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Slashdot Acquired by Andover.net 428

I'm sure a lot of you knew it was coming. The steady stream of emails asking "When is Slashdot gonna IPO" and messages from VCs pretty well proves that you guys knew it as well as I did. Well the cost and overhead of running Slashdot independently finally began to overwhelm us. After much deliberation and careful analysis, we're excited to announce that we've been acquired by Andover.net. Read more to learn what this means.

Why did you do this?

Slashdot keeps growing. The overhead and costs associated with running this beast has become astronomical. Hemos and I work marathon weeks, and there still isn't enough time to get everything done. There are always banner ads needing selling, stories needing posting, perl needing hacking, and readers with questions needing answering. Besides that, our single channel ISDN connection is awfully saturated, and the "Business" work of running this website is beginning to be nearly as much work as the "Website" part of the site.

We had 2 options: get cash from some investors and hire a staff, or or find a company that we felt understood what we wanted to accomplish here, and use their money to hire help.

Hiring our own staff would mean hiring suits and marketing people. We decided that simply being acquried would allow someone else to worry about the suits and marketroids- we would simply benefit from their existing business infrastructure, and we could concentrate on what we already know how to do: Run a website.

What do we intend to do? Well for starters we'll be able to pay several of the guys who have been volunteering their time for so long. Plus, we'll be able to hire people to help sell banner ads, and the administer the servers, and maybe to debug code. Basically, a support staff so that Hemos and I can simplify our lives, and Slashdot won't have to depend on us 24/7. And we have new things that we want to do on Slashdot, so offloading tasks from me will us to focus on other things that we want to do around here.

We'll start doing things like content mirroring. We'll have more servers, and hopefully soon servers will pop up on each coast. And we'll be able to have experts help pull it all together. The end result will be a faster, more stable Slashdot.

Why Andover?

We talked to several companies: Some that you've heard of, and some that you haven't. We were looking for a company that would guarantee us complete and total creative control, but provide us the financial resources necessary to expand Slashdot in the way we consider best "right". And whoever became involved, they had to be "Outside" the linux/open source world to a certain degree: we didn't want anyone to think that a company might buy us simply to gain an advantage in the story select.

Andover is good for that- they aren't a "Linux" company - they run Linux, and they read Slashdot, but they don't sell a distribution, or Linux boxes, or anything related to Linux . In fact, we've only mentioned them on Slashdot a couple of times in the past.

Best of all- they're smart guys. They understand what Slashdot is, and they respect that they can't change it without destroying what it is. So they are happy to guarantee (it's even in the contract!) that Hemos and I would retain full control of the site, while taking advantage of their business resources to take care of that icky part of running this monster. To guarantee that, I've also been appointed to the Andover.Net board. (I'm still not sure if I'm supposed to wear a tie)

What is Andover

A Media Company. An internet company. They run websites. Sorta like Earthweb or Internet.com. All of their existing sites are done essentially in-house. They have several sharp hacks over there and I'm looking forward to working with them. They also have top notch guys-with-ties, and a real keen grasp of where things are going in this business.


I couldn't be more excited about this. I finally will have the ability to expand Slashdot the way I want to. I'll have the ability to pay people that have been volunteering hundreds of hours of time to help. And I have complete control over Slashdot's future, without the financial burden that has been growing over the last year. This couldn't be better for Slashdot, and I hope I haven't offended anywone to bad. We fundamentally will not change anything, we'll just have a better infrastructure to do what we've always done.

The final cool part of this is that I get to say thanks to you guys. Most of what we're getting is a piece of Andover.Net. And after I pay off my student loans and Hemos pays off his credit cards, we want to make sizable donations to some causes that we think are important. This seems like the best way for us to give back to the community that made us successful.

  • The Free Software Foundation - How can we not give back to them for making so much cool stuff possible.
  • Debian - I love Debian. I just want to make sure that they keep going strong. Debian's success is critical to the future of Linux. Besides, I wanna make sure that my apt-get command gets the newest version of everything cool.
  • Project Gutenberg - Keeping books online and making them available to the world is important.
  • The Macatawa Area Community Network - They give free network access to our hometown. They were the original home of Slashdot- and they let us keep it there for several months even when we were saturating their T1 every afternoon.
  • Hope College - We both graduated and we want to set up a scholarship or something there. I want it to be for a "Hot Chick Going into CompSci" but we'll have to see if they'll let me do that...
  • Foresight Institute - So hemos is obsessed with nanotech. He wants to give them money in exchange for a campbell's soup can of nanites He's wierd, but hey.

We're happy about this, but I know not all of you will be. To those of you who think I'm wrong, I'm sorry. I really believe that this will allow me to make Slashdot into something even better then it is today, without sacrificing what it already is. Its been a crazy ride so far, and now its only going to get crazier.

If you want to contact jeff or I, you can email malda@slashdot.org or hemos@slashdot.org. We'll try to respond, but I suspect we're going to get flooded, so be patient.

