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#1 Posted by TheAdmin (713 posts) -

I'd really like to know the reason for selling the Whiskey Media brands and platform. Was there anything as a community we could have done to not have it happen? After they had the drive to get more subscribers in September, were there just not enough to justify another year at the current expenditures?

Thinking about how Jeff said early plans started before the winter holidays, it sounds like this was something that was planned after seeing subscriber numbers. Whiskey Media seemed like it was growing very well, adding additional sites, staff, interns and so forth. I know it's a long-shot to hear from any of the GB crew or Top Men, but it would be nice to hear the "Why" of this.

#2 Posted by Drebin_893 (2918 posts) -

I imagine as running costs rose the business became unsustainable. Shelby saw an opportunity to recoup his (hefty) initial investment, and took it.

#3 Posted by Picard (255 posts) -

It's all about the Benjamins.

#4 Edited by Canteu (2821 posts) -

This is what Shelby does.

He's done it before and he'll do it again.

I'm pretty sure the CBSi offer was due to the sub success, not lack thereof.

Also, we're subscribers, not shareholders. So no there is nothing we could have done.

#5 Posted by wjb (1666 posts) -

C.R.E.A.M.

#6 Posted by Animasta (14699 posts) -

@Drebin_893 said:

I imagine as running costs rose the business became unsustainable. Shelby saw an opportunity to recoup his (hefty) initial investment, and took it.

#7 Posted by JasonR86 (9714 posts) -

The owner thought he could make more money out of selling the company then keeping it running. Or he got tired of running the company. Whatever the reason, it's done now.

#8 Posted by OldGuy (1562 posts) -

  

#9 Posted by Bwast (1342 posts) -

Aliens mind controlled Shelby. Aliens control CBS. It's obvious.

#10 Posted by Ragnar (90 posts) -

I'm curious to know how the rights to Distillery are handled in this deal. I suspect they go with GB/Dave, with CBSi being allowed to use them elsewhere? I say this because a solid CMS is worth it's weight in gold to a large company with multiple sites and that combined with bolstering their already solid games front would make a lot of sense. I wouldn't be shocked to see Whiskey tech popping up in GameSpot and other CBSi sites.

#11 Posted by ProfessorEss (7401 posts) -

@will_leisure said:

C.R.E.A.M.

Git tha money, dollah dollah billz y'all.

#12 Posted by DrPockets000 (2859 posts) -

I would imagine with a start-up business like this, building and then selling is the idea.

#13 Posted by NekuSakuraba (7241 posts) -

Maybe they just wanted to do bigger and crazier stuff and didn't have the resources or funds at the Whiskey offices?

As for if there was or wasn't anything we could have done, well, I suppose not. I tried to help out by subscribing to support them but subscriptions probably weren't enough to get them were they wanted to be and that's fine, they wouldn't go to CBS without knowing what they are doing.

#14 Posted by R_Coles (84 posts) -

As with everything else in the Business world, Money...

#15 Posted by Animasta (14699 posts) -

@Ragnar said:

I'm curious to know how the rights to Distillery are handled in this deal. I suspect they go with GB/Dave, with CBSi being allowed to use them elsewhere? I say this because a solid CMS is worth it's weight in gold to a large company with multiple sites and that combined with bolstering their already solid games front would make a lot of sense. I wouldn't be shocked to see Whiskey tech popping up in GameSpot and other CBSi sites.

it actually went with tested/AV/screened

#16 Posted by DarthOrange (3864 posts) -
#17 Posted by FLStyle (4725 posts) -

@Ragnar said:

I'm curious to know how the rights to Distillery are handled in this deal. I suspect they go with GB/Dave, with CBSi being allowed to use them elsewhere? I say this because a solid CMS is worth it's weight in gold to a large company with multiple sites and that combined with bolstering their already solid games front would make a lot of sense. I wouldn't be shocked to see Whiskey tech popping up in GameSpot and other CBSi sites.

