Hackaday for Sale. Staffers Start a Crowdfunding Campaign to Buy It

Hackaday for Sale. Staffers Start a Crowdfunding Campaign to Buy It

Hackaday, the DIY/hacker site which has been publishing since 2004, is up for sale, according to  owner Jason Calacanis, who said he would rather focus on rebranding his struggling Mahalo site.

Calacanis is hoping to sell Hackaday for around $500,000. After the sale announcement, Hackaday’s writers and editors created an Indiegogo campaign to buy the site. There were briefly two competing Indiegogo campaigns, but the reader who sponsored a similar campaign threw his support behind the publication’s writers and editors.

The Indiegogo campaign is hoping to raise $540,000. On the campaign page, Hackaday writer Brian Benchoff, said that a newly crowdfunded Hackaday would put more emphasis on the site’s readers and community. More hacks would be posted, much more than the current half dozen a day. The publication would also try to write more profiles and visit more hackerspaces.

Benchoff said the current site has not being doing these things because owner Jason Calacanis has been “too busy with his startups to focus on Hackaday.” The site would also have more money because its ad revenue would be used entirely by the publication, instead of being spread around Calacanis’ various properties.

With less than a month to go, the Indiegogo campaign has raised around $12,000 toward the $540,000 goal. In his sales pitch for the site, Calacanis said that Hackaday brings in around $14,000 a month in advertising, without a sales force (Google AdSense powers most of the advertising). The site gets 6 million pageviews a month; has 5,674 email subscribers, and 31,000 subscribers to its YouTube video channel. On Twitter, @hackaday has 29,000 followers.

In the comment section following Calacanis’ sale announcement, users — and Calacanis — floated many possible buyers, including Gawker Networks (Calacanis said they passed), and MakerMedia, publishers of
MAKE (which has also formally declined to make a bid). Mashable and Slashdot were also mentioned. At the moment neither has responded to a request for a comment.
On Indiegogo, Hackaday editor Benchoff said that the biggest challenge facing the group is the fundraising. He said he’s “pessimistic” about the possibility of raising $540,000, but is hoping to be proved wrong.

Otherwise, Benchoff said, the site is well-positioned to continue.

“The only thing that’s missing is our independence,” he wrote, “and with enough funding, we’ll have that as well.”

What do you think of the news? How would you remake Hackaday? Please share your comments.

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DC Denison is the co-editor of The Maker Pro Newsletter, which covers the intersection of makers and business. That means hardware startups, new products, and market trends.

DC manages customer stories at Acquia, the digital experience company.

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