Three years after purchasing Business.com for $345 million, Dex One (the former R.H. Donnelley) is shutting down the site, which features a business-to-business search engine and a huge repository of how-to-articles on business topics. In a statement, Dex One says the “Business.com operations are no longer viable and are not a part of our long-term plans” and it will instead focus on its other online operations, which include DexKnows.com. Various third-party metrics show traffic to Business.com has plummeted over the last year.
Dex One outbid IAC (NSDQ: IACI), New York Times Co. (NYSE: NYT), Dow Jones and News Corp (NSDQ: NWS). for Business.com in a heated auction in mid-2007. In its announcement, Dex One says the acquisition “delivered on a number of fronts,” including letting the company “build the DexKnows.com local search platform, create the DexNet distributed ad network, and develop a robust account and content management system.” From the start, however, the deal never went quite as planned. Busienss.com founder Jake Winebaum, who joined the company as its interactive chief after the acquisition, quit soon after.
Business.com will be phased out but the company is holding on — at least for now — to the Business.com brand name and the URL. That domain was purchased by Business.com’s founders for $7.5 million in 1999, making it one of the biggest domain sales to date. We’ve asked for more details, including whether there were any layoffs associated with what the company is calling a “realignment.” R.H. Donnelley filed for bankruptcy in May 2009 under a huge debt load; it exited Chapter 11 eight months later and took on the Dex One name.