Whiskey Media was bought by BermanBraun, the Whiskey Media platform, tech and everything else belongs to them. CBSi has GB, CV, Dave and Alexis, that's it. So either CBSi has a licensing deal in place with BermanBraun for GB and CV to stay how it is or you can expect some changes to GB and CV in the coming year.

#18 Posted by iAmJohn (6121 posts) -

@Ragnar said:

I'm curious to know how the rights to Distillery are handled in this deal. I suspect they go with GB/Dave, with CBSi being allowed to use them elsewhere? I say this because a solid CMS is worth it's weight in gold to a large company with multiple sites and that combined with bolstering their already solid games front would make a lot of sense. I wouldn't be shocked to see Whiskey tech popping up in GameSpot and other CBSi sites.

Why wouldn't the Whiskey tech have gone with the Whiskey engineering team? Dave's a designer, not a coder. My based-on-nothing speculative guess would be that either GB and CV have permanent rights to the Whiskey platform as part of the sale, or they've licensed them for a while and will have to redesign the sites to strip out the Whiskey hooks down the line.

Also:

@will_leisure said:

C.R.E.A.M.

#19 Posted by GunslingerPanda (4796 posts) -

Well, this is Shelby Bonnie's business. He funds a website, gets it profitable, and sells it off. This was likely his plan from the start, and that's okay. I'm grateful to the man for giving us Whiskey Media for the last however many years.

#20 Posted by Ragnar (90 posts) -

That's true. Forgot about Dave's actual role. I sometimes put too many hats on him. Good get for BermanBraun, then.

#21 Edited by bybeach (4848 posts) -

Concur; Money.

#22 Posted by Jayzilla (2563 posts) -

The production values for the end of the year awards just went way up. Patrick will be able to drop the bass way lower now.

#23 Posted by Dtat (1623 posts) -

@Canteu said:

Also, we're subscribers, not shareholders. So no there is nothing we could have done.

That is definitely true. No question. However that was the way they pitched it to us. The GB staff has always said that they liked to think they were doing business directly with their viewers, that we were supporting them and keeping them free from having to turn to big companies for money. So it is perfectly reasonable for subscribers to feel a little burned by all this.

#24 Posted by Legend (2659 posts) -

This is what's bothering me the most about this whole thing. They never explained the reason, and I don't think they ever will. If it's what most of us are suspecting (money), then I understand why they didn't explain it:

"So, yeah.. um.. we decided to fuck up this great thing we got going here because we got ourselves a good deal that will bring us loads of cash. It's gonna be great!! For us at least, who the fuck cares what you guys think anyway."

:P

Was there anything as a community we could have done to not have it happen? After they had the drive to get more subscribers in September, were there just not enough to justify another year at the current expenditures?

I don't know.. Maybe if they told us they had financial troubles, and started a kickstarter or just another regular drive, people would've given them more? For a group of websites that is built around community, they didn't really have much trust in their community, did they?

#25 Posted by believer258 (11949 posts) -

@Bwast said:

Aliens mind controlled Shelby. Aliens control CBS. It's obvious.

Oh my God.

Anyway, it was money. It's always money. It's always been money, and always will be. This doesn't make the GB crew sellouts - it means they needed money and wanted to do bigger things.

Online
#26 Edited by Cramsy (1171 posts) -

@Legend said:

This is what's bothering me the most about this whole thing. They never explained the reason, and I don't think they ever will. If it's what most of us are suspecting (money), then I understand why they didn't explain it:

"So, yeah.. um.. we decided to fuck up this great thing we got going here because we got ourselves a good deal that will bring us loads of cash. It's gonna be great!! For us at least, who the fuck cares what you guys think anyway."

:P

Was there anything as a community we could have done to not have it happen? After they had the drive to get more subscribers in September, were there just not enough to justify another year at the current expenditures?

I don't know.. Maybe if they told us they had financial troubles, and started a kickstarter or just another regular drive, people would've given them more? For a group of websites that is built around community, they didn't really have much trust in their community, did they?

