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Hackaday For Sale, Editors Seek Crowd Funding To Buy It

samzenpus posted 1 year,15 days | from the raiding-the-piggy-bank dept.

Businesses 62

ilikenwf writes "Hackaday's owner, Jason Calacanis, has decided to sell the popular hacking/modding site for around $540,000. Multiple parties are interested; the most promising buyer at the moment appears to be the current editors, who are attempting to buy the site via crowdsourcing and incorporate it under a nonprofit to keep the hacks flowing. One way or another, the site should survive."

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62 comments

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half a mil for a wordpress site ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,15 days | (#44289351)

good luck with that.

Re:half a mil for a wordpress site ? (4, Insightful)

arfonrg (81735) | 1 year,15 days | (#44289905)

Anyone can start a Wordpress site, he's selling the brand and the following. I have several blogs and they are alot of work.

I love Hack-a-Day and I thank him for getting it this far. I hope it stays around.

Re:half a mil for a wordpress site ? (1)

smooth wombat (796938) | 1 year,15 days | (#44295441)

Anyone can start a Wordpress site,

Especially the spammers. While looking up a product I came across a WordPress site whose name was only a series of random characters and whose title belied the crap it was trying to push.

Doing the responsible thing, I tried to contact WordPress to have that site, and apparently related sites, shut down. No email, because email is so yesterday, so following the multiple links to finally get to a reporting page, I found the form wouldn't submit using two different browsers. In Fx the Continue button was never active and in IE it simply said Validating for ever and a day.

So yeah, anyone can start a WordPress, but good luck getting them to take down obvious spam.

Re:half a mil for a wordpress site ? (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,15 days | (#44290355)

Like any good site, it's the content you buy, not the software behind it. Christ.

Re:half a mil for a wordpress site ? (1)

davester666 (731373) | 1 year,15 days | (#44293015)

It's not the content. He's selling eyeballs viewing ads.

Re:half a mil for a wordpress site ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,15 days | (#44290655)

Wordpress notable users [wordpress.com]

Start there own site (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,15 days | (#44289355)

Just start a site with the same idea, and dont give the asshole owner any money.
The readers will follow(if this is publicly known)

Re:Start there own site (2, Insightful)

mwvdlee (775178) | 1 year,15 days | (#44289635)

Why is the owner an asshole?
Presumably, he's spend quite a lot of his own time and money building and growing the site.
Whether it's worth the money he asks for it, is upto the market to decide. Apparently the editors think it is.

Re:Start there own site (1)

Seumas (6865) | 1 year,15 days | (#44290045)

He's a pretty douchy constant self-promoter and bragger. I also remember one of the few times I've sat around watching the TWiT (This Week In Tech) network with Leo Laporte and he was on it (the $10m/yr indie podcasting network with like 20+ shows and like 40 hours of content a week) and he asked him if he could use "This Week In..." for ONE of his shows that he wanted to do on his own network.

Next thing you know, JC was building an entire network of his own where EVERYTHING was "This Week In..."

That's pretty fucking low and douchey.

Buying a blog...? (4, Insightful)

DogDude (805747) | 1 year,15 days | (#44289441)

What exactly does it mean to "buy" a blog? Are they wanting to pay half a mil for a domain name? Is the content really worth half a million bucks? Or, are people just stupid when it comes to trying to put a dollar value on anything Internet related? It seems like a lovely little blog, but I don't see how any sane person could come up with a $500,000 valuation for it.

Re:Buying a blog...? (3, Informative)

tibit (1762298) | 1 year,15 days | (#44289521)

Presumably if it brings in ~$125k in ad revenue per year, it'd be "worth" about 4 times that, or $500k. I personally think that even with that much yearly ad revenue I would not spend that kind of money on such a site.

Re:Buying a blog...? (1)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | 1 year,15 days | (#44289989)

Presumably if it brings in ~$125k in ad revenue per year, it'd be "worth" about 4 times that, or $500k. I personally think that even with that much yearly ad revenue I would not spend that kind of money on such a site.

So you would turn down an investment that gave 25% returns when bonds are paying 2%? Free advice: you might want to get some professional help to manage your 401k.

Re:Buying a blog...? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,15 days | (#44290157)

I like your response. The hivemind is often as easily swayed as individuals are by logical fallacies. I am happy when it is pointed out succinctly.

