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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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  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn@nOspAM.gmail.com> on Tuesday September 18, 2012 @11:28AM (#41374651) Journal
    *looks at Dice's News Page [dice.com]*

    *looks at Slashdot*

    *begins nervously wringing his hands*
    • by radiumsoup (741987) on Tuesday September 18, 2012 @11:33AM (#41374715)

      the userbase of /. is so well entrenched, modifying the brand too much would surely kill it.

      see: Gawker

    • by Soulskill (1459) Works for Slashdot on Tuesday September 18, 2012 @11:33AM (#41374719) Homepage

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

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

        by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn@nOspAM.gmail.com> on Tuesday September 18, 2012 @11:44AM (#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.

        • by crazyjj (2598719) * on Tuesday September 18, 2012 @11:51AM (#41374995)

          while you're busily shredding documents or while you're issuing cyanide capsules

          I think you just described a typical day at Yahoo.

        • by Soulskill (1459) Works for Slashdot on Tuesday September 18, 2012 @12:03PM (#41375145) Homepage

          Well, I'll answer what I can; we editors are not part of the decision-making process, so I first heard this news only a few hours ago myself. This is my reaction from what I've heard today from the higher-ups. Duress isn't a factor -- in fact, one of the quotes from the meeting I most liked was in response to a question about whether we were posting news of the announcement on Slashdot, and how the community would react. The Dice folks simply said, "Let them talk." 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.

          As far as being consumed by a bigger fish, keep in mind that Geeknet (aka SourceForge aka VA, etc) was a bigger fish itself. If you think about Geeknet's business, it was rather broadly spread. Slashdot's a news site, ThinkGeek's an e-commerce business, Sourceforge is its own thing. They have common roots, but they don't really go together. I've been aware of Dice, but not terribly familiar with it, but wouldn't you say its business would tend to fit Slashdot better than ThinkGeek?

          As far as the MySpace situation.. well, not all companies are alike, and not all companies see value in the same way. The crew currently running things is more concerned about the Slashdot user experience than some others have been in the past, and that's been a plus. Obviously, I can't see the future, so I don't know how it's all going to play out. But my initial impression is positive. I'm thrilled at the possibility of getting a bigger investment into Slashdot, both from an engineering perspective and an editorial perspective.

          • by SuperKendall (25149) on Tuesday September 18, 2012 @12:20PM (#41375363)

            This is my reaction from what I've heard today from the higher-ups. Duress isn't a factor

            The problem is they would say that no matter what. Higher ups always use major change as an opportunity to say there are no troubles anywhere. It could be true, but it could just as easily not be true.

            If you think about Geeknet's business, it was rather broadly spread. Slashdot's a news site, ThinkGeek's an e-commerce business, Sourceforge is its own thing. They have common roots, but they don't really go together. I've been aware of Dice, but not terribly familiar with it, but wouldn't you say its business would tend to fit Slashdot better than ThinkGeek?

            No. If you think about it what SlashDot, SourceForge and ThinkGeek had in common was a core group of users that was very similar. That meant leadership when thinking what to do with all of the properties had only one audience to keep in mind.

            Slashdot users are just a tiny subset of people Dice serves. The general concern would be that there might be an attempt to bring Slashdot to a more general audience since that is what the people that run Dice understand - the broad market, not just the technical niche.

            I hope you are right and they really are thinking about carrying on as before. I expect some change is inevitable, but again I'm hoping it's not some kind of push to bring in more general users.

          • by jenningsthecat (1525947) on Tuesday September 18, 2012 @12:23PM (#41375437)

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

            Translation: "The walls have ears, and I haven't yet figured out my bailout strategy."

            • Soulskill: ROT13 in your head! He will have no idea what you're typing! You can do it!
              Are you in danger?
              Do you think you can take the shill?
          • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn@nOspAM.gmail.com> on Tuesday September 18, 2012 @12:27PM (#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 Soulskill (1459) Works for Slashdot on Tuesday September 18, 2012 @01:00PM (#41375945) Homepage

              I'll make sure he sees your comment.

              I understand your worries about our autonomy. As an editor, it's a worry I've had for years, any time a part of the organization has changed. It's part of the job description. Cautiously optimistic is a good way to put it. Here's another reason why I feel that way: they clearly know what Slashdot is like; if they wanted to change how we do things, it would be much easier for them to just fire us all and bring in new people who don't already have very strong opinions about what Slashdot should be.

              To be frank, I have no idea if or how Slashdot and Dice will be integrated. I don't have any information about it, and I don't know that anybody does. Perhaps the 'Jobs' link at the top of the page under Channels will change. I assume there will be a link in the footer. Sorry, I wish I had more information to give you. All I can promise is that we editors will continue to fight for user experience.

          • by Zero__Kelvin (151819) on Tuesday September 18, 2012 @01:34PM (#41376455) Homepage

            " I'm sitting in a conference room right now next to a gentleman from Dice ..."

            Does yuor frend from Dice understand stenography? Because often I find innocent responses mght have hidden meaning.

        • 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?

          Well, considering /. still doesn't support unicode, I think they can say "too hard, can't be done" and get away with it.

