Vox Media is an American multinational digital media company founded on July 14, 2005 as SportsBlogs Inc. by Jerome Armstrong, Tyler Bleszinski, and Markos Moulitsas and based in Washington, D.C. and New York City. It currently runs eight editorial brands: SB Nation, The Verge, Polygon, Curbed, Eater, Racked, Vox, and Recode. Vox's brands are built on Concert, a publisher-led market place for advertising, and Chorus, its proprietary content management system.
Vox Media was founded in 2005 as SportsBlogs, Inc., the parent company of the sports blog network SB Nation, by political strategist Jerome Armstrong, freelance writer Tyler Bleszinski, and Markos Moulitsas (creator of Daily Kos). The site was a spin-off and expansion of Tyler Bleszinski's Oakland Athletics blog Athletics Nation, which sought to provide coverage of the team from a fan's perspective. The popularity of the site led to other sports blogs being incorporated.
In 2008, SB Nation hired former AOL executive Jim Bankoff as CEO to assist in its growth. He showed interest in SB Nation's goal of building a network of niche-oriented sports websites. As of February 2009, the SB Nation network contained 185 blogs, and in November 2010, ComScore estimated that the site had attracted 5.8 million unique visitors. The 208 percent increase in unique visitors over November 2009 made SB Nation the fastest-growing sports website the company tracked at the time.
In 2011, Bankoff hired a number of former writers from AOL's technology blog Engadget, including former editor-in-chief Joshua Topolsky, to build a new technology-oriented website. They had originally left AOL following a series of conflicts between Topolsky and Michael Arrington, author of TechCrunch (which AOL had recently acquired), and the leak of an internal training document that outlined a content strategy for AOL's blogs that prioritized profitability. Bankoff felt that a technology-oriented website would complement SB Nation due to their overlapping demographics. In November, the renamed Vox Media officially launched The Verge, with Topolsky as editor-in-chief.
In April 2014, the company launched an eponymous news website, Vox.com. Led by former Washington Post columnist Ezra Klein, Vox.com was positioned as a general interest news service with a focus on providing additional context to recurring subjects within its articles.
On May 30, 2017, Vox Media announced that it had entered into an agreement to provide technology and advertising sales for Bill Simmons' sports website The Ringer, as part of a revenue sharing agreement.
On February 21, 2018, it was reported that Vox would be laying off around 50 employees, particularly surrounding video production. CEO Jim Bankoff stated previously that the company planned to exit native video for Facebook due to "unreliable monetization and promotion". The memo announcing the layoffs argued that despite its success, native video "won't be viable audience or revenue growth drivers for us relative to other investments we are making", and that the company wanted to focus more on podcasting and Vox Entertainment. The layoffs represented around 5% of Vox's workforce.
In December 2014, Vox Media raised a $46.5 million round led by the growth equity firm General Atlantic, estimating the media company's value at around $380 million. Participants in Vox Media's previous rounds include Accel Partners, Comcast Ventures, and Khosla Ventures. Other funders are Allen & Company, Providence Equity Partners, and various angel investors, including Ted Leonsis, Dan Rosensweig, Jeff Weiner, and Brent Jones. According to sources, the Series C in May 2012, valued Vox at $140 million. A Series D valued the company north of $200M, raising an additional $40M
Vox Media is made up of eight media brands: The Verge (technology and culture), Vox (general interest news), SB Nation (sports), Polygon (gaming), Eater (Food and Nightlife), Racked (shopping, beauty and fashion), Curbed (real estate and home), and Recode (technology business).
SB Nation is a sports news website, consisting of a network of blogs devoted to individual teams (including professional and college teams) and sports-related topics. As of June 2013, the site had achieved 50 million unique visitors per-month, and 190 million monthly page views. The website also provides content to SB Nation Radio, an U.S. sports talk radio network. The site was Vox Media's first property.. Despite Vox Media's policy of paying all contributors, a significant portion of the website's content is produced by unpaid subcontractors.
The Verge is a technology news site, which launched on November 1, 2011; it was originally staffed by former employees of Engadget, including former editor Joshua Topolsky, and the new site's editor-in-chief Nilay Patel. While Topolsky and his team were developing the new site, a 'placeholder' site called This Is My Next was created to allow them to continue writing articles and producing podcasts. Topolsky described the site as being an "evolved version of what we [had] been doing [at AOL]."
In early January 2012, Vox hired Chris Grant, editor-in-chief of Joystiq, to launch a new gaming site with Vox. Also hired were Brian Crecente, editor-in-chief of Kotaku, and Russ Pitts, editor-in-chief of The Escapist, to run the site, along with Justin and Griffin McElroy, Chris Plante, Arthur Gies, and Russ Frushtick, and Tracey Lien and Emily Gera for the roles of Senior Reporter, Australia & Senior Reporter, UK, respectively.
Vox, which had previously stated that "Vox Games" was merely a placeholder until the project was ready to separate itself from being a Gaming hub on The Verge to a fully-fledged independent website, revealed on April 6, 2012, that the gaming site would be named Polygon. On October 25, 2012 Polygon launched under its own name. The site features responsive web design (which SB Nation has had since its relaunch in mid-2012) and long feature articles.
Curbed is a real-estate/home website that reaches beyond New York City to publish in 32 markets across the U.S. It was founded in 2004 as a side project by Lockhart Steele, managing editor of Gawker Media. Curbed was bought by Vox Media when the company acquired Curbed Network in November 2013 for $20–30 million in cash and stock. In addition to the national site, Curbed has local sites for Los Angeles, Atlanta, Boston, Cape Cod, Chicago, Detroit, Hamptons, New York City, Miami, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Seattle, Washington, D.C., San Francisco, and Ski. The Editor in Chief is Kelsey Keith.
Eater, founded by Lockhart Steele, and led by editor-in-chief Amanda Kludt, is a media brand dedicated to culinary news. The Eater staff makes news and breaks news daily with reporting on the latest restaurant openings in cities and current dining trends across the nation. Often known for their "Heat Maps" and "38 Best New Restaurants" franchises, Eater has local sites in Atlanta, Austin, Boston, Charleston, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Houston, Las Vegas, London, Los Angeles, Miami, Montreal, Nashville, New Orleans, New York, Philadelphia, Portland, OR, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington DC. Acquired by Vox Media Inc., in 2013 Eater went through a site relaunch in 2014 to become part of the Vox Media's Chorus platform.
Racked is a retail/shopping website which covers style. It was bought by Vox Media when the company acquired Curbed Network in November 2013. In December 2014, the site had 11.2 million page views and 8 million unique visitors. In addition to the national site, Racked has local sites for Los Angeles, New York City, Miami, and San Francisco. The Editor in Chief is Britt Aboutaleb.
Vox Media acquired technology news website Recode in May 2015.