Tom Rogers Chairman & CEO of Primedia (at that time) was very proud to announce to the attendance of the b2b eMedia Conference a marriage deal which would foster and accelerate his Re-engineering of the traditional Media Company into a New Media Powerhouse. In his word " About.com is the perfect marriage - we will realize more synergy from the About.com deal than Time Warner / AOL".
Then the Media Investment Bankers DeSilva & Phillips lauded this deal as phenomenal (no wonder, considering the reimbursement for deal) and prognosed that About.com would be profitable starting first quarter 2001 and had a golden road ahead with 700 publishers on board, low cost structure and the shiny Network-Luna Network concept ... some might agree to hastily about achieved leverage, but unfortunately, I think the return was even less ... exept that Warner didn't sell AOL (yet).
When I tried to discuss with Tom in New York about his great "concept" he admitted, that right now he just has a vision, but no plans and that wasn't any different 9 month later - I always credit nine month, the time human need to produce something with head, heart, hand and feet's - and it hasn't changed much since than.
Now the NYT Company paying (in cash) 410 mio. USD - for Primedia probably the best part on this deal all together (they paid 2000 690 mio. USD in stocks) - "owns" the about 500 blogs and about 22 mio monthly user and many will watch carefully whether the NYT has a plan for execution. Martin A. Nisenholtz, now Senior VP president at the Times company, plays the chances from this deal down ("it's to small to influence, change the way we make business ...) and sees mainly benefits on the level of online advertising inventory and revenue.
Sorry folks, About.com stands for and was always about community building, experts advise, information resources, ideas, tools, etc. ... hope the NYT will get this and use it for the better (and for profitable growth).
See the announcement from NYT: The New York Times Company announced this afternoon that it had agreed to acquire the online consumer information provider About.com from Primedia Inc., a magazine publisher, for $410 million in cash.
Read more from Katharine Q. Seelye at the NYT February 18, 2005: The New York Times Company announced yesterday that it would acquire About Inc. and its Web site, About.com, from Primedia Inc. for $410 million.
Recommended read: B.L. Olchmann from whatsnextonline.com wonders, why the the Times story doesn't even mention the fact that About.com 500 guides all operate blogs on what About.com site describes as 50,000+ topics from personal finance to health and fitness. The guides converted to blogs two years ago, using Moveable Type. Having such a vast network of blogs and bloggers certainly positions the Times well for incorporating blogging into its infrastructure.
If you have access to Adweek IQ Interactive read their first comment on the impact this deal could have and some additional information at February 17, 2005 IQ Interactive IQ News Daily Briefing