SAY Media has acquired popular tech blog ReadWriteWeb.
Founded in 2003 by Richard MacManus, ReadWriteWeb became one of the most-respected news sites in the tech world, establishing a voice that's often more serious and in-depth than its competitors.
At the same time, it never managed to overtake TechCrunch, the king of the Silicon Valley blogs, and traffic growth seems to have stalled. According to comScore, the site saw 766,000 unique U.S. visitors last month, compared to 837,000 in November 2010. Also in November, the site's best-known writer, Marshall Kirkpatrick (who was co-editor and vp of content), announced that he would be taking a reduced role so he could focus on his startup Plexus Engine.
While ReadWriteWeb might seem a bit vulnerable, SAY Media president Troy Young says that with the acquisition, SAY's tech sites (both those it owns and those that it sells advertising for) now reach 75 million consumers every month. "I think [ReadWriteWeb] has a great audience of business influencers and decision-makers," Young said. "I think it has a point of view, really passionate editors, everything we look for in a property."
And if some rebuilding is necessary, SAY is already off to an impressive start. As part of the news, it's announcing that former Business Insider editor Dan Frommer will be joining as editor at large. Frommer, like Kirkpatrick, is a tech journalist who couldn't resist the lure of startups—he left Business Insider in July to launch his own tech blog, SplatF (which runs advertising from SAY). Frommer will continue to write for SplatF as "a personal outlet" while also devoting much of his time to ReadWriteWeb, Young said. He added that Frommer and future additions to the editorial staff should help ReadWriteWeb broaden its scope to include more cultural and international news.
The look of ReadWriteWeb will probably change, too. Young plans to move the site onto SAY's publishing platform (SAY was created by the merger of video ad network VideoEgg and blog technology firm Six Apart). He previously outlined a vision for all of the company's properties that includes not just a distinctive editorial voice, but also clean, well-designed websites and premium, interactive ads.
Financial terms were not disclosed.
"ReadWriteWeb was always about what's next," Young said. "As we expand its horizons, it's too early to say exactly what it's going to be. We're going to spend the next couple of months figuring out where it can be the most impactful in the technology space."