Update: 06/29 02:12 by CT : Just FWIW, this has no effect on the Slash source code release. It will still be released whenever I have time to work on it. In fact, hopefully now since I'll have some help around here with the sysadmin stuff, I'll be able to focus on it some more...

This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Slashdot Acquired by Andover.net

Comments Filter:
  • So, is Andover gonna buy a T1 for you guys? That's what you need, a T1 at home....

    Net. Admin.
  • If I'm not mistaken, www.freshmeat.net has dynamic mirroring already up and working. Helps out a lot on peak traffic hours.
  • Slashdot ISN'T getting some news feed from Andover. What Slashdot IS getting:
    • Full retention of creative control (means that the guys who post the articles now, will continue to post the articles).
    • They get to hire people who'd been doing the work gratis now and help repay them for their hard work to make Slashdot successful.
    • They get access to a bunch of Andover's professional code-manglers for HELP (not redesign) of the site. This SHOULD mean cleaner page loads, and a smoother, more regular look. The Slashdot crew will still be the ones controlling the look of Slashdot.
    • More bandwidth. Even though dual ISDN sounds nice, for a site with the load Slashdot carries, it's NOWHERE near what they need.
    • Redundancy. Is it just me, or do you HATE having Slashdot time out because the server crashes out? Now they'll have access to multiple redundant servers. This will reduce the load-per-server level, make page-loads MUCH faster, and reduce overall bandwidth loads per-server. Since content mirroring is pretty much at high art nowadays, you should see near-zero lag in the time it takes for Hemos/CmdrTaco to post to the main server till full propagation.
    • The guys who own it get a whole PILE of money.
    • Just to keep Rob humble, he's been appointed the person in charge of Andover's "Slashdot" section. This means it's not all gravy. He now has to "pay" for his success in the most degrading possible way. Interaction with suits.

      Hope that clears it up.

      Chas - The one, the only.
      THANK GOD!!!

  • May your Slash code be bug-free,
    May your bandwidth be plentiful,
    May your stories be good,
    May your future be geekful,
    May your time be valued,
    May your your efforts be valued,
    May Anonymous Cowards become understanding and wise,
    May Slashdot become a beacon in the world,
    May Rob and Jeff never wear suits,
    May future geeks with a really cool idea hold you up as role models.

    Best wishes for Slashdot as its business end grows more and more successful.

    Thanks to CmdrTaco and Hemos for what they've done. Keep up the good work.
  • Playing basketball is a choice. I can choose whether or not I want to persue sports for that sort of scholarship.

    I cannot, on the other hand, readily choose my own gender. That was something handed down to me from my genetic structure. The same way with my ethnicity, my eye color, and my big feet.

    I should not be discriminated against for my gender. Isn't that the basic tenet of the so-called "feminist" movement? As for the lack of women in the CS field, that's not my problem. If women in general don't want to be CS majors, fine. There is nothing holding them back from joining the ranks. Any woman who wants to be a CS major can do so, and the addition of yet another women only scholarship in the field won't induce any more to join.

    Let me emphasize this: I am not against women in Computer Science. In fact, I think I'll repeat that. I am not against women in Computer Science. Or in any field. I'm all for equal rights. Sometimes, though, I wonder when the door will swing the other way, providing equal rights protection for both genders.

  • The subject line says it all. I'm expecting huge GeoCities-type banners littering the site proclaiming Andover or anything else they want to push.
  • Okay, first up, congrats to CmdrTaco/Hemos... I've been a LONG time reader, and this site rocks.

    Second: your jock argument: umm.... NO.

    A jock gets a scholarship because they ACCOMPLISH something. I am not saying I find it all that meaningful, but they DID SOMETHING. ie. practiced enough to get good at a sport.

    Giving a person a scholarship due to their gender is hardly the same. The person in question did not ACCOMPLISH anything, other than being born that gender.

    Not that I'd be against more hot chicks in CompSci... lord knows we need them. But still, your argument is fundamentally flawed.

    Besides, I'd rather see scholarships given on merit.
  • Yes, and I click on them every time I see them. If they're that stupid, they deserve to lose their money, especially to /.
  • by Hemos ( 2 ) on Tuesday June 29, 1999 @06:46AM (#1827071) Homepage Journal
    It's not about the possibility that more money could have been made. It's about not having taken a vacation for over two years, and working 70+ hours per week. We're not business people, and didn't want to swim with the sharks (VCs). We're happy-and we've got control.
  • Yeah, you're right. Only .EDU has restrictions on obtaining a domain...
  • *ahem*

    I'm looking for a job...
  • Why aren't you rich?

    It's very easy to play the backseat driver role and tell others that they should hold out so they can be rich. The days of net startups making zillions are fading fast.

    Do you want to feed Rob until he's rich?

    I didn't think so.
  • I couldn't find it right off, so I've contacted the company to see if they're under a parent. If you know, give. Otherwise, I'll post when I do.
    Yeah, it's kind of sad, but I could use the cash.
  • Posted by Mike@ABC:

    Slashdot must be overloaded, so I can't read a lot of what other folks are saying. But I still want to congratulate Rob and Jeff for pulling off a great deal.

