Profitable Content and Community Sites

Intermix Media (MIX) is a hot stock that benefitted today from a great article by Bambi Francisco. I knew this company as eUniverse and tracked it for years along with other massively popular web sites. It was moderately profitable back in 2001, after the bubble burst. And it is moderately profitable again today on growing revenues. One of its properties, MySpace.com, is growing like crazy with its social networking model.

After reading Bambi’s article, I looked back and found an interview with eUniverse founder Brad Greenspan, who took the company public through a reverse merger with a public shell back in April 1999. For a year it was listed on a bulletin board and then later as a Nasdaq Smallcap.

Their original business plan was to go public and use their currency to acquire content and community sites.

I don’t know the full details of Greenspan leaving Intermix Media, but he still owns a large stake in the company, and it appears that the company is doing very well.

Key points of interest in the history of Intermix Media:

  • Went public through a reverse merger
  • Raised $7 million from hedge funds and institutional investors when it went public
  • Was a roll up of more than 300 web sites (40 main properties including MySpace.com)
  • Now has 60 million subscribers to opt-in newsletters
  • Hybrid model: advertising, subscriptions, and ecommerce
  • Vantage Point Ventures and Bill Martin (founder of Raging Bull) invested in the company in late 2003 as it was undergoing accounting problems
  • In February 2004, Richard Rosenblatt joined company as CEO (he co-founded iMall and sold it to Excite for more than $500 million and was the primary investor in Webmillion, sold for $20 million, and GreatDomains.com sold for $100 million.)
  • In December 2003, sold a 33% interest in website MySpace.com to certain employees that were developing the website and also gave them certain minority owner protections. (I think MySpace.com is the fastest growing property at Intermix–interesting what happens when employees are motivated by ownership.)
  • Did more than $17 million in revenue in the most recent quarter
  • Was listed on the American Stock Exhange earlier this year (MIX)

It is clear to me that “content, community and commerce” business models still work. The eUniverse/Intermix Media story will generate some great case studies for MBA students and tremendous insights for web entrepreneurs.

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