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Summary:

Hearst has bought out online relationships advice site Answerology.com, we have learned, and now confirmed through the company. The site, ba…

Hearst has bought out online relationships advice site Answerology.com, we have learned, and now confirmed through the company. The site, based in New York City and founded in 2005 by Matt Milner, differs from other general Q&A sites like *Yahoo* Answers and *Amazon’s* Askville, in that it is focused on relationships and marriage advice. In 2006, it received funding from investors including Jim Treacy, a former president and COO of Monster.com.

The site will be part of Hearst Magazines Digital Media. We couldn’t figure out the buying price, but know it is in seven figures. I spoke briefly to Chris Johnson, VP of Hearst Digital, who explained the rationale for buying the site. He said that Answerology’s “like-minded community platform” fits well into its magazine-branded and other online-only digital properties. The Q&A community is highly compatible with the service journalism that most of these magazines practice. The site will be be integrated into each of its 15 magazine sites and standalone sites…founder Milner is coming on with Hearst. Johnson also said that Answerology’s mandate has increased since it was founded to add other areas, and Hearst intends to expand its focus.

Update: More in the company’s announcement Wednesday morning. Milner will be VP-community and social media

  1. Man, that's bad timing! We talked to Hearst about a month ago about our site, but they didn't seem too interested.

    However, we're a lot bigger than Answerology, so perhaps Hearst wanted to make a *small* purchase, rather than a larger one.

    Re: niche vs broad based – it's funny, in 2003, when FunAdvice launched we were focused exclusively on 5 categories: love, marriage, relationships, dating and s*x. However a few years later we started adding more categories because let's face it: question & answer sites = a modern take on classic forums, usenet, etc, etc. They've been around forever.

    So beyond extra categories what you need for a destination site is gui features, social networking like tools (that are similar to forum tools) and all the same bells & whistles in a sense.

    I do see why Hearst did this, though, if you look @ the Q&A;on cosmopolitan, for example, that is very anemic compared to any Q&A;site out there in terms of questions, answers, and user volume. Having a Q&A;tool integrated into their many media brands is a smart move.

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  2. Deborah M Varnum Wednesday, March 26, 2008

    I love guys who like to promote themselves claiming information that they can't prove. You don't know that you're a lot bigger than Answerology (in what, page views, revenues, time spent, profitability?) any more than you know that they made a "small" purchase.

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  3. Deborah-

    Fact: look at quantcast, compete OR alexa. Look at all three.

    The consider internet distribution – in short, how do most people find websites?

    Then consider my background (if you looked, it's easily found)…I know where of I speak.

    You, on the other hand, I have ZERO way of looking up because you didn't provide a bio type link in your post ;) Cute. I'll assume, then, you work for Answerology – congrats are in order.

    If not, then you're an idiot – no offense, but you really, REALLY should use publicly available well known tools to see if what I said was right before claiming that I'm a liar.

    And, yes, it would have been a "small" purchase, as we've been looking at valuations for our own company. Their growth rate is non existent, their monetization on non logged in pageviews is Google Adsense + RON ads from 3rd party networks. Average revenue per pageview in the category they are most popular in from their questions is about 3-5 CPM with optimized ad layouts. They don't have that.

    So, let's say they get 1 million uniques / month (they don't) and 3 million pageviews…that's about 30K revenue, absolute max, and I am 100% sure they don't make that much. So based on a 4x multiple, they're worth somewhere around $1 million…with team & technology, etc.

    For an internet startup of any reasonable caliber a million dollar exist is a *small* purchase for a huge media conglomerate like Hearst.

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  4. Jeremy,

    You're missing something in your user experience that is necessary to build a really good community-based advice Website. You term it a Q&A;site in your message above, which is what you are (and you are a very good one). Answerology is a community advice site. Although on the surface you can compare yourself to Answerology, you are much more like Y! answers. Your pageview (and time on site) estimates are way off as a result of your missing this difference… Try comparing your pageviews to answerology (they are comparable) – and consider that you have better "reach" numbers.

    Bill

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  5. Love the idea that a company like Hearst is (finally) getting the value of such sites.

    Suggest they check out Parental Wisdom which was smart enough to create a very original idea which is to give parents a choice free and anonymously about parenting advice and then protect it with two U.S. patents.

    Cool!

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  6. Yeah I know Hearst bought Answerology, that's why it sucks now, Customer Service doesn't respond to you, you get banned from the site without a warning, and numerous other problems.

    Any ideas on how to contact Hearst regarding AO problems?? We need to be able to get in touch with SOMEONE if we need some help, right??

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  7. Yes, I’m with most of the respondents, above. I like Answerology, but I’m not sure I see the value, or what sets this site apart from its competitors. If you look at http://girlsaskguys.com and http://getonthecouch.com, I think they both provide a better platform for Q&A’s relative to Relationship Advice. That’s my personal opinion, but it appears that several of you are in agreement.

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  8. I need to complain to Hearst, ”numerous other problems”, is right. In my opinion Hearst should be sued, I have evidence. No point in complaining to customer service – they violate their own rules.

    Anyone know who I should get in touch with?

    I notice Hearst don’t make it easy..

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