      • by eyrieowl (881195)
        Gawker has standards?
    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 18, 2012 @11:36AM (#41374765)

      *looks at Dice's News Page [dice.com]*

      *looks at Slashdot*

      *begins nervously wringing his hands*

      What's the worst they can do?

      Hire editors?

    • by crazyjj (2598719) * on Tuesday September 18, 2012 @11:40AM (#41374821)

      You'll know there's real trouble when they actually start censoring comments, instead of just allowing users to mod them. The day that Natalie Portman sex jokes, a racist comment claiming Apple is being run by "a bunch of niggers," or a good old-fashioned flamefest is replaced on /. with a bunch of "This post was removed due to Dice content standards violations" boilerplate is the day a lot of us leave Slashdot for good. Here's to hoping that day never comes.

    • by vlm (69642)

      On Dice.com "GitHub for Enterprise, Yes, Enterprise
      When I talk to developers, they go on and on about how Github is one of the most amazing resources"

      Guess what dice just bought today... yes, sourceforge. Great product placement guys. Heck of a job.

    • by MRe_nl (306212) on Tuesday September 18, 2012 @11:41AM (#41374837)

      Dice Holdings has acquired the online media business of Geeknet. This includes such notable tech sites as Slashdot, SourceForge and Freecode.

      The acquisition price is $20 million, which the companies say is the same amount the properties generated in revenue in 2011.

      In case you're unfamiliar with the sites, Slashdot is a user-generated tech news site. You used to hear the term "slashdotted" a lot, when as site got so much traffic from the site that its servers crashed. There's actually a sizable Wikipedia entry about the "Slashdot Effect".

      SourceForge is an open sources software site for developers, and Freecode is a large index of Linux, Unix and cross-platform software and mobile apps.

      Slashdot gets over 5,300 comments a day and 3.7 million unique visitors per month. SourceForge gets 40 million unique monthly visitors, and about 80% of them are from outside of the United States, according to Geeknet. Freecode gets about 500,000 unique visitors per month.

      "The acquisition of these premier technology sites fits squarely into our strategy of providing content and services that are important to tech professionals in their everyday work lives," said Dice Holdings Chairman, President and CEO Scot Melland. âoeThe SourceForge and Slashdot communities will enable our customers to reach millions of engaged tech professionals on a regular basis and significantly extends our company's reach into the global tech community.â

      "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 Geeknet Chairman Ken Langone. "With this transaction completed, we will now focus our full attention on growing ThinkGeek."

  • by MetalliQaZ (539913) on Tuesday September 18, 2012 @11:30AM (#41374677)

    As in the retail sales? That doesn't give me a warm and fuzzy feeling for Slashdot...

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by larry bagina (561269)
      Va Research aka VA Linux aka VA Software aka SourceForge Inc aka GeekNet is a clusterfuck of failure. Like the Banjamin Button of companies, going from $320/share to under $1 in 2011. (They would have been delisted but the rules were temporarily suspended after 9/11). And now they're a web store that could be run by the "CEO" in his spare time.

      Does anybody buy their shit? I know some ./ people did to support slashdot but other than their ads here, I wouldn't know of them.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 18, 2012 @11:30AM (#41374685)

    Are you telling me that Slashdot is worth less than a cheapy mp3 player full of songs? Sheesh! To Dice: if it ain't broken, don't "fix it".

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

      by jigamo (1554711) on Tuesday September 18, 2012 @11:43AM (#41374867)

      In this article [theverge.com], it mentions that the revenue for Slashdot, SourceForge, and Freecode (the 3 acquisitions) was $20 million last year. I'm not totally sure what it means to sell them for 1 year's revenue, but the article interpreted that fact as as a suggestion of trouble within the 3 sites.

      • Multiples (Score:5, Informative)

        by sjbe (173966) on Tuesday September 18, 2012 @12:13PM (#41375269)

        I'm not totally sure what it means to sell them for 1 year's revenue

        Buyouts and mergers are typically done as a multiple of some portion of the earnings or revenue of the company. It's a quick and dirty way to estimate the value of a company without doing a lot of math. Typical multiples for companies are between 0.8-1.2X annual revenue or 3-5X annual EBITDA (earnings before taxes, interest, depreciation and amortization). The multiple is usually adjusted up or down depending on the prospects of the company, the industry it is in as well as the economic climate. Software companies might command a higher multiple than a bricks & mortar retailer. Comparing buyout multiples to historic trends is a good way to identify bubbles as well as gauge the economic climate.

        A multiple of 1X annual revenue is a fairly typical price to pay for a company. Doesn't necessarily mean it is a good price but it is about what I would expect someone to pay. In short, I wouldn't read too much into the price paid.

      • Re:$20,000,000? (Score:5, Informative)

        by pavon (30274) on Tuesday September 18, 2012 @12:16PM (#41375297)

        According to an article on TechCrunch [techcrunch.com], these three sites have a yearly profit (EBITDA) of $5 million. From what I've read the purchase price (3*profits + some) is typical of acquisitions of mature companies. It is neither insane dot-com buyout (expecting unrealistic growth), or clearance corner liquidation of assets (expecting to bleed it till it dies).

