Holding company IAC just released its fourth quarter earnings report, which includes positive numbers for Dotdash, the rebranded company formerly known as About.com — revenue increased 32 percent in the quarter (to $40.2 million), and it was up 44 percent (to $131 million) for the fiscal year.
Unlike those companies — and unlike The New York Times, which actually seems to be doing well — Dotdash isn’t really a news publisher. Instead, it focuses on the same kinds of evergreen, informational and how-to content that you used to find on About.com, now divided up across more vertically focused brands like Verywell (health and wellness) and The Spruce (home improvement).
Still, it’s worth highlighting a media business model that seems to be working. IAC attributes the improved financials (adjusted EBITDA was $21.4 million for the year, compared to a loss of $2.8 million in 2017) to “strong advertising growth across several verticals,” as well as affiliate commerce revenue.
“Dotdash has a disarmingly simple approach centered on quality content, site speed, and respectful monetization,” said IAC CEO Joey Levin in the letter to shareholders. “The company doesn’t buy traffic nor rely heavily on social networks. Dotdash’s brands simply help people to answer questions, solve problems and find inspiration when they’re searching for answers. Our readers come with specific intent, enabling us to connect advertisers to consumers based on stated interests using high-performing ads in a safe online environment.”
Levin added that Dotdash properties saw a total of 87 million unique visitors in December, compared to 51 million for About.com before the rebrand and new strategy.
Dotdash is also providing guidance for 2019, predicting revenue growth of 10 percent for the first quarter and 20 percent for the whole year, with adjusted EBITDA of $30 million to $40 million for the year.
Turning to other IAC properties, ANGI Home services (which owns Angie’s List) saw Q4 revenue increase 25 percent to $279 million, while Vimeo’s revenue increased 28 percent to $44.2 million.
In total, IAC brought in $1.10 billion in revenue for the quarter, a year-over-year increase of 16 percent, and beating analyst estimates of $1.07 billion. Adjusted EBITDA increased 40 percent, to $268 million.