Ars Technica has many things, from an audience of nearly 8 million monthly uniques to an affluent, educated readership of engaged hard-core techies. What it hasn’t had—until now—is a dedicated advertising staff.
Founded by Ken Fisher in 1998 and bought by Condé Nast for a reported $25 million in 2008, Ars’ following results in four out of five readers visiting daily, according to the site. Last year, its 27,300-word review of Apple’s Mac OS X Lion got more than 3 million pageviews and sold 15,000 copies as a $5 Kindle e-book, also per the site.
Now, Condé Nast has decided it’s time for Ars, which had been sold by Wired’s sales staff, to sell itself. The new team will bill Ars as “the biggest site you don’t know about.”
Fisher said the end of the recession and strong advertiser interest in the online community contributed to the timing. “When [Condé Nast] purchased Ars, it had big plans,” he said. “Now that everything’s lined up, it’s time to go.”
The sales team will have a bigger, fresher-looking product to sell too. Ars is adding several new editorial people and getting a redesign in May that Fisher said would give its long-form journalism more exposure and expand its coverage of topics like security and gadgets.
Wired publisher Howard Mittman, who will continue to oversee Ars, said he saw the redesign helping to attract new ad clients to the site.
“I have no illusions we’re going to have fashion advertisers,” he said, [but] “as we scale up, I think there’s a real chance we could start to attract advertisers who would not think of us before.”