    Believe me, getting a white knight to come in, hand you serious bucks, and cede complete creative control to you is NOT an easy task. There are plenty of Internet start-ups that would kill for your secret, boys. That's a pretty incredible feat, and I'm glad you two will remain at the helm of this incredibly useful and interesting site.

    And for all those who might be tempted to cry "corporate stooges" (you know who you are), get real. Producing a solid site with interesting content is an amazing challenge, one that leaves little room for hobbies, outside interests, dating, half your meals, nearly any sleep, and occasional breathing. If this gives Rob and Jeff creative freedom without worrying about suit-work, then more power to 'em.

    OK, enuff ego stroking, guys. Now we get to hold Slashdot to a higher standard -- you have Andover's money to burn, after all!! Good luck.

  • Congrats fellas!
    You did forget one thing though.
    You simply can't make life easier by jumping
    into the corporate world and offloading work.
    You need a clip-on tie or two before things simplify any!
    Oh, and be on the lookout for words like dress down Friday and free lunch ... perks :)
  • You don't get it do you?

    Translation: You guys sold out so I'm leaving. Wah!

    Fine! Leave! Nobody's twisting your arm to make you stay.

    How much time and money do YOU have to devote to what was basically a second job? The Slashdot crew has been devoting TONS of time and money (their own) to this project for YEARS.

    If you'd wanted it to remain solely financed by Rob and the gang, you should have been sending them weekly checks to help pay expenses for them. Everybody should have.

    If you don't like what has pretty much become a necessity for the Slashdot crew, fine. Stop making it out to be something it isn't.

    Chas - The one, the only.
    THANK GOD!!!

  • per Bob 'Ethernet' [infoworld.com] Metcalfe.

    I didn't know we were all squeezing in thru a single B channel...

    For Internet stocks, there's bound to be profits in promoting Software that Doesn't Suck®

  • As long as we work for Andover-which is three years. And since Rob has a board seat as well, even if we work for ourselves again, our IRON MAILED FIST (Er...) will still be felt.
  • Thanks for all the GNUs News.
    Keep up the good work!
  • I can confirm, yes, that Rob Malda is a dupe. It's my Great-Aunt Edith that actually runs the site. We hired "Rob Malda" off the street.
  • Hey, you guys have coasts. :)
    Yes, there will be mirrors coming to Europe, as well as more European posters.
  • AOL Staff members use addresses on aol.NET, although I am sure that Andreesen also haas a .com.

    You might ask why any self respecting /.'er would know this...I use to live in Faifax VA about 10 miles from AOL...I know a few of those people.
  • So...what will Slashdot be running on in, say, a year from now? Now that you're backed by some money, will you step up to the web platforms preferred by the big boys (i.e., Apache or Netscape on Solaris or IIS on NT)? I can't wait to witness the thread in which _that_ decision is announced! ;-) Mmmmmmms...

    Many congratulations on your new wealth and thanks for showing once again that the American dream is alive and well.


  • I bet we would all love that!

    M$: "Mr. Gates feels it will be in your best interest to run /. on NT I mean VMSjr I mean Windows 2000"
  • I think its ridiculous and utterly sexist. As a Man in computer science, I know for a fact that there's no such thing as a "guys only" scholarship because it discriminates against women. But there are plenty of women only scholarships available and no one would *dream* of calling those sexist.

    Where are the equal rights when you need them?

  • Good stuff Rob!
  • So when will the Great Renaming occur? Too bad you cant be just "slashdot" without a top level domain.

    Good luck! Watch out for the PHBs.

  • Wow. That's a pretty harsh world. Here's where there wasn't enough money for us. There was-we had plenty offers. But we didn't want to hire people to be suits, like the post says.

    Like the post says, as well, we've got creative control. Moderation is going to stay exactly the same, as our banners. And we're hiring the people for stories, so you can look forward to more of the same.

  • Rob, I think it's great. You started all this, and it's your baby. I'd say 'our baby' since the community does make slashdot what it is, but like the linux kernel, we need a point of control.

    I'm glad you were willing to take the jump!

  • by Dr Drew ( 15165 ) on Tuesday June 29, 1999 @04:36AM (#1827095)
    OK, be honest...how many of you just looked to see where you could buy stock in Andover?
  • Give me a break.

    The choices seemed pretty slim to me and I think the guys made the best choice. They continue to control the content without worrying about how to finance it.

    Good luck guys and I hope to see a continually improving /.

  • ...as a result of this acquisition decide to change the format of Slashdot. I can't count the sites that were once useful but decided that they needed a ``facelift'' and, as a result, looked glitzier but became almost totally unuseable. IMHO, recent examples of sites that made this boneheaded mistake are InfoWorld and DejaNews.

    Slashdot is one of the sites that I visit daily (at a minimum) for my Linux (and other operating system) news and those semi-off-the-wall articles that you don't find anywhere else. I don't want to have to remove Slashdot from my bookmarks web page; it'd be a while before I could find another site that I'd find as interesting and amusing.

  • These guys keep coding.

    They get paid to do it.

