SAY Media Unloads Its Websites to Focus on Tech

'It was too difficult to build both businesses'

In a decision to move away from publishing, SAY Media announced today that it sold one of its most notable websites, ReadWrite, to Wearable World. In addition, it sold Remodelista and Gardenista back to their founders, Josh Groves and Julie Carlson.

The company told Digiday in November that it planned to offload its sites and focus on providing technology and services for online publishers. Michelle Panzer, SAY Media's vp of brand development and global marketing, told Adweek that many people mistook that to mean it was was changing course. In fact, she said, it's aligning itself with its main goal of "making the Internet a better place" with ad tech software and online publishing platforms.

"Owning online publications can certainly be profitable," she said. "For us, it was too difficult to build both businesses. There are a lot of media companies that are learning this quickly. Media companies that are saying they are creating their own CMS are finding it is not as easy to do."

Instead, SAY Media will focus on Tempest, the proprietary content management system it's been developing for the last four years. The company, which previously developed TypePad and Moveable Type, provides the platform for free to online publishers in exchange for the ability to manage and sell remnant ad inventory. It will still power ReadWrite, Remodelista and Gardenista, and continue sales operations and negotiations of native advertising opportunities for the later two.

Panzer added it was essential to pass the publications to owners who were a good fit for the existing editorial tone, which is why selling Remodelista and Gardenista back to the people who started them made sense.

As part of the Wearable World family, ReadWrite will bulk up its coverage of wearables, app-development platforms and the catchphrase "The Internet of Things"(or computing devices that exist within the Internet). It will also add Wearable World News writers to its reporting staff.

But ReadWrite eic Owen Thomas, who also became Wearable World's editorial director during the acquisition, was quick to point out ReadWrite has always covered these topics, which is why the partnership makes sense. 

"One doesn't need to change for the other," he said. "As a combined entity, we're going to cover new emerging technology that people need to make decisions about. ReadWrite would not have been interested if these weren't areas we hadn't already covered."

Thomas added that the majority of the editorial team made the transition between the owners, and that the publication was very satisfied with its new owners. 

"To look backwards is not really our way," he said.