|FlyerTalk Sold to Internet Brands|
FlyerTalk, one of the largest and most active travel and points related forums on the web, was sold this week to Internet Brands. IB owns travel related sites such as Wikitravel and Cruisemates.
I think this is a fairly significant event. Although, it does not appear to be a "retirement level" deal for Randy, the big corporate players involved shows a new level of interest in forums.
|...others joined in the interest of acquiring FlyerTalk including American Express, TripReports/Expedia. Travelocity/IGOUGO, Washington Post/Newsweek Interactive and Conde Nast Interactive. At the end of the day, FlyerTalk did not go to the highest bidder - as it was never a cash out play. The new owner - Internet Brands - wasn't even among the three highest offers, but I felt strongly that if I were to sell FlyerTalk, that they were the best partner for the members and myself and FlyerTalk's future. |
Discussion of the sale at FlyerTalk:
I got the email this morning. A big congrats to Randy and FlyerTalk.
Funny enough, there are a couple of long time WebmasterWorld members that I knew on FlyerTalk before I came over to WebmasterWorld.
I agree Brett - it is pretty big news. Forum community acquisitions are still rare.
FT is much different in two ways from traditional communities (like the social networking sites) you see bought and sold these days:
1) The userbase is ridiculously loyal. You have people who've been on FT for almost a decade.
2) The demographic of its membership is unbelievably rich - a marketers dream.
You know, one other thing I just thought of... FlyerTalk is the most used forum on mobile phones on the Internet. They have a very good wap interface and a userbase who knows technology well.
I wonder if that has anything to do with the acquisition. A lot of people are betting that travel is going to be the industry that makes mobile tip.
Yes big congrats, very helpful forum for travellers, especially frequent one's.
OK, speculation time: the founder is saying that it wasn't much $$...maybe since "all" they seem to have is a forum with loyal people that barely broke even last year. Care to guess?
A good sign, perhaps, for forum owners... Forums offer a lot of advantages to companies that can leverage the high traffic and pageviews, devoted user base, massive content generation, etc.
I've been a FlyerTalk regular for about 8 years. Yes, they have a large loyal userbase but without some significant changes which will likely be poorly received by their users, it will never be much of an income generator. I'm sure the reason why they became profitable last year is because that's when they implemented AdSense on their site. Those crappy run-of-network ads from Tribalfusion certainly weren't generating much revenue.
I really don't see how this acquisition makes business sense for Internet Brands.
I also post and use the info at flyertalk. Good for Randy on this deal.
Congrats to Randy! I guess Internet brands is a private company so we can't own stock in them :(
Flyertalk is a great forum for those of us who love to travel... I guess that is everyone.