    They're still turning over the fruits of their coding to the community at large...for FREE.

    RMS would probably be proud that they're able to keep their code free while still making money off it (through implementation of the code rather than licensing).

    Chas - The one, the only.
    THANK GOD!!!

  • If this means more reliability for Slashdot, then this is good news.

    I just hope this place doesn't lose its focus... nice hacker places on the Internet are few and far between.

    When IMDB was acquired by Amazon last year, it precipitated a change in look (arguably better), but the service remained the same, which is really what people using the service really want to see.

  • There are NO restrictions on .COM, .NET, & .NET TLDs. So the bottomline is anyone may register a .ORG and use it for anything.

    With that said, Andover.Net would be wise to somehow obtain slashdot.com and slashdot.net so as to protect themselves in the future. Slashdot could be considered a common-law service mark and thus would be enforcable. All Andover.Net would need to do in my view is assert their IP rights for Slashdot backed by several decent lawyers and slashdot.com and slashdot.net will be toast. But Andover.Net must act soon while they have momentum and more importantly before time runs out (not practicing due diligence). Otherwise Andover.Net may find itself contending with two similar and confusing websites.
  • Rob,

    A Women (aka Hot Chicks) in Computer Science fund is a very cool idea. We have a WICS program at our university. Unfortunately, it consists of mostly men (seriously!).

  • Well, I gotta give them credit, after someone got away with geo$hitties.com awihle ago...but Geo is certainly not non profit.

    I just register a .org domain and my site, while it doesn't make money (certainly non-profit in every sense, I spend so much on it!) there's also jonathonwinters.org - he sells his artwork there...?

    There doesn't seem to be any clear defn for .org domains, like veronica.org or pokey.org

    OTOH, bravo for Slashdot. I'm beginning to feel the same crunch with my site. Fortunately I'm on two servers, "free lunch, final wisdom" sort of thing and don't have to pay...but man, updating it each day, and with a redesign in the works, plus answering emails...it's like having a toddler around :-)

  • Thanks for the reply, Jeff. (Yeah, I'd seen "Hemos" around I think a *few* times on /. ;) That's pretty impressive then to have this much attention brought to banner ads vs. cost of the website. I don't know exactly how long /.'s been around, but I've been viewing it for about two years (and I'd imagine its not much older than that), and to have people asking when you're going to IPO after that amount of time is pretty impressive.

    If you "sold" Slashdot because it was the only way you could keep it up, good! You did what you had to do. As long as it doesn't turn into a complete sell-out-to-commercialistic-tendencies site, I'm happy and I'm sure most of the other /.'ers out there are, too. Keep it real.

    Dave Brooks (db@amorphous.org)
  • You guys have created a great site. I look forward to an even better /.
  • >But wasn't Andover.net the place that we completely flamed for the really wrong story about Red Hat

    Yup, that was the Jack Bryar [sp?] 'Charity Case for RedHat' story a couple weeks ago that was posted over at Andover News.

    It was funny tho, I got a couple e-mails that day from someone at Andover.net - they thought the whole situation was funny.

    I think Jack's non-Andover e-mail got the brunt of the flames anyway.

  • by geon ( 7807 )
    Congratulations. It seems like a good decision, and good luck
  • I hate to grab such a tiny portion of the announcement for comment, but I believe that the bulk of the announcement stands quite well on its own. This was a wise move, and will likely go a very long way at correcting the handful of problems with slashdot that people seem to be most frustrated by. Congratulations Rob and Jeff, and best wishes for continued success.

    I just wanted to take the opportunity to tell everyone how insanely cool Project Gutenberg and Michael Stern Hart are. I had the opportunity to meet Michael in Urbana (Illinois) when we delivered the prize money from rc5-56 back in 1997. It was a very rewarding experience to have had a chance to meet and chat with him over pizza and beers. Project Gutenberg are good people, and well deserving of all our help.

    Actually more than money, they're always in need of people with access to scanners and some time on their hands for proofreading. If anyone is feeling like giving back to the net, this is a great way to do so.

    We've all said it at one time or another: "You can get anything on the net" and thanks to the efforts of Project Gutenberg, the "everything" covers the great classics of literature and some very enriching texts.
  • Congratulations. It's nice to see hard work pay off.

    On the down side, I guess we won't be seeing SLSH on NASDAQ (rats).
  • Umm... I haven't seen any changes around here... You must be on the *other* slashdot...
  • How much did they pay ya?
  • I've heard many women say that women are inherently inferior at mathematics
    "Math is hard!" -- Barbie

    I never understood why there was a big flap over that quote. Math is hard. I failed diffeq.

  • to work for you guys. You need sales folks? Biz Dev? You need admins and payroll, legal and HR? NO PROBLEM! That's the easy part. Finding talented folks like you fellas is the hard part. Good luck with Andover.net. I'm kinda bummed, but not leaving and not stopping the habit of click thru banners 'just because'. Andover are the lucky ones.
  • Did they solemnly swear that there will never, ever be any Micro$oft ads on Slashdot?
    Hey, if Micros~1 wants to spend money advertising on Slashdot, I say let 'em! It would be entertaining to see them attempt to appeal to this crowd.
  • Since this is a news for nerds site, do you REALLY want some 300 lb hacker-chick with a eyeglass prescription that reads "bulletproof" to be stripping down in front of you? No. I thought not.