Re:Buying a blog...? (1)

jxander (2605655) | 1 year,15 days | (#44290369)

You have to take into account the lifespan and stability of websites. Maybe the creator starts up a new website and draws people away from this one, or maybe a competing website shows up, or the new ownership could just crap their pants. Maybe the creator sees the pool of potential hacks drying up, and wants to get while the getting's good.

I'd put buying a blog right around the same level as playing craps, as far as sound long-term investments go.

Re:Buying a blog...? (2)

hawguy (1600213) | 1 year,15 days | (#44290415)

Presumably if it brings in ~$125k in ad revenue per year, it'd be "worth" about 4 times that, or $500k. I personally think that even with that much yearly ad revenue I would not spend that kind of money on such a site.

So you would turn down an investment that gave 25% returns when bonds are paying 2%? Free advice: you might want to get some professional help to manage your 401k.

Past performance doesn't guarantee future results

If anyone is putting a significant portion of their 401K into a highly speculative investment like an internet blog website, they definitely need professional help to manage their 401k.

Re:Buying a blog...? (1)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | 1 year,15 days | (#44290617)

Past performance doesn't guarantee future results

There is no absolute guarantee that the sun will come up tomorrow morning. But past performance suggests that it is a good bet.

Returns on this site may go below 25%, but with better promotion and ad targeting, it is also quite likely that both traffic and ad conversion rate could go up substantially, thus raising the return rate. On balance, it looks like a risky, but potentially lucrative investment opportunity, and if the editors were asking for investors rather than handouts, I would be willing to buy some shares.

Re:Buying a blog...? (1)

hawguy (1600213) | 1 year,15 days | (#44290789)

Past performance doesn't guarantee future results

There is no absolute guarantee that the sun will come up tomorrow morning. But past performance suggests that it is a good bet.

Returns on this site may go below 25%, but with better promotion and ad targeting, it is also quite likely that both traffic and ad conversion rate could go up substantially, thus raising the return rate. On balance, it looks like a risky, but potentially lucrative investment opportunity, and if the editors were asking for investors rather than handouts, I would be willing to buy some shares.

Or the editors and use rbase may decide that they don't like the new owner when he decides to muck around with the site to add better promotion and ad targeting and when they move elsewhere, all he's left with is a $6 domain name.

If you think it's such a great investment, talk your family and friends into pulling money from their houses so they can invest in this "sure thing" company.

Re:Buying a blog...? (1)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | 1 year,15 days | (#44291507)

Or the editors and use rbase may decide that they don't like the new owner ...

Read the summary. The editors are the new owners (or will be if they get the funding).

Re:Buying a blog...? (1)

hawguy (1600213) | 1 year,15 days | (#44291587)

Or the editors and use rbase may decide that they don't like the new owner ...

Read the summary. The editors are the new owners (or will be if they get the funding).

I read the summary and I didn't see anything about the editors cashing in their 401K's (or mortgaging their houses) to purchase the site with their own funds because they think it is a stable investment for their retirement.

Re:Buying a blog...? (1)

thegarbz (1787294) | 1 year,15 days | (#44294959)

There is no absolute guarantee that the sun will come up tomorrow morning. But past performance suggests that it is a good bet.

What a bizarre comparison. The sun has come up at a repeatable time consistently for as long as people were able to keep time.

Hackaday has drawn in a variable amount of revenue for a few years at a time when the hacking craze (same time as makezine and adafruit started) really boomed. Worst of all it really is a tech site, and the tech industry seems to change gears at the drop of a dime.

Somehow I don't think the two are comparable.

Re:Buying a blog...? (1)

tibit (1762298) | 1 year,15 days | (#44291291)

I consider ad-overladen sites to be an unethical exploitation of the limited lifetimes of the users/viewers. If I were to buy it, the ad revenue would likely go down not because of drop in readership, but because of significant curbing of the rather ridiculous level of corporate buttlicking shown there so far. Never mind that buying into 25% ROI is kinda like what happened with gold recently. It won't last.

Re:Buying a blog...? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,15 days | (#44293265)

Well, you certainly have it all figured out. You should contribute to their kickstarter campaign and get some of that sweet cash that's just there for the taking.

Re:Buying a blog...? (1)

isorox (205688) | 1 year,15 days | (#44294275)

Presumably if it brings in ~$125k in ad revenue per year, it'd be "worth" about 4 times that, or $500k. I personally think that even with that much yearly ad revenue I would not spend that kind of money on such a site.

So you would turn down an investment that gave 25% returns when bonds are paying 2%? Free advice: you might want to get some professional help to manage your 401k.

