The 10 Most Expensive Blogs Ever Sold
Blog Owners Hit the Jackpot!
There are as many different types of bloggers as there are faces. But there’s something that every single one of them has in common: they all started with a hope, an excitement, a feeling that what they were beginning could actually be something. And if they could just do it the way they could feel themselves doing it in that glow of optimism, then it might be more than just something. It might be something else.
Well, of course, for most that glow of optimism often fades fairly quickly. It’s more work than most think in the beginning. Getting traffic is harder than it should be. Learning the ins-and-outs of the technical and business issues is much more complicated than anyone let on.
However for some, none of that matters. The glow in the beginning continues. The spark that got them started somehow fully ignites. And soon enough they’re not only thinking of making something out of this little blog business, they’re thinking of striking it rich!
And so if you’ve ever daydreamed about striking it rich with your blog, then this post is for you. That’s exactly what the following people did when they sold their blogs for millions.
NOTE: A quick word about the numbers here and what qualifies as a “blog” for this post. There are many numbers floating around on the Internet about blog sales that seem to be made up out of thin air. And then those same numbers get repeated and repeated. I have made every attempt to verify these numbers by citing legitimate sources. In some cases, no exact numbers could be sufficiently verified. If you happen to come across something that I missed, please let me know in the comments.
There are also some sites that might be considered “blogs” that I didn’t include here, such as the Huffington Post (which sold to AOL for $315 million), or Weblogs Inc (a collection of 80+ blogs at the time of its sale for $25 million to AOL). The idea here was to find single blogs started by one or two people. In some cases, that may not be so, but the intention was to list blogs that started relatively small and went big. Also, I did not include Fotolog.com here (which sold for about $90 million). While it technically might be a “blog,” it seems more like a photo-sharing site to me.
10. WorldHum.com – ($Millions? – Price not verified.)
Bought by the Travel Channel.
Founded by Jim Benning and Michael Yessis, WorldHum is a travel-related blog with essays, interviews, reviews, audio, video, and more. Benning and Yessis say on the site, “We started World Hum out of our apartments in May 2001 with $35 and one goal: To publish the best travel stories on the Internet.”
Though they started with $35, as they say, both Benning and Yessis had professional travel writing experience in their background. Benning and Yessis continue to run the site.
The site’s estimated purchase price is rumored to be in the millions ($6 million?), but we have not been able to confirm that from a reputable source.
9. Freakonomics.com – (Price not verified.)
Bought by the New York Times.
The Freakonomics.com blog was born out of the best-selling book Freakonomics by writer Stephen J. Dubner and economist Steven D. Levitt. As they say on the blog, the book was “a book about cheating teachers, bizarre baby names, self-dealing Realtors, and crack-selling mama’s boys.” In other words, they analyze data and attempt to come up with sound theories that could explain why certain mysterious things in everyday life seem to happen.
The NY Times “absorbed” the blog, put it onto its main domain (nytimes.com), and began sharing revenue. (LA Times ) Information about a cash settlement is harder to come by. The blog ran on the Times site for a number of years, but recently it has been “unabsorbed” (I guess we could say) and is now back on its own domain (though still owned by the Times). Dubner and Levitt still run the blog.
8. Treehugger.com – $10 Million (Verified)
Bought by Discovery Communications (The Discovery Channel, TLC, Animal Planet, et al).
An environmental blog started in 2004 by Graham Hill, the blog “was entirely virtual and was managed from various cities around the world including Barcelona, Bangkok, Buenos Aires and New York,” as Hill says on his LinkedIn page.
According to TechCrunch, at the time of the sale the site had an Alexa ranking of 5,395. As of this writing, its current ranking is 3,343.
7. Celebrity Baby Blog (Price not verified.)
Purchased by Time and now hosted on their domain People.com (People Magazine).
With a sale price estimated to be in the millions, celebrity-babies.com (now found at celebritybabies.people.com) was founded by Danielle Friedland. The site is, of course, about the babies of celebrities (not babies who are themselves celebrities … in case you were wondering). At the time of the sale, the site was attracting approximately 720,000 visitors a month and getting 6.9 million pageviews.
6. Deadline Hollywood Daily – $5-15 Million (Estimates vary wildly – Semi-verified)
Bought by Mail.com Media Group.
Originally under the domain DeadlineHollywoodDaily.com, now under the domain Deadline.com, Deadline Hollywood Daily is a showbiz blog started by showbiz journalist Nikki Finke to report on movie and TV news, awards, etc. Finke’s blog, unlike many on this list, was a one woman show.
The prices reported on this sale vary wildly. According to the LA Times, someone knowledgeable about the deal said there was initial cash (“a low seven-figure sum”) and a deal that would see Finke stay on staff five years for “millions” more and a share of the ad revenue. … Not a bad gig.
Bought by Bankrate.com.
Bankoholic is a financial blog started by Johns Wu. Wu’s blog, like Deadline Hollywood Daily above, was a one man show. He provided information and advice on credit card offers, money market accounts, savings accounts, and more.
At the time of the sale, President and CEO of Bankrate Thomas R. Evans said, “Bankaholic is ranked high in natural search for both deposit and credit card keywords. We believe their organic traffic will increase our deposit and credit card revenue, and with a high composition of free traffic, will help to improve margins.”
4. Ars Technica – $25 Million (Verified)
Bought by Condé Nast.
Ars Technica (which is Latin for “Art of Technology”) is, you guessed it, a site that publishes technology news and reviews
Started by Ken Fisher and Jon Stokes in 1998, it was designed to be “the best multi-OS, PC hardware, and tech coverage possible while … having fun, being productive, and being as informative and as accurate as possible.”
The current website describes themselves this way: “… we specialize in original news and reviews, analysis of technology trends, and expert advice on topics ranging from the most fundamental aspects of technology to the many ways technology is helping us enjoy our world. We work for the reader who not only needs to keep up on technology, but is passionate about it.”
3. PaidContent.org – “North of $30 Million” (Verified)
Bought by Guardian Media Group.
PaidContent.org is a blog about new media founded by journalist Rafat Ali. Its objective, as Ali says, is to “chronicle the evolution of digital content that is shaping the future of the media, information and entertainment industries.”
The site’s “About” page says, “Our belief is that in the near future, all media will be digital media, and we are helping define sustainable business models and innovation within this sector.”
2. TechCrunch.com – $30 Million (Verified)
Bought by AOL.
If you are interested in the tech field, then no doubt you have heard of TechCrunch (and very well may even visit it daily). Founded by Michael Arrington in 2005, it concentrates on technology companies and news, often with an emphasis on interesting start-ups.
Michael Arrington and AOL just recently parted ways a few weeks ago. You can read about the split (and get a confirmation of the price) from source link below.
1. ConsumerSearch.com – $33 Million (Verified)
Bought by About.com (which is owned by the NY Times Company)
ConsumerSearch was started by Derek Drew and Carl Hamaan in 1999. It is unique in that it doesn’t actually publish its own reviews of consumer products, nor does it allow visitors to post reviews. Instead, it scours reviews from reputable sources and then reports back. In other words, it reviews reviews … if that makes sense.
As they say on their website:
We Simplify The Complex
1. Collect the best reviews
2. Analyze their picks
3. Recommend what to buy
So there you have it: The 10 Most Expensive Blogs Ever Sold (that could be verified or semi-verified by a legitimate source). But not every blog sale has to be for millions to make it a good one. Any blog sale is a good one if the blogger wants to sell.
Now it’s your turn. Can you list any decent blog sales that you’ve heard about off the top of your head? Heard of anything in the thousands that you can confirm?
(Thanks to Travis Hornung for use of his jackpot image.)