    Ewwww. I need to go take a bath now. For some reason I feel dirty.

    Chas - The one, the only.
    THANK GOD!!!

  • Our contractis inviolate-so we'd be fine, no matter who bought them. We'll always be us.
  • Yep-we do. Creative Control Clause for us.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    (sorry, no time to log in now, hi mum!)

    I like this international thing, kinda.

    As Linux grows, Slashdot grows, and people flock having 500 (or 1000) posts and the download (which currently is a bitch) isn't so good.


    Slashdot://nz Slashdot://uk Slashdot://asia

    Some taylored areas with their own national/area forum... but with high rated posts getting promoted to international placing so good posts get the attention they deserve.

    someone care to expand on this? your slashdot want sheet?
  • When I first read the headlines, my reaction was "Oh Crap! there goes another great site down the drain...." Then I read the article in full and realized that it is a good thing. If slashdot is still going to be the geek site for news the way it has been for years now, then I am all for it. Since Rob and Hemos get to keep all the creative control and do not have to over work their minds/souls to keep the box up 24/7 then I am all for it (not like I have much say-so in it). As long as they keep to keep the site in its grassroots I think that the site will flurish even more than it has.

    Then again I have been wrong in the past,

    PS> Good luck to the two of you!

    sboss dot net
    email: scott@sboss.net
  • Source will be open. If they fire us, we start dotslashdot. And we had /really good/ lawyers-it's all on paper.
  • Did Andover takeover^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^Hacquire Blockstackers or just Slashdot?

    If they acquired Blockstackers, do they own Everything [blockstackers.com] too?
  • Bankrupt: We can move on to other stuff.

    They have a /really/ hard time firing us. The lawyers we got our really really good. We do have goals, but they are achievable, and fit within our overall vision. Basically, we can't commit felonies, other then that and we're fine.

  • But it isn't just Linux. And if you have an account, you can choose not to show Linux etc stories on your personalized Slashdot, if this is what pisses you off.
  • Marketroids value registered users of a website between US$400 and US$1000 each based upon the assorted marketroid statistics. That easily would put the value of /. in the tens of millions of dollars.

    I hope that you were paid this well for your awesome work. You definately deserve it!
  • I remember that (but wasn't it more like Junior year?). I think I voted for him too, but I don't remember for sure. You can afford to waste a couple votes on jokes like that. For me, it was mostly a statement against political correctness. I seem to recall that a major factor (possibly the clincher) for me was that he was also handing out free pencils with his slogan printed on them.

    I still think the best ASUC slogan was the BECS (Berkeley Engineers and Cal Scientists?) one from a year or so earlier: "Four out of five BECS candidates own crystallized caffeine."

    By the way, I've tried growing caffeine crystals but it never quite worked. Any suggestions?

    David Gould
  • Hi,
    Does this mean anonCVS access to slash code sometime this millennium?

    Waiting with bated breath,
  • And may I express my profound gratitude and admiration for Hemos' generous promise of fiscal goodwill towards the Foreskin Institute, an institution of vital import to our future and to the future of free-thinking, technologically-oriented uncircumsized males everywhere.

    Eh? What's that?


    Oh dear.

    Scratch that.

  • It's easy to say that someone shouldn't have "sold out"; however, most slashdot readers (myself included) have no idea how much running slashdot was costing Rob & Hemeos. For all we know they could've been living off of KD & Kool Aid and working 90 hour weeks, just to break even.

    Besides, who's to say this won't be looked back on as "the move that made Slashdot". There's many ways to making your fortune in this world. Who's to say that Slashdot has to take the conventional route?

    It seems to me that Andover.net has the insight not to try and control slashdot. Do you give a position on your board to someone whose prime work you're going to gut?

    What Andover.net is giving Rob is the ability to run Slashdot the way he wants to. Without having to worry about selling banner ads, admin the server, and all the other myrad of things that are required in the care and feeding of Slashdot. What Andover.net is going to get is an increase in their prestige ("hey, they're the guys who support Slashdot, they *must* be cool!"), people who have first hand experience in running one of the best websites on the internet (IMHO), and a whole whack of hits on one of "their" websites.

    Think about it, it's a good match. Andover.net is a web hosting/maintaining company. Slashdot is all about content. Andover provides the brawn, Slashdot provides the "Brain" :-)

    just my $0.02 (or $0.012 US...)
  • >Ok, your argument would have some merit if you
    >could demonstrate that 50% of all athletic
    >scholorships were given to female athletes...
    >which you can't.

    If he's in the U.S., he most certainly can. Except for the handful of colleges that completely avoid federal contact, all U.S. Colleges are forced to give out scholarships in proportion to enrollment by gender--not that this makes sense.