$125k revenue != $125k profit
$125k revenue for FY2012/13 != $125k revenue for FY2013/14

Re:Buying a blog...? (1)

gl4ss (559668) | 1 year,15 days | (#44295199)

that's just assuming it would continue.. that the editors would keep editing. though I suppose you could keep editing yourself..
but still, it's a risk. if you use the usual roi projections in .com world you're fucked up the ass with a hacksaw five times out of six.

(125k of ad revenue sounds like a lot for such a site).

also, good luck sourcing half a mil for it...

Re:Buying a blog...? (1)

MoFoQ (584566) | 1 year,15 days | (#44289529)

Because it does roughly $14K a month right now without much "pimping out to advertisers" (http://hackaday.com/2013/07/01/hackaday-looking-for-a-good-home/)

It is interesting that I mentioned the crowdfunding aspect a few weeks ago when the owner posted that he was looking to sell: http://hackaday.com/2013/07/01/hackaday-looking-for-a-good-home/#comment-1021672 [hackaday.com]

*sigh*....it's before pay-day so I'll have to wait.

Re:Buying a blog...? (2)

EvanED (569694) | 1 year,15 days | (#44289553)

They said that they were offered a revenue-sharing stream of $10K/month for 30 months. The reason they declined that, from what the editors were saying, was that it would leave too little revenue for other stuff. They also say that the current owner is using the revenue stream to fund other, unrelated startups.

If those are true, it's likely they're getting more than $10K/month. You're looking at 3-5 years to break even at the most if that were to continue. Hackaday has been around way longer than that.

Re:Buying a blog...? (1)

tibit (1762298) | 1 year,15 days | (#44289575)

What exactly does it mean to "buy" a blog?

Same as with doing an inter-bank transfer. A couple of entries in a couple of databases get changed. That's about it, if you want to be "exact" about it. Namely, the domain registration records will be changed, and the domain will be either re-linked to your (new) user account if you are keeping the registrar, or will be transferred to you. Same thing will happen at the hosting company: the hosts (if any) and the content will be transferred to your (new) user's account there. What $500k buys you, exactly, is maybe a dozen kilobytes worth of database pages changed :/ Of course it also buys you the opportunity to leverage a reasonably well-known brand name, but whether that's worth it or not, I can't say. As-is, the site suffers from design braindamage and makes me want to puke every time I see it.

Re:Buying a blog...? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,15 days | (#44289899)

Spot on though I am more amiable to the design then you it seems!

Re:Buying a blog...? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,15 days | (#44290171)

This is Stupid. They could just move to a new Domain-Name (and advertise Facts "we worked previously for hackaday".

Also. What do I get for funding this. The Rewards themselves are a Joke.

Re:Buying a blog...? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,15 days | (#44294225)

Do you like the website? If you do you might want to pay so it doesn't get turned to shit by the next owner trying to make a quick buck out of the current users. That's what you get, if you don't like it why the fuck did you even bother to look.

Re:Buying a blog...? (1)

citizenr (871508) | 1 year,15 days | (#44290351)

What exactly does it mean to "buy" a blog? Are they wanting to pay half a mil for a domain name?

no nonooo, they want US to pay half a mil so they can keep getting paid from ad money on a monthly basis.
They dont want to pay ANYTHING out of their pocket.

I said it many times in HAD comments - register hackperday.com and start fresh.

Re:Buying a blog...? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,15 days | (#44290603)

In September 2012, it was announced that Slashdot had been acquired by Dice Holdings, alongside other Geeknet websites including SourceForge and Freecode, for altogether $20 million in cash (corresponding to the overall revenue of the websites in 2011).

500k is chump change.

Re:Buying a blog...? (1)

thegarbz (1787294) | 1 year,15 days | (#44294921)

Wrong, wrong and wrong. They aren't selling the content. It's a blog. The content exists on other sites.

What they are selling is a following. They are selling many thousands of hits a day. They are selling a large number of regular users (myself included). They are selling a name that people recognise which will draw in advertising revenue.

In that respect they aren't doing anything out of the ordinary. They are selling a profit making business just like any other and given the following hackaday has they are selling it at quite a reasonable price too.

Ownership (4, Insightful)

d18c7db (1031260) | 1 year,15 days | (#44289527)

So the way I see it, the campaign initiator is asking a whole bunch of supporters to buy this site for him at a cost of $540000, the contributors will not be part owners or have any say in the direction the site is run. They'll just get some trinkets in return, stickers, T shirts or some free advertising for a year.