How ridiculous. Nothing has even happened at Gamespot yet so how on EARTH can you make that judgement. 'So we decided to fuck up this great thing" lol great argument you've got there.

The dude makes websites, sells them, that's his game and he's probably very good at it. Maybe the owner wanted to move on and that's fine.

" For a group of websites that is built around community, they didn't really have much trust in their community, did they?"

Trust to do what exactly? I'm sure what the sites sold for far exceeded what the community could generate and that's fine. Giantbomb still exists and they're with old friends again. They wouldn't just go if they weren't comfortable, otherwise I'd be making an account on www.snakesnakesnake.com as we speak.

#27 Posted by itspizza (435 posts) -

I think the issue was that straight up Whiskey media didn't make money. Tested and Screened failed to bring in a premium member base of their own (Dave said 98% of premium memberships came out of GB). If whiskey would just stuck with GB instead of expanding with Tested and Screened they might still be in business. They wouldn't have had to pay salaries for all those extra employees, wouldn't have to move into a much bigger and expensive work space in downtown SF, and would have made about the same amount off premium memberships. Or I could be wrong and Shelby just solid the brands for a crap ton of money.

#28 Posted by astonish (211 posts) -

Money. The whiskey media folks were more open than others about subscriber numbers (remember the GB world tour?) and relative percentages of visits, etc. Essentially when you run the numbers and take some guesses at staffing costs then numbers didn't really show a hugely profitable/growing business.

I think it was less about someone "cashing out" on the business and more about "these people do good things, where can we put them in a better financial situation so they can keep doing it as a team."

I guess we will never know, but I doubt the original goal of Whiskey was to start up with the goal of selling in X number of years. Things just didn't blow up for them the way they had hoped.

#29 Posted by Branthog (5562 posts) -

@GunslingerPanda said:

Well, this is Shelby Bonnie's business. He funds a website, gets it profitable, and sells it off. This was likely his plan from the start, and that's okay. I'm grateful to the man for giving us Whiskey Media for the last however many years.

This is what everyone does with everything on the internet. Nobody just makes something to have a business anymore. Everything has to make money and everything has to be sold off to some idiot in a much larger company who seriously overvalues your company (like the idea that CNN would pay $200m for that shitfest that is Mashable). Starting a business and then sticking with it "is for old people, like over 25 and stuff".

#30 Edited by BrockNRolla (1702 posts) -

@FLStyle said:

@Ragnar said:

I'm curious to know how the rights to Distillery are handled in this deal. I suspect they go with GB/Dave, with CBSi being allowed to use them elsewhere? I say this because a solid CMS is worth it's weight in gold to a large company with multiple sites and that combined with bolstering their already solid games front would make a lot of sense. I wouldn't be shocked to see Whiskey tech popping up in GameSpot and other CBSi sites.

Whiskey Media was bought by BermanBraun, the Whiskey Media platform, tech and everything else belongs to them. CBSi has GB, CV, Dave and Alexis, that's it. So either CBSi has a licensing deal in place with BermanBraun for GB and CV to stay how it is or you can expect some changes to GB and CV in the coming year.

Do we actually know that? I'd be curious to know where you've gotten that information. Tested has changed drastically already which might lead me to believe that the platform and tech weren't necessarily exclusively owned by Whiskey Media (Since Tested is owned by BermanBraun). I'm not saying you aren't correct, I'm just curious where you're getting your information.

#31 Posted by Drebin_893 (2918 posts) -

@BrockNRolla said:

@FLStyle said:

@Ragnar said:

I'm curious to know how the rights to Distillery are handled in this deal. I suspect they go with GB/Dave, with CBSi being allowed to use them elsewhere? I say this because a solid CMS is worth it's weight in gold to a large company with multiple sites and that combined with bolstering their already solid games front would make a lot of sense. I wouldn't be shocked to see Whiskey tech popping up in GameSpot and other CBSi sites.

Whiskey Media was bought by BermanBraun, the Whiskey Media platform, tech and everything else belongs to them. CBSi has GB, CV, Dave and Alexis, that's it. So either CBSi has a licensing deal in place with BermanBraun for GB and CV to stay how it is or you can expect some changes to GB and CV in the coming year.