    Requiring some such "equality" in non-cash sports makes a certain amount of sense, but including football and basketball (and someday, Women's Gymnastics??) programs that make money in the same count as programs that cost money is just plain odd. Then again, I think it's disgraceful that athletic scholarships outnumber academic scholarships by orders of magnitude . . .
  • I tried mailing iron before, the postage was horrible.

    Net. Admin.
  • "Who would want a computer in their home?"
    "Telephone? I can't pronounce it. Why would I invest in it?"
    "Electricity is a fad."
    "While an interesting curiosity, airplanes will never be strategically viable."
    "Entirely too much money has been spent on this thing called science."
    "Television will never be commercially viable."

    I can't remember all the names, and I know I misworded some of it, but you see the point. Internet investment is not a fad, it's where most business will take place in the near future. Amazon.com isn't pricey because people think it will make money, but because people think that when internet companies start making money, Amazon will know everything about it.

    I may be very wrong, but it is my understanding that people who write this way have no actual knowledge of economic trends. I suppose it doens't matter anyway. I don't have enough disposable income to invest with.

  • by Roblimo ( 357 ) on Tuesday June 29, 1999 @06:02AM (#1827171) Homepage Journal
    Most Andover writers and hackers are long-time, dedicated /. readers. We like the site just as it is
    (except for the bandwidth problems and some of the typos) ourselves, and will scream as loudly as
    anyone else if the suits try to screw things up.

    But don't worry. That won't happen. Andover has *very cool* management. I can honestly say that in
    15 years of writing non-fiction for print and online publishers, they are the smartest media managers
    I've ever worked for.

    I am writing this as an individual, as a Slashdot reader, and as a Linux user, not as an Andover flack.
    And I didn't ask anyone for permission to make this post. Andover is the kind of company that backs its
    writers and editors instead of messing with them. If it wasn't, I wouldn't work there myself. And if I
    thought they were going to mess with Slashdot, I would have sent Rob a "Don't do it" e-mail before the
    deal went through.

  • Posted by Mike@ABC:

    As much as Rob and Jeff have poured their blood, sweat and other bodily fluids into creating this site, Slashdot would be nowhere without the readers.

    It's in Andover's best interests to keep Slashdot the way it is. If for whatever reason, Rob and Jeff go corporate and the site begins to suck, how many of us would stick around? No one. And Andover's investment turns to crap.

    So to all of those who are afraid of the corporatization of Slashdot: just keep showing up, submitting stories, and voicing your opinion. Keeping Slashdot honest will make it more successful, and making Slashdot more
    successful will keep it honest. It's a really beautiful loop, once you think about it.

  • Congratulations.

    I could see this coming for a long time, /. has the content that the suits drool over.

    I hope that Rob and Hemos have gotten some share of Andover, so that when Andover makes a ton of money off of /. and all the spinoffs they create, they get rich as well.

    And wear a tie from time to time, it scares the suits into thinking you will become the head of marketing and their future boss. Makes them appreciate you.

    the AC
  • Well done. This is certainly good news.

    Just one piece of advice from somebody who's been there. Trust the people you delegate jobs to. If you spend your time checking they've done the right thing, or correcting it if it's not done quite the way you like it, you'll lose all the time you just gained.

    Keep up the good work.

  • Hemos,

    To the above poster it was a "bad business decision".

    The decision is only bad if you either, are not happy with it, or regret it. It seems You and Rob are really happy and excited about the decision you made, and I don't think you guys will regret it. So for you two, you made a smart business decision.

    You are both doing what you like, and now you can keep doing it, take vacations, and stop eating Ramen:)

  • They understand what Slashdot is, and they respect that they can't change it without destroying what it is. So they are happy to guarantee (it's even in the contract!) that Hemos and I would retain full control of the site...

    That's great news. I'm glad it's a contractual obligation.

    I personally don't mind how Slashdot is run/owned/managed, just as long as editorial independence can be guaranteed. This contractual clause will ensure that. If this new arrangement means a faster and stabler Slashdot, I for one am all for it. Go Slashdot!

  • Already been done -- but not in as much detail. The Perl boys have CPAN (Comprehensive Perl Archive Network), which will seen you to the closest mirror when you use the URL http://www.perl.com/CPAN/ [perl.com] (last slash _is_ important!). It doesn't always work the smoothest path, and it doesn't pre-check to see if the mirror is avaiable, or any of that cool stuff. From http://www.perl.com/CPAN [perl.com] (without the slash):
    Welcome to the CPAN multiplexer. Whenever you ask for a path from this site that begins http://www.perl.com/CPAN/ you will automatically get a site close to you. Since you're reading this now, you must have called it without a slash, which gives you the chance to pick which site you prefer. Please select your nearest CPAN site. Preferences are now sticky! That means that whoever you pick will persist via cookies. This choice will remain in effect until you return to this page and select a different mirror, even if that server becomes nonfunctional.
    Also note that the source code is avaiable at the bottom of that page. Sounds like something to tinker with...
  • The dress code at Sun Microsystems:

    "You must."

