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Dice Buys Geeknet's Media Business, Including Slashdot, In $20M Deal 466

Posted by timothy
from the always-the-last-to-know dept.
wiredmikey writes with the press-release version of news that we'll probably be updating as more details trickle down to the editors: "Dice Holdings (Owner of job sites including Dice.com) reported this morning that it has acquired Geeknet's online media business, including Slashdot and SourceForge. 'We are very pleased to find a new home for our media business, providing a platform for the sites and our media teams to thrive," said Ken Langone, Chairman of Geeknet. 'With this transaction completed, we will now focus our full attention on growing ThinkGeek.' Dice Holdings acquired the business for $20 million in cash. In 2011, the online media properties generated $20 million in Revenues." The AP has a small piece with the news, too. Update: 09/18 16:16 GMT by T : Ars Technica has a story up as well.
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Dice Buys Geeknet's Media Business, Including Slashdot, In $20M Deal

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  • Better Overlords? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by TheNinjaroach (878876) on Tuesday September 18, 2012 @10:36AM (#41374763)
    I hope Dice proves to be better corporate overlords than the ones that sent CmdrTaco packing.
  • by TheSpoom (715771) <slashdot@@@uberm00...net> on Tuesday September 18, 2012 @10:37AM (#41374773) Homepage Journal

    Already some discussion on this over at Hacker News [ycombinator.com].

    Anyone know if Rob would want to take back control of Slashdot if we ran a Kickstarter to get it back in the hands of someone who gives a shit?

    Not that I'm saying Dice will treat /. badly... but I don't have high hopes for innovation.

  • by Nemyst (1383049) on Tuesday September 18, 2012 @10:43AM (#41374883) Homepage

    Considering what "innovation" did to Lifehacker and other Gawker sites, I think the last thing you want is innovation.

  • Care to Elaborate? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn AT gmail DOT com> on Tuesday September 18, 2012 @10:44AM (#41374891) Journal

    This is still pretty new to us, but we've been looking at this as a positive thing

    Hey, I mean, you'll have to forgive me if I can't discern whether you're saying that under duress or while you're busily shredding documents or while you're issuing cyanide capsules or if you're genuinely optimistic about the move. So if you have the time, I'd like to know what aspects of this make your statements genuine. As you noted with the Gawker thing, I get a little uptight about my small little things being bought up and consumed by bigger fish. The bigger the fish that eats you up, the more layers of direction come down upon you. People complain about comments being un-editable and static but I love that. It makes this feel permanent, it allows me to verbally pin people down, etc. But if Executive A five layers removed from you decides it needs to be his way, what are you gonna do? On top of that, how would you have handled the Microsoft source code and Scientology spats if there was someone with money looming over you reminding you of the stakes and telling you to back down?

    -- we were worried earlier that if we were rolled into a business that focused entirely on news, we'd be expected to conform to company standards -- see the Gawker sites, for example.

    Okay, fair enough. However, I know very little about Dice. And to counter your argument, an advertising company bought MySpace [slashdot.org] which used to be a social networking site. And now, surprise surprise, it's more ads than user created spaces [myspace.com]. You can argue that MySpace was dead already. You can argue that some change had to be made. But I want to know why you feel safe to pick this out to be a plus and not a minus for my overall Slashdot addiction. How do I know Slashdot isn't going to become a vector tool to get eyeballs over to Dice's bread and butter jobs site?

    If you have doubts or genuine concern, I'm not asking you to be the turkey with the long neck when farmer Dice comes around looking for his first meal so feel free to reply as Anonymous Coward. I mean, I'm not talking about my employer on web forums so I understand but your arguments should stand on their own -- sans Slashdot icon.

  • Re:$20,000,000? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Tharsman (1364603) on Tuesday September 18, 2012 @10:46AM (#41374915)

    I think slashdot is not even worth the cost of the MP3 player battery for them. They likely aquired the whole bag in order to get their hands in SourceForge.

  • by samazon (2601193) on Tuesday September 18, 2012 @10:48AM (#41374931)
    God forbid the news services of /. be held to any kind of standards. Sorry, but I was a reporter for several years and you guys could use someone with a little editorial background on your staff. Not that I know anything about any of you guys, but you let a whole lot of bias slide through these so-called news stories. (Hint: A news article with bias is called an opinion article, and has a dedicated location on most reputable journalistic publications quite separate from the "news" topics.) The "company standards" of Dice seem quite worse, though, so I'm on the "leave /. alone" bandwagon. Too bad Vice didn't buy it, I'm quite fond of Motherboard.
  • by TheSpoom (715771) <slashdot@@@uberm00...net> on Tuesday September 18, 2012 @10:49AM (#41374961) Homepage Journal

    Both extremes are bad. If they just leave it completely on its own and ride its ad revenue into irrelevance, that's just as bad as bulldozing it and rebuilding, Digg-style.

    As Futurama's "God" once said, you have to use a light touch. Here's hoping Dice knows what they're getting into.

  • Digg is better now (Score:2, Interesting)

    by SuperKendall (25149) on Tuesday September 18, 2012 @11:24AM (#41375455)

    Digg v4.0 was a disaster. But the new Digg is better than the old site, which was being utterly overrun by sock-puppets and people gaming front page runs.

    When they dropped comments NOTHING of value was lost.

    I actually read digg.com more often than I used to because the new system works better at ferreting out interesting stories.