Do we actually know that? I'd be curious to know where you've gotten that information. Tested has changed drastically already which might lead me to believe that the platform and tech weren't necessarily exclusively owned by Whiskey Media (Since Tested is owned by BermanBraun). I'm not saying you aren't correct, I'm just curious where you're getting your information.

Pretty sure Dave said it, either way, he's correct.

#32 Posted by GunslingerPanda (4796 posts) -

@Branthog said:

@GunslingerPanda said:

Well, this is Shelby Bonnie's business. He funds a website, gets it profitable, and sells it off. This was likely his plan from the start, and that's okay. I'm grateful to the man for giving us Whiskey Media for the last however many years.

This is what everyone does with everything on the internet. Nobody just makes something to have a business anymore. Everything has to make money and everything has to be sold off to some idiot in a much larger company who seriously overvalues your company (like the idea that CNN would pay $200m for that shitfest that is Mashable). Starting a business and then sticking with it "is for old people, like over 25 and stuff".

Yep. It's the same with houses and "property developers," everyone's just buying house not for a home but for an eventual profit. I can't stand watching those TV shows since they are constantly calling their house a "property." Kind of disgusting.

#33 Posted by UitDeToekomst (716 posts) -

So I guess "why was Whiskey Media sold?" has become the new "why was Jeff fired?"

#34 Edited by FLStyle (4725 posts) -

@Drebin_893 said:

@BrockNRolla said:

@FLStyle said:

@Ragnar said:

I'm curious to know how the rights to Distillery are handled in this deal. I suspect they go with GB/Dave, with CBSi being allowed to use them elsewhere? I say this because a solid CMS is worth it's weight in gold to a large company with multiple sites and that combined with bolstering their already solid games front would make a lot of sense. I wouldn't be shocked to see Whiskey tech popping up in GameSpot and other CBSi sites.

Whiskey Media was bought by BermanBraun, the Whiskey Media platform, tech and everything else belongs to them. CBSi has GB, CV, Dave and Alexis, that's it. So either CBSi has a licensing deal in place with BermanBraun for GB and CV to stay how it is or you can expect some changes to GB and CV in the coming year.

Do we actually know that? I'd be curious to know where you've gotten that information. Tested has changed drastically already which might lead me to believe that the platform and tech weren't necessarily exclusively owned by Whiskey Media (Since Tested is owned by BermanBraun). I'm not saying you aren't correct, I'm just curious where you're getting your information.

Pretty sure Dave said it, either way, he's correct.

Here's the official quote.

“With the addition of Whiskey’s first rate team and powerful, state of the art publishing, data and social tools platform, we will be able to further enhance our user experience and engagement, and provide our advertising partners with unparalleled data insights,” said Lloyd Braun and Gail Berman, who run BermanBraun, in a statement. “One of the other great parts of this acquisition is that we will have Shelby Bonnie in our lives. We have enormous respect for Shelby personally and professionally, and his insights, relationships and acumen will be invaluable to us.”

http://allthingsd.com/20120315/exclusive-bermanbraun-buys-most-of-shelby-bonnies-whiskey-media/

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/bermanbraun-whiskey-media-300778

http://www.deadline.com/2012/03/bermanbraun-buys-digital-content-provider-whiskey-media/

#35 Posted by BrockNRolla (1702 posts) -

@FLStyle said:

@Drebin_893 said:

@BrockNRolla said:

@FLStyle said:

@Ragnar said:

I'm curious to know how the rights to Distillery are handled in this deal. I suspect they go with GB/Dave, with CBSi being allowed to use them elsewhere? I say this because a solid CMS is worth it's weight in gold to a large company with multiple sites and that combined with bolstering their already solid games front would make a lot of sense. I wouldn't be shocked to see Whiskey tech popping up in GameSpot and other CBSi sites.