    -- Scott McNealy
  • by bpdlr ( 3132 ) on Tuesday June 29, 1999 @04:40AM (#1827269) Homepage Journal

    May I be the first to congratulate you guys, well done. Andover is a good company, the site is excellent, built up from a collection of Windows shareware sites and various tidbits. They now do an excellent "portal" newsletter that bundles a load of stuff together, including a Linux software bit. Also, they run the very useful Internet Traffic Report site. Their hacks are top class, and always worth a read.

    I hope this means we'll see a bit more investment in bandwidth then, to get rid of those "overload mode" messages. Also, you should think about hiring some people in Europe to post stories during the morning over here - we're always waiting for you guys to wake up and start trawling through the night's postings!

    Barry de la Rosa,
    Senior Reporter, PC Week (UK)
    Work: barry_delarosa[at]vnu.co.uk,
    tel. +44 (0)171 316 9364

  • by John Fulmer ( 5840 ) on Tuesday June 29, 1999 @04:40AM (#1827274)
    While /. will lose some of it's glory of being a fiercely idependant site and with Rob and Co having to deal with the suits (and you WILL! no matter what the contract says..), It's nice to see that /. should be on firm financial footing (maybe, what does Andover's finances look like :) and will continue into the future..

    Dealing with the suits will suck, badly. I know of wot I speak....

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 29, 1999 @04:42AM (#1827278)
    You should have stuck it out with funding. You could have been a tech yahoo, with the clout and funding to match.

    I'm really at a loss as to why you sold this golden goose to someone else. Ten years from now /. could be a huge tech media property, and you just gave it all away. I really like this site, but I think you guys just made a horrible business decision.

    Jerry Yang and David Filo had a number of opportunities to sell Yahoo in the firts six months. Andressen could have sold out of Netscape just as early. Sticking with a good idea instead of taking the easy money made them all rich.

    You could have had a piece of this Rob.
  • My friend has a theory that you should not date people within your same major. It's like dating your sister or something. You'll nver be able to escape CS/biology/physics/whatever! So if this truly good advice, then the fewer women in computer science, the larger the potential dating pool! This assumes you are a CS man or woman who dates women. If you are a CS man or woman who dates men, I think this advice still applies. :-)

  • Most people regardless of sex go into the field for money rather than any interest in the subject. Of my undergraduate electrical engineering class there were only about 5 of us out of 50 who went into actual engineering. The rest went into management or other areas. This was good in a way, most of the graduates were pretty dim bulbs. 100% of the females did go into management, but since there was only one I'd say the sample size was a bit small to make a sound judgement :)

  • by Suydam ( 881 ) on Tuesday June 29, 1999 @04:44AM (#1827303) Homepage
    • Does BSI just dissapear now?
    • Will you ever open-source AdFu?
    • What happens to future versions of Slashdot sources?
    Either way, congratulations.

    Nostalgia: I remember reading Slashdot.org when about 50% of my page views were stopped in the middle while I did a traceroute to macatawa.org [macatawa.org] to see what the heck was taking so long.

  • I've seen this again and again. It's incomprehensible to some people that there are motivations beyond making a ton of $$$ in the world. Anyone else see the irony in this attitude showing up in a place so focused on open source software? I bet folks like Linus and ESR could be making a lot more dough if that's what they wanted to do.

    Worst example of a money tunnel-vision perspective I've seen was on one of those Robert X. Cringly documentaries about the early days of the net. There was a venture capitalist talking about how utterly stupid the founders of Cisco were for selling out early on... how much the stock has gone up since then. Then we find out that they each netted over $100 million at the time. Today, I guarantee you that they're doing whatever they want, and that having 10x as much money probably wouldn't change things much.

    I'm guessing Rob and Co. made out well enough to do what they want. It's not our place to dis them for having the values they do.
  • by Hemos ( 2 ) on Tuesday June 29, 1999 @04:47AM (#1827323) Homepage Journal
    It will still exist-everything.blockstackers.com is an example of the sites we are going to continue to do. So, we're still going to do other stuff as well.

    E-mail vroon@blockstackers.com. You can get the tarball

    Is, and always will be Open Source.

  • As long as your creative control is in writing in your contract, it seems like this can only produce better things. If it wasn't in the contract, many people would be worried, and rightly so. I would guess that their contract probably gives exclusive advertising/media rights to Andover, and the ownership/control retains with Rob. Thats a beautiful thing and I commend you guys for being able to pull that off. I know firsthand the trials and expenses of running a high-traffic site. That will be a big burden taken off your shoulders.

    I'm really looking forward to see what kind of improvements that can be worked out now that they will have more free time to come up with newer and better ideas for the site. Those that want to jump to conclusions probably wont even read your entire post about the details of the agreement. They will just run around the net spreading "Slashdot bought out!!!" information. Blah. Well, Kudos to you guys, and no matter what anybody says, this was a VERY VERY wise decision.

    -- C. Warden
    Do not meddle in the affairs of Wizards for you are crunchy and taste good with ketchup.

