When Guy Kawasaki started Truemors, a site for spreading Internet rumors, his intentions weren’t quite clear. Was it an experiment? A joke? The product of too much free time? Or perhaps not too much time — after all, it didn’t look like the site had taken much effort to create. “The plan is simple,” Kawasaki wrote at the time. “Get a site launched in a few months, see if people like it, and sell ads and sponsorships (or not).”
Get it launched he did, for a whopping price tag of $12,107.09. And the site quickly garnered its first rave review, duly noted by Kawasaki: “Worst website ever discovered,” read a headline at the Inquirer. Here at VentureBeat, we paused to note that the site was smothered in spam.
But somehow, over the next year, Truemors appears to have cleaned up its act. Traffic to the site looks decent, if uninspiring. And, no rumors here, the site has been acquired by well-funded citizen journalism site NowPublic.
No price was given, and it seems unlikely that a great deal was paid; for that matter, no great effort was made to announce the acquisition. But on an investment of $12,000, who’s complaining? Kawasaki also gets to join the board of NowPublic, which suggests that it was at least more than chump change. Now he just has to sell Alltop, a feed aggregator he launched this year.
Below is a Compete traffic graph for both NowPublic and Truemors. Note that it includes only United States visitors; many of the two sites’ contributors, and readers, are in other countries.
VB’s research team is studying mobile user acquisition: Chime in here, and we’ll share the results.