AnandTech, the brilliantly super techie blog founded by recent Apple hire Anand Shimpi, has left the independent media club* after announcing its sale to Purch, the publishing company behind fellow tech sites Tom’s Hardware and Laptop Mag.
AnandTech made its name as an authority for in-depth hardware reviews, but branched out into mobile, software and general tech news over the years. Started over 17 years ago by a then teenaged Shimpi, it has been profitable from birth. The companies have not revealed the price of its acquisition, but a note from editor-in-chief Ryan Smith explains the strategy behind the move.
Smith said Shimpi met with a range of publishers over the past year before his retirement in August because they realized the site was in need of a larger organization’s resources in order to fulfill its potential.
While we had no issues competing with larger corporate owned sites on the content front, when it came to advertising we were at a disadvantage. Our advantage in quality allowed us to make progress, but ultimately it became a numbers game. The larger corporate owned sites could show up with a network of traffic, substantially larger than what AnandTech could deliver, and land more lucrative advertising deals than we were able to. They could then in turn fund a larger editorial operation and the cycle continues.
It sounds like AnandTech had no shortage of suitors, and Smith stressed that the deal will see it retain its editorial independence while enjoying the benefits of a “family whose combined traffic is eight times larger” than its own audience.
“AnandTech and Tom’s Hardware remain editorially independent, and though no longer competitors, the goal is to learn from one another,” Smith added.
It’s certainly been a transitional year for the site, what with Shimpi departing and passing the baton on to Smith and his team, but then 2014 itself has been a particularly notable one for online media.
AllThingsD became Re/Code with financial backing from NBCUniversal, VICE blew up and is considering an IPO next year, BuzzFeed raised $50 million from A16Z, The Verge made changes at the top, Gawker also shuffled its pack, The Information showed the potential of a subscription-based business model… and that’s just some of the year’s most significant developments.
Unlike most of those media mentioned above, however, AnandTech’s rise is a bit of a fairytale… a blog started by a tech-crazed kid has (long) grown into a legitimate media company. That’s quite something these days.
*Big fat disclosure while we’re on the subject of media acquisitions — and for those who have been living under a rock — TechCrunch is owned by AOL.