About.com was purchased by the New York Times for $410 million in 2005. For a few years, the deal looked smart, as display ad revenues were rising and web traffic from Google searches was considerable.
However, changes to Google’s algorithms and soft display ad rates have turned About.com into a thorn in the New York Times’ already sore side. In the last quarter, the Times took a $195 million write-down on About.com and said it wasn’t optimistic about growth for this year.
The New York Times is rumored to sell About to Answers.com. The deal isn’t signed yet.
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