The Top 20 Blog Buyouts That Earned Their Founders Millions

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Photo: deborah lam via Flickr

BI EDITOR’S NOTE: Some of the sales figures cited in this article are inaccurate, sometimes by an order of magnitude. Some of properties cited are also not “blogs.”    

When working on your business, don’t just think about how much money your company made that day.

Think about how much you’re going to make for investing an additional day into your business when you finally go to sell. Some of the following blogs were making $30,000 a day – now that’s what gets me excited about blogging.

The best part of these success stories isn’t so much the financial side. It’s the fact that people built something amazing, something to be proud of — the money is just a bonus. I’m reminded of the saying:

“Entrepreneurship is about living a few years of your life like most won’t, so that you can live the rest of your life like most can’t.”

This article was originally published on IncomeDiary.com and has been republished with permission.

Politicshome - Sold for $1.3 million

Founded: 2008

Year of sale: 2009

Approximate daily worth: $3,561

About the blog: Politicshome was founded just two years ago by Stephan Shakespeare, who is also the founder and CEO of YouGov. It is an Internet-based market research company. After just one year of the blog being online, Shakespeare sold the business to conservative politician Michael Ashcroft. The deal was worth an approximate $1.3 million.

19. GardenRant - Sold for $1.3 million

Founded: 1996

Year of sale: 2007

Approximate daily worth: $395.73

About the blog: GardenRant was formed by gardening enthusiast Susan Harris as a way to share her thoughts, tips and advice as well as event details and special promotions. The blog did amazingly well and was eventually bought by GardenWeb for a rough figure of $1.3 Million. Not bad for a blog about flowers. Never underestimate the power of any niche community, big or small.

18. Arseblog - Sold for $5 million

Founded: 2006

Year of sale: 2007

Approximate daily worth: $13,698

About the blog: Arseblog was created by Andrew Managan, a man with undying loyalty to the soccer team Arsenal FC. In 2007, Ole Ole made Andrew a $5 million offer he could not refuse. The site has since changed its name to Ole Ole.

17. World Hum - Sold for $6 million

Founded: 2001

Year of sale: 2007

Approximate daily worth: $2,739

About the blog: World Hum is a very highly regarded and award-winning magazine-style blog which was created by Jim Benning and Michael Yessis. The two were obsessed with travel and decided to create the blog as an outlet for their passion.

The blog covered all sorts of categories: how-to sections, question-and-answers, best travel locations, travel arrangements, and more. Eventually the Travel Channel made them an offer.

16. The Consumerist - Sold for $7 million*

Founded: 2005

Year of sale: 2008

Approximate daily worth: $7,305

About this blog: The Consumerist is yet another website developed by the Gawker Media Group. Joel Johnson was the editor-in-chief although the site was originally the idea of Nick Denton and Lockhart Steele. They decided to sell the consumerist to Consumer Media LLC when they were offered $7 Million.

*BI Editor's note: Based on our own information, this figure is too high by an order of magnitude.

15. Freakonomics - Sold for $8 million*

Founded: 2005

Year of sale: 2007

Approximate daily worth: $10,958

About the blog: Freakonomics was founded by Stephen J. Dubner and was sold just two years after it was created. Dubner was a professional journalist for the New York Times, and his blog was created after the success of his book, 'Freakonomics.' The website was eventually bought by Dubner's media company, The New York Times.

*BI Editor's note: Based on our own information, this figure is significantly too high.

14. Tree Hugger - Sold for $10 million

Founded: 2005

Year of sale: 2007

Approximate daily worth: $6,849

About this blog: Tree Hugger was the brainchild of Graham Hill, an environmentalist entrepreneur who knew how to use technology to his advantage. He managed to sell the blog to Discovery Communication.

13. Celebrity baby blog - Sold for $10 million

Founded: 2004

Year of sale: 2008

Approximate daily worth: $6,849

About the blog: Celebrity Baby blog was created by Danielle Friedland, covering just what its name suggests. Her website gained a very steady stream of visitors, and Friedland sold to Times Inc. The blog has changed names since to Babyrazzi.com.

12. Wonkette – Sold for $12 million*

Founded: 2004

Year of Sale: 2006

Approximate Daily Worth: $16,438

About the blog: Wonkette is a website that was established in January 2004. It was part of the Gawker Media Network, and its founding editor was Ana Marie Cox, former editor of Suck.com.