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

      by Tharsman (1364603) on Tuesday September 18, 2012 @11:46AM (#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.

    • To Dice: if it ain't broken, don't "fix it".

      That has never been the motto here. Why would it take hold now?

    • I suspect Slashdot was a secondary consideration - the other assets seem more of interest to a company like Dice.

  • Oblig (Score:5, Funny)

    by broginator (1955750) on Tuesday September 18, 2012 @11:31AM (#41374697)
    I for one welcome our new Dice overlords.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 18, 2012 @11:31AM (#41374701)

    Had to be said.

  • by ip_freely_2000 (577249) on Tuesday September 18, 2012 @11:33AM (#41374717)
    Did someone have a casino loss to pay off?
  • by Bill Dimm (463823) on Tuesday September 18, 2012 @11:34AM (#41374729) Homepage

    Dice,

    Please preserve the old stories and comments at their current URLs instead of running over the place with a bulldozer like the acquirers of Digg did. Many of us have hundreds of bookmarks that we don't want to see broken.

    Thanks,
        Everyone

  • Better Overlords? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by TheNinjaroach (878876) on Tuesday September 18, 2012 @11:36AM (#41374763)
    I hope Dice proves to be better corporate overlords than the ones that sent CmdrTaco packing.
  • by RapidEye (322253) on Tuesday September 18, 2012 @11:37AM (#41374771) Homepage

    Save us CmdrTaco, you're our only hope!

  • by TheSpoom (715771) <{ten.00mrebu} {ta} {todhsals}> on Tuesday September 18, 2012 @11:37AM (#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.

  • Leave it alone (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Psykechan (255694) on Tuesday September 18, 2012 @11:37AM (#41374785)

    Dear Dice,

    Take a look at the history of Digg to see what happens when you mess with a community site. You have a choice to make. If you screw it up, people will leave.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 18, 2012 @11:42AM (#41374851)

    I for one welcome our new polyhedral overlords. May they smite our enemies with the pointyness of a d4 and bathe us in the glory of a d100

  • by eagee (1308589) on Tuesday September 18, 2012 @11:43AM (#41374885)
    I honestly don't have a problem with Dice, they seem like a fine company. It's just that slashdot is the last place on the internet I still go for nerd news that isn't mostly crap. I wish it still had real humans behind it instead of a faceless corporation. *sigh*
  • by SuperKendall (25149) on Tuesday September 18, 2012 @11:46AM (#41374905)

    10 ) Consolidates Slashdot and Thinkgeek into ThinkSlash, you can moderate items but you also get promoted product placements under every +5 post.

    9 ) Last answer on polls now always "Man I could use a new job".

    8 ) All posts with word "Monster" auto-modded to -1.

    7 ) User profile now includes mandatory job history and expertise fields.

    6 ) Tired of too many Apple stories? Too bad.

    5 ) Freed of need to bring in ad revenue because of Dicean sugar daddy, Slashdot now works full time on original goal - Cowboy Neal as first man on Mars.

    4 ) Anyone with a five digit UID or lower gets to be a bit player in the next Dice.com SuperBowl commercial.

    3 ) Troll posts now forwarded to employer to free up jobs for more highly moderated users.

    2 ) Big plans for edgier SlashDot after future additional purchase of SuicideGirls.com

    1) JOBS FOR EVERYONE!

  • by finkployd (12902) on Tuesday September 18, 2012 @11:58AM (#41375075) Homepage

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

    • Re:Who cares (Score:5, Interesting)

      by TopSpin (753) on Tuesday September 18, 2012 @01:28PM (#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 damn_registrars (1103043) <damn.registrars@gmail.com> on Tuesday September 18, 2012 @12:19PM (#41375345) Homepage Journal
    I would presume that they would have had to pay more to get the geeknet holdings without slashdot.
  • I for one (Score:3, Funny)

    by mandark1967 (630856) on Tuesday September 18, 2012 @12:27PM (#41375491) Homepage Journal
    welcome our tumbly, six-sided overlords.
  • by jenningsthecat (1525947) on Tuesday September 18, 2012 @12:58PM (#41375899)

    From the news piece on TechCrunch: [techcrunch.com]

    "Dice has been talking about building content and user engagement to be top of mind and more integral to professionals doing work, and if you think about SourceForge and Slashdot, it’s about user engagement to help you do your job... We don’t want to change the experience today. What will happen over time is that the Dice.com site is will operate more seamlessly connected to these sites. But the sites themselves will keep their look and feel and will run on their own... That absolutely includes editorial independence. We think that’s really key. We don’t profess to add much from an editorial standpoint. We will give the user bases on our sites and those the ability to interact with each other. Our goal here is to make them part of the overall tech and engineering experience at the company."

    Translation: 'We are Borg. You will be assimilated.'

    Damn. I'm gonna miss this place.

  • by ctrl-alt-canc (977108) on Tuesday September 18, 2012 @12:58PM (#41375909)
    1) Buy Geeknet
    2) ? ? ?
    3) Profit!

    Now I am curious to learn about phase two...

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