Over the past several years AnandTech has grown to be much more than just a PC hardware review site. In fact, we consider ourselves to be just as much about the new mobile world as we do about the old PC world. We leveraged our understanding of component and system architecture in bringing a deeper, more analytical look to mobile silicon and devices. As we continued to invest in our mobile coverage and expertise, we found that readers, mobile component and device makers responded quite well to our approach.
AnandTech’s focus grew, but we quickly ran into a bottleneck when it came time to monetize that mobile content. Our mobile content did a great job of helping to grow the site (as well as bring new eyeballs to our traditional PC coverage as well). 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.
AnandTech has been profitable since its inception; it’s been on a great growth curve these past couple of years and we’ve always been able to do more with less, but lately there’s been an increased investment in high quality content. It wasn’t that long ago where the only type of content seeing real investment was shallow, poorly researched and ultimately very cable-TV-news-like. More recently however we’ve seen a shift. Higher quality content is being valued and some big names (both on the publishing and VC fronts) have been investing in them. Honestly we haven’t seen a world like this in probably over a decade.
Before his departure, Anand spent almost a year meeting with all of the big names in the publishing space, both traditional and new media players. The goal was to find AnandTech a home with a partner that had a sustainable business model (similar to AnandTech’s), but could add the investment and existing reach to allow the site to better realize its potential. That search led to a number of interesting potential partners; it was a refreshing experience to say the least knowing that there are groups in the world who really value good content. Ultimately that search brought AnandTech to Purch.
Purch met the requirements: they have a sustainable business model, are profitable and have the sort of reach AnandTech needs to really hit the next level. More fundamentally however, Purch’s values are in line with AnandTech’s. In fact, it wasn’t that long ago that Purch acquired one of AnandTech’s biggest competitors in the late 1990s: Tom’s Hardware. Purch had already demonstrated a value for the sort of deep, long form content AnandTech was known for. In meeting with the Purch business and editorial teams, there was a clear interest in further developing AnandTech’s strengths as well as feeding back AnandTech’s learnings into the rest of the Purch family.
AnandTech and Tom’s Hardware remain editorially independent, and though no longer competitors, the goal is to learn from one another. To further invest in the areas that make us different, and together with the rest of the Purch family help to bring a higher standard of quality to the web.
The AnandTech team is staying in place and will continue to focus on existing coverage areas. We’re not changing our editorial policies or analytical approach and have no intentions of doing so. The one thing that will change is our ability to continue to grow the site. This if anything starts from the top; with a publisher to more directly handle the business of AnandTech, this frees me up to spend more time on content creation and helping the rest of our editors put together better articles. And in a hands-on business like journalism that benefit cannot be overstated.
AnandTech was an incredibly powerful force as an independent publisher, but it now joins a family whose combined traffic is eight times larger than what AnandTech was on its own. Our goal is to continue to invest in what we feel is the right approach to building high quality content; now we have an even greater ability to do just that.