The New York Times buying Wirecutter and Sweethome is so much more amazing than you think.
Adam Rifkin stashed this in Content is king.
There is real value in making a Consumer Reports-style Buyers Guide for the Internet.
Brian built incredibly useful sites that run on their own combo of trust and earnest nerdiness, offering up a killer utility to readers without asking for money or annoying everyone with advertisements. I use these sites at least once a month when I need to buy something—when I don’t have time or energy to spend an hour or two researching, and instead I just get whatever they say is the best product. I’ve never been disappointed in a purchase. Ever.
Brian says his entire online empire is built on about 1000 pages of content.
That’s pretty incredible, and know that those pages aren’t something someone tapped out in 10 minutes, but instead took dozens-to-hundreds of hours of painstaking research to compile, and they’re updated from time to time to keep them relevant through the years.
One thousand tests of devices and objects and services is pretty impressive, but if you think of it as just a content site, it’s not that many pages.
Wirecutter is unique among websites.
It sounds like Wirecutter and Sweethome were steadily increasing their revenue over the years as the ad-supported content business has been slowly burning down. Brian doesn’t lose money if readers use ad blockers to protect their bandwidth and security. His team of writers are paid well for their work. Even the NYT is reporting losses year after year from advertising so it’s a smart move to bring Brian’s sites into the organization and explore other options to support great tech journalism.
I don’t think anyone gives Brian the credit he deserves:
1. He single-handedly built his own empire without having to cater to advertisers or investors.
2. He built a site that made revenue in a way that was previously uncharted.
3. He built it according to his own rules, without needing to pressure writers and editors to publish as often as possible.
4. He built a brand and a site that launched many copycats but no one ever matched it.
5. His sites work thanks to trust built up between readers and writers, and it works because editors help maintain integrity since the day it launched.