Re:Ownership (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,15 days | (#44289825)

You are correct. What was your point again?

Re:Ownership (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,15 days | (#44295487)

The point there is that the contributors, the people that make the site worth anything to any of those viewers eyeballs, won't get anything, will feel slighted, and will stop contributing. Result will be that the viewers and their accompanying eyeballs will leave. Anyone buying this site will be buying only a domain name.

Re:Ownership (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | 1 year,15 days | (#44289831)

When the initiator decides to issue stock, get back with me.

Re:Ownership (1)

Brian Benchoff (2984943) | 1 year,15 days | (#44290459)

That's a great solution to the problem of too many owners.

Issue stock. Yeah. Great idea.

Re:Ownership (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,15 days | (#44295361)

The only person that brought up that problem, or even thinks of it as one, is you. Rather self serving isn't it?

Re:Ownership (1)

flimflammer (956759) | 1 year,15 days | (#44289953)

Yeah?

They’re going to buy HackADay for us (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,15 days | (#44289641)

That's the article title they should have used.

Re:They’re going to buy HackADay for us (1)

Brian Benchoff (2984943) | 1 year,15 days | (#44291097)

Totally stealing this.

thefuck is Hackaday? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,15 days | (#44289699)

And why should I care?

Oh let me guess, it's a third-rate hive of ineptitude filled by poseur no-talent scum who trade off the word 'hack' and spend their 'working' hours creating content such has 'how to hack the grocery store by buying food when it is on sale'.

Correct?

Re:thefuck is Hackaday? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,15 days | (#44289783)

No you're totally off it's better than that just not 540,000$ better

OP Here (1)

ilikenwf (1139495) | 1 year,15 days | (#44289707)

Just wanted to say I don't have a stake in this either way, and I'm not contributing anywhere. I read Hackaday and live near Caleb Craft, and thus enjoy taking a peek from time to time.

Why Does Any Money Need To Change Hands? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,15 days | (#44289797)

If Hackaday shuts down, why don't the editors fire up another one and use their experience to compete with all the other sites that will spring up to take its place? It's not as if the Hackaday site is based on some complex or difficult-to-reproduce web site technology. People will always be making cool stuff, and will always be looking for a place to talk about the cool stuff they are making.

One fan's view point (4, Interesting)

mewsenews (251487) | 1 year,15 days | (#44289833)

I've read hackaday for years.

A couple weeks ago on July 1st, Caleb Kraft announced he was leaving [hackaday.com] and the site went for sale on the same day [hackaday.com] .

This was kinda suspicious for both things to happen at the same time especially because Caleb never explained why he left. HOWEVER, Caleb has posted to his personal site [calebkraft.com] that he's started a new job at EETimes.com. Not sure why that was worth keeping secret.

Still, the whole thing feels like the current owner is holding the site for ransom. The way it is being explained is that the profits from hackaday are being poured into other weblogs, but if this campaign is successful, a non-profit will be formed and advertising profits will be poured back into the site.

I don't understand why they don't just buy a new domain. The freakin site is made with wordpress, who cares, the community can migrate.

Re:One fan's view point (2)

AmiMoJo (196126) | 1 year,15 days | (#44290067)

The community isn't worth maintaining anyway. Most of the people posting either don't seem to know what they are talking about or are just trolling. Really, the level of trolling approaches YouTube at times, and the admins don't seem to be able to do anything about it.

I think the basic problem it that HAD was build around Arduino level readers, people who really don't have a lot of knowledge or understanding and gawk at fairly simple "hacks" that many of us do day-to-day in our jobs. The really knowledgeable ones feed down a trickle of information and plug-in Arduino shields for them to play with, but anyone looking for real debate or insight goes to places like the EEVBlog forums.

In other words HAD is really only worth what the advertising brings in. Caleb fancies himself as a dot-com half millionaire but his site is basically a badly written aggregation feed. People use it because it's convenient or they like trolling, but $500k is vastly overestimating the value.

It will be interesting to see what happens when they fail to reach their target, because they will then get nothing. Caleb will also be in line to get nothing, having pitched way too high.

Re:One fan's view point (2)

Brian Benchoff (2984943) | 1 year,15 days | (#44290439)

This isn't Caleb's idea. It's mine.

