Bye Bye to Ziff Davis (Again)

Bye-bye Ziff Davis Again

It seems that Ziff Davis just can’t keep their stuff together.  Ziff Davis, and all of their properties like PCMag and Geeks.com, have been sold to J2 Global for $167 million.  J2 offers cloud-based services, such as eFax and KeepItSafe.

I remember a time when you couldn’t buy any one of their properties for that amount, much less the entire company.  Of course, Ziff Davis used to own the geek-tastic ZDTV, which was then sold and transformed into Tech TV, which then was bought by G4, which is apparently now going out and featured on E!

The closure of ZDTV wasn’t the only time that Ziff Davis has been in trouble.  They filed for bankruptcy in 2008 and closed down the print version of PC Magazine as a result.  ZD was then aquired by Great Hill Partners (an equity firm) in 2010 for an estimated $150 million.  Since J2 is in the Cloud business it is probably more interested in ZD’s ad platform than keeping the  nerd-friendly content alive.

It’s interesting that the Ziff Davis brand name has remained the same, even though ownership has changed hands a few times.   Since ZD is passed around more often than Don‘s mom you think it would get a sullied reputation, again remarkably like Don’s mom.

It’s uncertain what J2 has in store for Ziff Davis.  Right now they want to keep things staus quo.  I do know that having a site being purchased spells eventual doom.  VoodooExtreme was recently canned by IGN (read about it here), and a few affiliate tech sites like motherboards.org have changed leadership when the owners sold their rights away.

One of the things that burns me as a consumer of tech is how Nerd media cannot seem to stay strong in a large popular format.  The tech from ZDTV was eventually watered down to video games, and even that couldn’t hold media attention. Websites seem to hold strong, but history has shown us that they aren’t safe with new owners, either.

Alan is a web architect, stand-up comedian, and your friendly neighborhood Grammar Nazi. You can stalk him on the Interwebs via Google+, Facebook and follow his ass on Twitter @ocmodshop.

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