  • Rob and Hemos, congrats! I hope the whole thing works out well.I also hope you had a good lawyer write the contract -- creative control is all good and well, but Slashdot can now be killed -- the easiest way would be for, say, @Home (I know there are other big companies, too :) to buy Andover.net and then decide that Slashdot doesn't fit their editorial policy... Sure you can start another one, but the intellectual property issues are going to be problematic. Heh. Unfortunately in the world we live in, lawyers determine a lot of what happens.

    Other than that, I hope that the advertising level on Slashdot isn't going to go up. I can live with one banner, but sites with banners left, right, top and bottom, not counting all those oh-so-cute buttons, cause active distaste in me, and, I suppose, in most of Slashdot's readers.

    Slashdot may end up looking like the Well (and I don't know if it's a good thing or bad) which had owners' change galore, but managed to retain its core audience so far.

    Still, change is good. We'll see if this change will be good as well, and in the meantime, more congrats.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Slashdot needs this. I've always been amazed that a few college guys 60 miles from my hometown put together something that is a household word in computing - something like if "Wayne's World" was a real show and it became as popular as "Seinfeld" (well, not quite - maybe in a year or two).

    Best wishes
  • Millions of banner ads each month.

    Yes. The code will still be available. I might even have some time to work on it again if I can afford to hire some help!

  • by Gleef ( 86 ) on Tuesday June 29, 1999 @04:59AM (#1827396) Homepage
    It looks like you've found a way to make sure Slashdot stays strong without sacrificing what makes it great. One important question, though. Now that you're part of Andover.net, do you have to wear pants?
  • Hell no.

  • As much as I like Slashdot, and as much as I admire the blood, sweat, and tears that Rob and Hemos have put into the site, what is it about Slashdot that Andover.net found compelling enough acquire it? Was it the target audience, and the prospect of generating ad revenue? This may seem like a dumb question, but I find the business aspect of the deal interesting.
  • I'm not wearing any right now. :)
  • by overlord ( 5277 ) on Tuesday June 29, 1999 @05:03AM (#1827409) Homepage
    Next week andover.net will be acquired by microsoft and .......

    Good luck.

  • It could happen. I am trying not to think about it but what if a certain company (call not its name lest it will hear) drives a dumptruck full of money up to Andover.net and said, "sign here."

  • by Fizgig ( 16368 )
    I know I'm not the only one who thought that post was a joke when first reading it. Then it set in that it was serious. Then I was depressed. But then I finished reading. Great job!!!! I'm happy for you guys! Faster Slashdot loading! Hiring other people to do the crap CmdrTaco and Hemos don't want to do!!

    But wasn't Andover.net the place that we completely flamed for the really wrong story about Red Hat (I didn't; don't worry!)? You guys managed to get this deal despite that?
  • Nope-the contract even says we don't have to move anywhere we don't want to.

    No censorship either-because our contract is our vision for the site, we can say no to that. And we will. Oh-and the donkey balls are dirty so much as filthy. :)

  • Well, the people who are coming on board are people who've been working on it for free now. The contract has the creative control for us, and we hire the people we want-now we've got bucks to deal with it. Fundamentally, there will be no change. Otherwise, we wouldn't have done this.

    They've got some news folks, but we're going to be bringing in more people from the community-Rob and I are sick of working 70 hours a week as well. :)

  • I have to admit that when I first read this I thought "Oh no!" but now that I've read your comments, I have to agree with everyone else here. It sounds like you guys put a lot of thought into this and your decision sounds very sound. Congratulations on your freedom--this site is really really cool--and you guys deserve to reap the benefits (financially) of this.

    (However, I have to agree with the other poster who said this: only one ad, please!)

  • True-but our lawyers weren't nice either. Our contract is inviolate-whether they sell or not, we've got all rights. So, even if they sold to MS, we'd still have control.
  • by Izaak ( 31329 ) on Tuesday June 29, 1999 @05:12AM (#1827452) Homepage Journal
    I like the idea of SlashDot being mirrored on both coasts. I would suggest one in Chicago as well... major midwest backbone hub. I've actually been thinking about this issue for a while and would love to see some kind of dynamic mirror selection. Something like this:

    1) You connect to the primary /. server and it checks your IP address against a DB of known subnets and prefered mirrors.

    2) If a match is found, you are sent there. Otherwise, the primary site serves the page and your address is added to a queue of subnets to add to the database.

    3) Periodically, the mirror sites do some pings or traceroutes of the addresses in the queue to determine the *best* mirror for that address. The entire subnet for that address is then plunncked into the database.

    4) The database entries should eventually age out, but it could be a loooong expire. How often do you move you a portable net block across the country?

    For all I know, public software for this may already exist. If not, I think it would be a fun project to implement this for SlashDot.

    Who is with me?


  • Our contract stays intact. Hell, they can sell to Microsoft, but they can't touch the site.
  • I can't think of any reason why sites like this couldn't make money. I have clicked on slashdot banner ads before. Certainly there are vendors who are interested in targeting slashdot's readership.
  • So Slashdot has lost a reader who never saw banner ads and doesn't even have an account. How is this bad?

What this country needs is a good five cent ANYTHING!