If the campaign fails to meet its goal, Jason will either sell it to someone else, or he'll keep running it like it is forever. If it does succeed, I'm not a dot com half millionaire. Jason gets the money. I just get the job of making Hackaday better than what it is now.

As far as the trolls... Yeah. We do a hands-off moderation policy. We might start thinking about some sort of 'voting' comment system if this thing succeeds.

Re:One fan's view point (2)

mirix (1649853) | 1 year,15 days | (#44291099)

Yep. 90% of the 'hacks' are terrible, most of the write-ups are terrible, and 95% of the comments are clueless or trolling.

Still some interesting things on occasion, though.

Re:One fan's view point (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#44301651)

I bet you're fun at parties too.

Re:One fan's view point (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,15 days | (#44292847)

Who bothers reading comments on there anyway? They are slightly better than youtube level. I might scan through them for interesting links, but generally it's just a bunch of bickering. JUst look at the projects, fuck the comments.

Re:One fan's view point (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,15 days | (#44294167)

I agree - the write ups are terrible - the editors can't edit, and they have a very thin technical knowledge. HaD could be great - if they invested in qualified writers and took the time to copy edit.

PS If you follow the threads on HaD you'll see that despite running a profitable site, they previously had the gall to ask for donations for a 3D printer... The level of profits only becoming apparent when the site went up for sale. Not straight up, not guys I would trust to do business with.

Re:One fan's view point (2)

Brian Benchoff (2984943) | 1 year,15 days | (#44290271)

Guy behind this whole mess here.

You might have noticed some really weird stuff on Hackaday recently. The two new additions to the Hackaday 'family' - the lifehacks and handmade subdomains - are Jason's idea. We weren't too thrilled with the lifehacks but I digress.

The straw that broke Caleb's back was the suggestion of a 'fashion hacks' sub. I'll admit what laqueristas can do is extremely impressive, but it's not really Hackaday, is it?

When the 'for sale' post went up, a whole bunch of people suggested doing a kickstarter or something. I did it, and that's where we are today.

Caleb went to EETimes, I'll still be at Hackaday even if this campaign doesn't succeed. I'd really like to make Hackaday better than what it is, and without the revenue going towards Jason's other startups, we can do that. We have the revenue and fanbase to do some really, really cool stuff.

Re:One fan's view point (1)

MoFoQ (584566) | 1 year,15 days | (#44292165)

well...that doesn't mean Caleb can't make a cameo appearance once in a while...shoot....you need his help for that old VW project we keep hearing about.

As a site builder (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,15 days | (#44289857)

As a site builder, I can understand wanting to sell it for $megabux and retire or at least pay off the house. As a somewhat frequent visitor to hackaday, there are a lot of nice kewel hacks (arduino, raspberry pi) that is more technical than ./ covers (knowing about fan-in, fan-out, identifying types of transistors, resistors, capacitors, fuseable links, prom/eprom/eeprom, watchdog timers, etc. I like the hacks, and a total for-profit company would kill the site (banning some contributors, allowing hacks on some hardware to get published, but not others, etc. A crowdsourced, open site would be best.

MIght as well get rid of my RSS (1)

Nyder (754090) | 1 year,15 days | (#44289907)

I like hackaday, been following it for years. But now that it is for sale, i might as well forget it. 99% that some corporation is going to buy it and ruin it.

Makers are big, hacking is big, somewhat popular site based on those 2? Ya, corporation is going to fuck it till it bleeds, then leave it for something else.

Re:MIght as well get rid of my RSS (4, Insightful)

Spy Handler (822350) | 1 year,15 days | (#44289987)

yeah, hope that never happens to Slashdot.

Re:MIght as well get rid of my RSS (1)

Jaruzel (804522) | 1 year,15 days | (#44294029)

You sir, made me spew my morning tea. Well done :)

Re:MIght as well get rid of my RSS (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | 1 year,15 days | (#44291267)

you know hack a day has been owned by a cooperation for the better part of its life right?

© 2007-2013 Mahalo.com Incorporated

Re:MIght as well get rid of my RSS (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,15 days | (#44294263)

If you don't want to see that happen why don't you kick some money to this indiegogo project to stop that from happening? If it doesn't reach the target you don't lose anything, if it does what you pay goes to supporting something you like. I don't read it often, but there is some interesting stuff there so I'll donate $10 to this, but contribute what it is worth to you.

Sure, I'll post some cash (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,15 days | (#44290199)

You just make sure I get a share of the revenue. Until then, fuck you and your kickstarter.

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