Whiskey Media was bought by BermanBraun, the Whiskey Media platform, tech and everything else belongs to them. CBSi has GB, CV, Dave and Alexis, that's it. So either CBSi has a licensing deal in place with BermanBraun for GB and CV to stay how it is or you can expect some changes to GB and CV in the coming year.

Do we actually know that? I'd be curious to know where you've gotten that information. Tested has changed drastically already which might lead me to believe that the platform and tech weren't necessarily exclusively owned by Whiskey Media (Since Tested is owned by BermanBraun). I'm not saying you aren't correct, I'm just curious where you're getting your information.

Pretty sure Dave said it, either way, he's correct.

Here's the official quote.

“With the addition of Whiskey’s first rate team and powerful, state of the art publishing, data and social tools platform, we will be able to further enhance our user experience and engagement, and provide our advertising partners with unparalleled data insights,” said Lloyd Braun and Gail Berman, who run BermanBraun, in a statement. “One of the other great parts of this acquisition is that we will have Shelby Bonnie in our lives. We have enormous respect for Shelby personally and professionally, and his insights, relationships and acumen will be invaluable to us.”

http://allthingsd.com/20120315/exclusive-bermanbraun-buys-most-of-shelby-bonnies-whiskey-media/

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/bermanbraun-whiskey-media-300778

http://www.deadline.com/2012/03/bermanbraun-buys-digital-content-provider-whiskey-media/

Yeah, the articles definitely mention getting the "publishing platform" but I wasn't sure if that implied exclusive ownership of the tech, and therefore GB would need to license or change their tech and form at some point, or if GB will still maintain their personal right to use the tech. That's a pretty specific, albiet very possible, contractual agreement. That's what I'm curious about.

#36 Posted by ZenaxPure (2569 posts) -
@acrimsonbullet said:

I think the issue was that straight up Whiskey media didn't make money. Tested and Screened failed to bring in a premium member base of their own (Dave said 98% of premium memberships came out of GB). If whiskey would just stuck with GB instead of expanding with Tested and Screened they might still be in business. They wouldn't have had to pay salaries for all those extra employees, wouldn't have to move into a much bigger and expensive work space in downtown SF, and would have made about the same amount off premium memberships. Or I could be wrong and Shelby just solid the brands for a crap ton of money.

Ding ding ding, pretty sure we have a winner. They attempted rapid expansion but "failed" (in terms of pure monetary value) three times. Screened, Tested, and Anime Vice were all very small sites compared to GB and Comic Vine and at the rate everything was going I imagine Tested and Screened would of shared the same fate as Anime Vice if they had not sold the company. 
#37 Posted by 1p (760 posts) -

Is it safe to assume that they split the sites and sold them separately because they couldn't find a singular buyer that wanted all of them?

#38 Posted by Yanngc33 (4496 posts) -

@Bwast said:

Aliens mind controlled Shelby. Aliens control CBS. It's obvious.

Dude it's not aliens, it's luchadeer. He's running the show

#39 Posted by DrDarkStryfe (1119 posts) -

There has been talk of changes to the website from Dave, and they keep throwing around a date in April for when things turn over. It is possible that they are licensing the use of the Distillery for the foreseeable future, or that Dave will come up with something new.

It is clear that the two big parts of the sale of Whiskey Media is the Distillery, and Tested.

#40 Posted by Harkat (1102 posts) -

@Bwast said:

Aliens mind controlled Shelby. Aliens control CBS. It's obvious.

That's BS man, reptilians control CBS.

#41 Posted by GuyIncognito (445 posts) -

@DrDarkStryfe said:

There has been talk of changes to the website from Dave, and they keep throwing around a date in April for when things turn over. It is possible that they are licensing the use of the Distillery for the foreseeable future, or that Dave will come up with something new.

It is clear that the two big parts of the sale of Whiskey Media is the Distillery, and Tested.

Dave will use Eastern Block technology...the tech behind gamebomb.ru.

#42 Posted by SeanFoster (871 posts) -

I bet Shelby saw dollar signs after the Time Magazine "Best Websites of 2011" announcement.

