DOTDASH (formerly About.com) is an American Internet-based network of content that publishes articles and videos about various subjects on its "topic sites", of which there are nearly 1,000. It is operated by About, Inc. (formerly The Mining Company, MiningCo.com, Inc., and About.com, Inc.). The website competes with other online resource sites and encyclopedias. By March 2014, 61,428,000 unique visitors were registered by comScore for About.com, making it the 16th-most-visited online property during that month. As of August 2012, Dotdash is the property of IAC , owner of Ask.com and numerous other online brands, and its revenue is generated by advertising.
* 1 History
* 1.1 1997–2005: launch, renaming, Primedia acquisition * 1.2 2005–2012: Times Co. acquisition, Abang.com, About en Español * 1.3 2012–2017: IAC acquisition, Neil Vogel appointment, relaunch
* 1.4 2017–present: Closure of About.com, rebranding to multiple publications under Dotdash
* 2 References * 3 External links
1997–2005: LAUNCH, RENAMING, PRIMEDIA ACQUISITION
Founded in 1996 as The Mining Company, the site was launched on April
21, 1997, by
Scott Kurnit , owner of General Internet, Bill Day, and a
group of other entrepreneurs in
New York City
The company changed its name to "About Inc.", and the website address from "miningco.com" to "about.com" in May 1999. The company was acquired by Primedia, Inc. in 2000 through a deal valued at US$690 million, whereby Primedia swapped 45.2 million shares for About, Inc.'s 18.1 million shares. At the time of the acquisition announcement, About Inc. was measured at US$133 million in cash and no debt (Sept. 30, 2000), while the Media Metrix company tallied 21 million unique monthly visitors—making it the seventh-most-visited "network of sites" at the time—a network of over 700 topic sites, sorted into 36 areas and 50,000 subjects, and approximately 4,000 advertisers. Following the purchase, which was finalized in the first quarter of 2001, the combined company was called "Primedia" and Kurnit remained chief executive officer (CEO).
2005–2012: TIMES CO. ACQUISITION, ABANG.COM, ABOUT EN ESPAñOL
In March 2007, About.com's patronage was measured at 33.5 million unique visitors. On May 7, 2007, About Inc. acquired ConsumerSearch.com—a site that generated 3 million unique monthly visitors during the first quarter of 2007—for US$33 million in cash following two other purchases that were made in the preceding eight-month period: UCompareHealthCare.com and Calorie-Count.com.
Initially conceived of in January 2007, About.com's first fully owned foreign venture, the China-based Abang.com, debuted in December 2007. At the time of the launch, the company had a Japan-based online entity, Allabout.co.jp, but it functioned under a licensing agreement. By January 2008, the China site consisted of around 25 employees, as well as 80 guides who were responsible for article production within seven categories: Fashion, Food, Health, Hobbies, Pets, Digital, and Travel. As part of the localization process, the China initiative—led by Matt Roberts, who became the CEO of Abang.com, and Wen-Wei Wang, the vice president of technology for the launch—was named "Abang" because the Chinese character "bang" refers to the concept of a group or community.
The About Group generated US$102.7 million in 2007, which represented a 135-percent increase from the time of the Times Co. acquisition. Meyer stepped down from the chief executive role in March 2008 and was replaced by Cella Irvine, who previously worked for Hearst Corp. and Microsoft Corp. In April 2011, Irvine launched the About en Español website, which was About's first-ever Spanish-language channel and initially featured nine topics, including movies and makeup, that were to be expanded by around 100 by the start of 2012. The launch was part of an overall strategy that included a redesigned About.com homepage, a doubling of the number of "how-to" and do-it-yourself videos on About.com's 24 channels, and new outlets on About.com for advertisers.
The significant impact of the global financial crisis upon online advertising was experienced shortly after Irvine's appointment and, despite her focus on video content and Hispanic consumers, she was removed from the CEO role after three years and three consecutive quarters in which revenue decreased. Martin Nisenholtz, SVP of digital operations, temporarily replaced Irvine following her departure in May 2011.
In July 2011, Darline Jean was named CEO of the About Group, after the company's second-quarter revenues totaled US$27.8 million. Jean previously served as About's chief financial officer (CFO) and her new appointment became effective on September 1, 2011.
2012–2017: IAC ACQUISITION, NEIL VOGEL APPOINTMENT, RELAUNCH
A media report published in August 2012 indicated that Answers.com
had reached a preliminary agreement to acquire About.com for US$270
million. However, on August 26,
In the corresponding press release, IAC explained that the acquisition will help bolster and accompany its existing properties, such as the Ask.com web search engine . Jean fulfilled her role as chief executive during the transition period, while ownership was transferred to IAC, and then left About shortly after the sale was finalized. At the time of the IAC acquisition, which was signed on August 26, 2012, About.com consisted of nearly 1,000 topic sites and over three million unique articles, while, in traffic terms, Alexa ranked the site as number 37 in the U.S. and 80 in the global context.