  • by samazon (2601193) on Tuesday September 18, 2012 @11:26AM (#41375483)
    Which is unfortunately why print newspapers are going out of business left and right. You want the short story? I'm working as a GIS hack because I was kicked out of my school journalism program for writing an article about racism in the Greek system, left my first reporting job because my editor caved to an angry advertiser and allowed a retraction to be published that outright called me an incompetent reporter (incidentally, what he was referring to was my publication of a list of low-performing programs in a story about a series of budget cuts that specifically called for elimination of low-performing programs. Six months later, the programs were cut.) and the job I was offered after that vanished six months after I took it, because the investors in the newspaper decided they'd rather have a tax break than the small profits we made. There's no market for true and honest journalism in the world, and now I tell people which property is theirs so that they can sue their neighbors. At least /. is reflexive - it's only as good as what "we" put into it. For now.
  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn AT gmail DOT com> on Tuesday September 18, 2012 @11:27AM (#41375503) Journal

    The Dice folks simply said, "Let them talk."

    That's a great promising attitude and good to hear as long as they weren't twirling a diamond studded ivory cane while sipping Hennessy in their top hat and monocle as they spat it out ;-)

    I'm sitting in a conference room right now next to a gentleman from Dice, and he's just been curious what people are saying; hasn't suggested any comments or messaging at all.

    Okay, I would say one thing to him: "There are these nebulous things that set Slashdot apart from the other news sites like Reddit, Digg, etc. These things cannot really be quantified well. Something's can like the comment and moderation system. Somethings cannot like the nice blend of stories and story types on the frontpage (I think the FAQ called it a "breakfast burrito"?). So your message to him should be that the Slashdot staff knows these things and Dice does not. But most importantly the second those things go away, then you are no different from Reddit or CNN's Tech Site or whomever. And it's going to be all the much easier for me to just roll on over to the biggest site that has the same implementation of how I get my news. I'll take my book reviews, comments and ball and play elsewhere. Your autonomy protects that. I love that you stood up to Microsoft and tried to stand up to Scientology. I don't think someone with money at risk looking over your shoulder would have allowed that.

    As far as being consumed by a bigger fish, keep in mind that Geeknet (aka SourceForge aka VA, etc) was a bigger fish itself.

    Totally agree. Honestly, it felt like you guys might have lost some of your autonomy in that move. I don't criticize it, I don't know the whole story but I wouldn't believe you if you said it had no effect at any point on Slashdot-related decisions. Personally, I prefer a lot of little fish for me to pick from even if it means competing standards and difficulty communicating across sites. I don't like one massive behemoth that dictates what the rules are to everyone who wants to play. So it's a natural worriment to me when yet another bigger fish gobbles you up. Hopefully it isn't negative but I can't help but default to it being negative.

    I'm thrilled at the possibility of getting a bigger investment into Slashdot, both from an engineering perspective and an editorial perspective.

    I will come back to a site that is under such heavy load that I cannot reach it. I will not come back to a site that is yet another news aggregator no matter how quick their servers are.

    I'm glad that they're concerned about the user experience. I'm glad that you're cautiously optimistic (although I also feel like you haven't a choice). My concise fears are about the questions that come down that say "How can we direct more eyeballs at our job listings or perhaps inject job listings into Slashdot without risking too much of the overall Slashdot user experience?" Will you play that game?

  • by AwesomeMcgee (2437070) on Tuesday September 18, 2012 @11:52AM (#41375841)
    It's an entrenched brand name, the website isn't the point, they can slap the brand name on all kinds of things and many people associate the name alone with tech smart people without really ever coming here. They'll start advertising 'slashdot quality' level resumes to their clients. Then they can sell the brand name for $3million to some hardware company who can start slapping it on mice, keyboards, and web cams. The brand name can be productized, the users who are leary of the slightest bit of overlordness however have no value-add. They'll try to sell access to our personal info and monitoring services to businesses, but most of us will have seen the writing on the wall by then and left.
  • Re:Who cares (Score:5, Interesting)

    by TopSpin (753) on Tuesday September 18, 2012 @12:28PM (#41376351) Journal

    This site jumped the shark when it was renamed Slashdot from Dips and Chips :P

    Chips & Dips supposedly... I wouldn't know as I have no memory of it.

    A lot of low UIDs replying to this story. Grow or die, as they say. Problem is I'm not sure Slashdot scales. I know it is really easy to upset the user base. It won't take many blunders to kill off what is still here.

    It's up to you Dice. You're definitely the bull in the proverbial China Shop now. Someone with more vision than I might find a way to build on the Slashdot brand without wrecking it, but that will take talent beyond anything we've seen so far.

  • by SuperKendall (25149) on Tuesday September 18, 2012 @02:17PM (#41377947)

    You and I know that. Does Dice?

  • Re:recruiter spam (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Soulskill (1459) Works for Slashdot on Tuesday September 18, 2012 @04:16PM (#41379647) Homepage

    No. You have my word on that.

  • by fm6 (162816) on Tuesday September 18, 2012 @06:10PM (#41380943) Homepage Journal

    So you're saying that Slashdot died in 1999, when Rob sold it to Andover? Which is a couple years before I even started using it.

    The dumb thing is that site revenues when it was still Rob's personal site were about $20K. Not even enough to make it a full time job for him. That sale transformed his hobby into a serious business.

    I'm reminded of a Marine Corps joke. The first recruitment drive occurred at Tun Tavern on November 10, 1775, The story goes that the first marine to sign up looked at the next guy to come into the tavern, sighed, and said "Oh, it's not like the old Corps!"

    That said, I"m not optimistic about this sale. DICE runs the most appalling useless, spammy recruitment site in the business. And that's saying a lot. I assume they're good at making money, but it's not clear to me how. It certainly has nothing to do with maintaining a useful web site.

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