October 26, 2014

Internet.com Being Sold: Why Your Business Must Evolve and Grow

internet.comThe slicing-off continues at WebMedia Brands.

The company announced a deal to sell off its Internet.com unit for $18 Million to QuinStreet. The stock WEBM is up 7 cents, or 12.92%, to 61 cents as of this writing, on the news of the sale.

Internet.com includes a large number of specialized technology sites, such as PHP Developer and WinPlanet.  It also includes Small Business Computing, a long-standing small business technology site.

WebMedia once included Jupiter Media and Jupiter Research and was quite a high flier.  Bit by bit, it sold off its different operating units.  Now it more or less consists of Media Bistro.

Now, $18 Million may sound like a nice chunk of change to some.  But consider that just last year, a single blog was sold for $15 Million (Bankaholic, sold to Bankrate).  The WebMedia sale involves a large number of websites — by my quick count there appear to be 50 or more websites.  That amounts to a little over $350,000 for each website, on average.  That’s not even counting the value of the domain name “Internet.com” which surely is worth something by itself.

According to Paid Content, Chairman Alan Meckler says the sale means they will have extra cash to invest in other acquisitions.

But that begs the question:  why invest in new Web businesses if you didn’t invest in the old ones?  The  Internet.com websites have an outdated look.  The sites look as if they haven’t been redesigned in years.  The Internet.com site itself has a reasonably fresh look, but click on the other sites in the portfolio and you mostly will see designs that look 5 to 10 years old.

Plus, as a general rule the sites seem to lack advanced social features. Today, a media business must incorporate social features and develop a strong loyal following if it is going to differentiate itself from the multitudes of other news sources online.

On top of that, the content has gone downhill at a lot of the sites, too, recently, in my opinion.  Surf through the sites and you will see some that are not as frequently updated as they would need to be, if they are to compete with today’s crop of dynamic sites that are updated a dozen or more times a day.  What content there is, seems uninspiring to me (with a few exceptions, such as Small Business Computing).

One lesson to take from this situation is something that people are discussing today on numerous forums and back channels: your websites must evolve and grow as the Web evolves.  You can’t stand still if you want to maintain value in your business.

7 Comments ▼

Anita Campbell - CEO


Anita Campbell Anita Campbell is the Founder and Publisher of Small Business Trends and has been following trends in small businesses since 2003. She is the owner of BizSugar, a social media site for small businesses, and also serves as CEO of TweakYourBiz.com.

7 Reactions

  1. The sites have to stay fresh and come up new things all the time. It is a jungle out there with plenty of sites…

    Have you seen that the big blog networks have problems too? It must be hard to keep up with all the different sites, updating with new material, keeping the interest going, etc.

    I am glad that I have found my “portal”! :)

  2. Your words could not be more true regarding a site’s appearance in relation to its navigation, social media integration, and future opportunities to sell the site when the time is right.

    I was not pleased with one of my site’s appearance but did not give up until I found a terrific and appealing template.

    Maintenance must be at the top of your list if you plan to create and regularly update your online real estate.

  3. I agree with Martin – it is a jungle out there! With so many sites, how do you stand out? As you point out, Anita, it is a healthy mix of content and design, not one or the other. Iti s both. If you had to pick one, though, which would you pick? I think I know the answer, but I see an large number of companies pick design first or design only. Nothing against good or great design. But I’m more interested in the content that helps me improve and learn than the design that makes me inherently feel good while I’m reading.

  4. Yes you definitely can’t just stand still. There is no limit to how far a Business can grow, unlike individuals, eventually when your Business has evolved to a certain point, it would be capable of looking after itself and growing on its own like a ticking clock. That’s what Corporate empires are all about.

  5. The problem with the Internet.com businesses is that independent blogs came along and did a better job on niche topics like PHP. Your right. They never gave those sites a facelift and did not hire enough writers and editors. I am disgusted at the price it sold for. My fear is that it will drag down the price of every web business for the next 2 yrs. Every buyer will point to that price in their negotiations.

  6. An older website may have many links and followers. You can’t replace age with a new site but you can redesign an old website with an established following, lots of authority and links.

  7. What Document Scanning says is true. If a site is old and trusted, that kind of internet rep is hard to replace, especially in a hurry. But if you give your old site a shot in the arm so to speak, then that might be a more effective solution than creating an entirely new site.

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