Gawker Media thought a downturn in the internet boom was on the horizon. Not wanting to lose all the money they had poured into the website, they sold it. The buyers were Ken Layne and his business partners, who payed $12 million. It's also worth mentioning that Ken Layne was editor of the site when he and his partners bought it.

*BI Editor's note: Based on our own information, this figure is too high by an order of magnitude.

Deadline Hollywood – Sold for $14 million

Founded: 2006

Year of sale: 2009

Approximate daily worth: $5,479

About the blog: Deadline Hollywood was a column in LA Weekly by Nikki Finke. It was an informative entertainment column covering lifestyles of the rich and famous. Finke decided to take her well-known section online; the site first went live in 2006. It was so popular that Mail Media Corporation bought it from her for $14 million. The website has since been renamed Deadline.com.

10. Bankaholic.com – Sold for $15 million

Founded: 2006

Year of sale: 2008

Approximate daily worth: $20,547

About the blog: Bankaholic is the creation of John Wu, who also created CB Land Investments. The website was an online banking marketplace that provided its customers with credit card offers, interest rates, and personal financial advice. The website eventually sold to BankRate and now has a hefty team of banking and financial professionals behind it.

9. Livejournal.com – Sold for $25 million

Founded: 1999

Year of sale: 2007

Approximate daily worth: $8,561

About the blog: LiveJournal is a virtual community where users can keep a blog or an online digital diary through their free, open-source server technology. They also had software that allowed users to easily incorporate calendars, polls, and guest writers into posts. The website sold to Six Apart.

8. Weblogs.com – Sold for $25 million

Founded: 2003

Year of Sale: 2005

Approximate Daily Worth: $34,722

About the blog: Weblogs Inc was created by Brian Alvey and Jason Calacanis, with the help of an investment from Mark Cuban. In the early days, the business was set up for professional readership. They also had a number of other websites running alongside Weblogs -- approximately a dozen websites in total. Weblogs was purchased by AOL.

7. Ars Technica – Sold for $25 million

Founded: 1998

Year of Sale: 2008

Approximate Daily Worth: $6,849

About the blog: Ars Technica was founded by Ken Fisher and quickly became one of the most authoritative blogs within the technology industry, providing news and reviews within its niche. The website was purchased by Conde Nast Publications for $25 Million in 2008, one decade after it was founded.

6. Tatter and Company – Sold for $30 million

Founded: 2002

Year of Sale: 2008

Approximate Daily Worth: $13,698

About the blog: Tatter and Company (TNC) was founded by Chang-Won Kim and Chester Roh and is a blogging platform for Korea. The company was bought by Google.

5. PaidContent – Sold for $30 million

Founded: 2002

Year of Sale: 2008

Approximate Daily Worth: $13,698

About the blog: PaidContent was founded by Rafat Ali and is an online resource for information, analysis, and news. Ali was a former journalist, so the website was a natural progression for him. PaidContent was brought by Guardian Media Group. Ali is still part of the company; he is currently working as an editor.

4. TechCrunch – Sold for $30 million

Founded: 2005

Year of Sale: 2010

Approximate Daily Worth: $16,438

About the blog: TechCrunch is a well-known technology and gadget web publication founded by Michael Arrington. The first content was published on June 11, 2005. In September 2010, Arrington sold to AOL.

3. Consumersearch - Sold for $33 million

Founded: 1999

Year of Sale: 2007

Approximate Daily Worth: $11,301

About the blog: Consumersearch was founded by Derek Drew and Carl Harmaan, who also owned a privately held corporation at the time. The website sold for $33 million as first reported by The New York Times. The buyers, About.com, are also owned by the New York Times Co.

2. Fotolog – Sold for $90 million

Founded: 2002

Year of Sale: 2007

Approximate Daily Worth: $49,315

About the blog: Fotolog was founded by Scott Heiferman, in 2002. The site began to have problems just three years later when the amount of visitors become too much for the website's servers. The website itself currently receives over 20 million monthly unique visitors and was sold to Hi-Media Group for $90 Million.

1. Ugo.com – Sold for $100 million

Founded: 1997

Year of Sale: 2007

Approximate Daily Worth: $27,397

About the blog: Ugo was founded in 1997 as Unified Gamers Online (UGO) by Chris Sherman. Action World Inc. bought them very early on and decided to rename the business. They changed the name to UGO Networks, but the name didn't stick for long. It was soon changed to Online Underground. Eventually, it was sold on to the Hearst Corporation for approximately $100 million.

Want to sell your blog for millions too? Then you had better get some followers:

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