On April 2, 2013, Neil Vogel became the new CEO of About.com. Up
until March 2003, Vogel was a key executive member of the marketing
and media company Alloy Inc., a role that he left to cofound the
Recognition Media marketing business that is responsible for producing
Following his appointment, Vogel's overall plan for About focused on social, mobile, and user experience, with an emphasis on increasing the amount of time that users remain on the site, rather than attracting people in the first instance. Vogel also stressed the importance of monetization in his numerous post-appointment interviews and he included a summary of About's revenue model as part of his discussion of the future with Bloomberg:
In April 2014, Vogel revealed to the media that the About.com team had grown from 100 employees to 176, and the number of site contributors had increased by 20 percent. In terms of the website, the company's developers updated the backend technology so that it is capable of handling a greater degree of interactivity at the front end, while a major emphasis was placed on responsive web design, as the traffic from mobile devices and tablets was measured at nearly 40 percent. According to About's online media kit, nearly 1,000 "Experts" (freelance writers) contribute to the site by writing on various topics, including healthcare and travel.
The About.com website was relaunched in September 2014, following a significant redesign that expanded upon the new homepage that debuted in July 2014. Based on an analysis of the needs of both users and advertisers, the redesign sought to create an improved user experience and facilitate social sharing, including the addition of social media buttons that were not featured at the time of Vogel's appointment. The company also plans to use a newly created video-production studio to deliver a larger volume of corresponding content in 2015. About's chief revenue officer (CRO) Brian Colbert explained to the media in September 2014: "We are judging the effectiveness and success of the redesign through engagement. We want people to visit more often, stick around longer and do more on the site."
2017–PRESENT: CLOSURE OF ABOUT.COM, REBRANDING TO MULTIPLE PUBLICATIONS UNDER DOTDASH
On May 2, 2017, IAC announced that they had renamed About.com to Dotdash, after about a year of transition. CEO Neil Vogel said that the company had lost mind share , and needed to change their marketing strategy. The company elected to refocus on vertical markets through its niche websites: The Balance (personal finance), Lifewire (consumer electronics), The Spruce (home and food), VeryWell (health), TripSavvy (travel), and ThoughtCo (education).
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Alexa Internet . Retrieved April 1,
* ^ "About.com
LinkedIn . Retrieved February 7,
* ^ Miguel Helft (December 15, 2007). "Competitor Being
Tested by Google". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 9
January 2008. Retrieved January 25, 2008.
* ^ "comScore Media Metrix® Ranks Top 50 U.S. Desktop Web
Properties for March 2014". comScore. comScore, Inc. April 24, 2014.
Retrieved November 5, 2014.
* ^ Kushner, David (April 21, 1997). "Drilling Begins at The Mining
Company". Wired . Archived from the original on September 10, 2004.
* ^ A B "Primedia buys About.com". CNN Money. October 30, 2000.
Retrieved November 5, 2014.
* ^ Fleming, Eric (May 17, 1999). "Miningco.com changes name to
* ^ A B "
* ^ "Executive Profile Neil I. Vogel". Bloomberg Businessweek. Bloomberg L.P. November 5, 2014. Retrieved November 5, 2014. * ^ ALYSON SHONTELL (October 25, 2012). "THE SILICON ALLEY 100: The Coolest People In New York Tech This Year". Business Insider. Business Insider, Inc. Retrieved November 5, 2014. * ^ A B Jordan Crook (May 6, 2013). "About.com’s New CEO On How To Stay Relevant". TechCrunch. AOL Inc. Retrieved November 5, 2014. * ^ A B Jordan Crook (July 16, 2013). "About.com Makes Big Leadership Changes As It Zeroes In On Native Advertising And Social". TechCrunch. AOL Inc. Retrieved November 5, 2014. * ^ A B "About.com CEO on Site Transformation, Strategy" (Video upload). Bloomberg TV. April 10, 2013. Retrieved November 5, 2014. * ^ A B Jordan Crook (April 18, 2014). "About.com CEO Neil Vogel Discusses The Challenges Of Evolving An Established Brand". TechCrunch. AOL Inc. Retrieved November 5, 2014. * ^ "Our Story". About.com Media Kit. About.com Media Kit. November 5, 2014. Retrieved November 5, 2014. * ^ Michelle Manafy (September 4, 2014). "About.com’s Data-driven Overhaul". Digital Content Next. Digital Content Next. Retrieved November 5, 2014. * ^ A B "About.com is Now Dotdash" (Press release). IAC. May 2, 2017. Retrieved 2017-07-23. * ^ A B Natt Garun (April 26, 2017). "About.com, the general interest site even its own CEO doesn’t care for, is going away". The Verge. Retrieved July 9, 2017. * ^ Jordan Crook (May 2, 2017). "About.com rebrands to Dotdash". TechCrunch. AOL Inc. Retrieved July 9, 2017.
* CrunchBase profile