This morning AdWeek broke the news that tech blog ReadWriteWeb had been acquired by SAY Media (which also bought Dogster and Six Apart) and appointed Dan Frommer a position as editor-at-large. The price was not disclosed. Disclosure: This reporter worked at ReadWriteWeb for a few months in 2010.
ReadWriteWeb had been struggling of late to grow traffic and establish an identity in the increasingly noisy tech blogosphere, losing a string of writers including Sarah Perez, who went to TechCrunch as well as Mike Melanson and lead blogger Marshall Kirkpatrick, who is now doing a startup. Audrey Watters, Klint Finley and Alex Williams also left in the last six months; Frederic Lardinois, who joined in 2008, jumped ship in early 2011.
The blog, which until recently was syndicated in The New York Times online, continually wrestled with the question of whether to stick to the analytical posts it had become known for or try to jump into the greater pageview-generating arena of tech news.
This is great, great news for RWW. Mr. Frommer’s experience as a reporter is a new element for the tech blog, which started in 2003. Publisher Richard MacManus is based in New Zealand, and the rest of the writers were scattered across the U.S. and Europe; only recently did the blog make an effort to have a writer in the Bay Area. That structure made it difficult to break news, to say the least. Over time, it increasingly relied on sponsored channels like the ReadWriteEnterprise channel, sponsored by Century Link, and ReadWriteCloud, sponsored by VMWare and Intel.
Mr. Frommer, who will be writing for RWW at editor-at-large, directed us to SAY Media’s head of communications; Mr. MacManus is likely sleeping and did not respond to request for comment [UPDATE: He's up! And tweeting]. Mr. Frommer said a blog post from him is forthcoming. We’ll be updating with more details on the acquisition as we get them.
The price of the acquisition was not disclosed, but a source said RWW was offered $5 million in early 2010 and turned it down; another source said SAY paid more than $10 million. UPDATE: TechCrunch is reporting the price was around $5 million and included “assumption of liabilities.”
Sources say RWW started angling for an acquisition as early as last spring, when the mandate came down to get more traffic, fast. The acquisition came as a surprise this morning to current employees, who are being kept on until at least March.
For nostalgia’s sake, here’s a blast from RWW’s past: “Facebook Wants to Be Your One True Login.” Money quote: “Dear visitors from Google. This site is not Facebook. This is a website called ReadWriteWeb that reports on news about Facebook and other Internet services.”
UPDATE: Here is RWW’s announcement of the news.