#43 Posted by Binman88 (3687 posts) -

@BrockNRolla said:

@FLStyle said:

@Ragnar said:

I'm curious to know how the rights to Distillery are handled in this deal. I suspect they go with GB/Dave, with CBSi being allowed to use them elsewhere? I say this because a solid CMS is worth it's weight in gold to a large company with multiple sites and that combined with bolstering their already solid games front would make a lot of sense. I wouldn't be shocked to see Whiskey tech popping up in GameSpot and other CBSi sites.

Whiskey Media was bought by BermanBraun, the Whiskey Media platform, tech and everything else belongs to them. CBSi has GB, CV, Dave and Alexis, that's it. So either CBSi has a licensing deal in place with BermanBraun for GB and CV to stay how it is or you can expect some changes to GB and CV in the coming year.

Do we actually know that? I'd be curious to know where you've gotten that information. Tested has changed drastically already which might lead me to believe that the platform and tech weren't necessarily exclusively owned by Whiskey Media (Since Tested is owned by BermanBraun). I'm not saying you aren't correct, I'm just curious where you're getting your information.

The changes at Tested have been purely aesthetic. It's the same platform, moderately redesigned.

#44 Posted by alternate (2711 posts) -

The memberships were great for keeping them going but hardly even covered salaries - let alone enough for growth. They tried to get ads on the site numerous times and failed to make much headway. Less advertiser bucks means game publishers go with gamespot and IGN - smaller sites are lucky for crumbs.

#45 Posted by 71Ranchero (2776 posts) -

Im glad it didnt go down as bad as it could have considering all the shady shit that Shelby was involved in in the years before he formed Whiskey Media.

Online
#46 Posted by ddensel (384 posts) -

Shelby Bonnie funds and builds websites to sell them. That's the way it works, no one builds anything for keeps anymore. I think people were under the impression WM was jointly owned by the employees, like a Co-Op or something.

Remaining independent indefinitely was probably never an option, even if WM made gobs of money. Selling to a larger company with more resources and experience in games journalism like CBSi was the best option.

#47 Posted by iAmJohn (6121 posts) -

@1p said:

Is it safe to assume that they split the sites and sold them separately because they couldn't find a singular buyer that wanted all of them?

It's probably safer to assume that a singular buyer offered them less money for the whole thing than CBSi and BermanBraum offered for the pieces.

#48 Posted by Elazul (1327 posts) -

@Zenaxzd said:

@acrimsonbullet said:

I think the issue was that straight up Whiskey media didn't make money. Tested and Screened failed to bring in a premium member base of their own (Dave said 98% of premium memberships came out of GB). If whiskey would just stuck with GB instead of expanding with Tested and Screened they might still be in business. They wouldn't have had to pay salaries for all those extra employees, wouldn't have to move into a much bigger and expensive work space in downtown SF, and would have made about the same amount off premium memberships. Or I could be wrong and Shelby just solid the brands for a crap ton of money.

Ding ding ding, pretty sure we have a winner. They attempted rapid expansion but "failed" (in terms of pure monetary value) three times. Screened, Tested, and Anime Vice were all very small sites compared to GB and Comic Vine and at the rate everything was going I imagine Tested and Screened would of shared the same fate as Anime Vice if they had not sold the company.

I absolutely agree. Whether people want to believe it or not this sale was absolutely inevitable. One look at the page views of GB and CV versus any of the other Whiskey sites should tell you that business-wise, Tested, Screened and Anime Vice were a huge mistake and the amount of subscriber-cash Whiskey was pulling in simply wasn't making up for that. I mean, did no-one think it slightly worrying that the "100,000th subscriber gets a free steak sandwich!" message was still there after a year and a half?

#49 Posted by MachoFantastico (4719 posts) -

Lot of people jumping to conclusions on here, we don't know any of the details and we probably never will. We heard a few times that GB was popular and counted for most of Whiskey's traffic and it sounds like there have been interested parties for a while now.

This was inetivable really, and I'm guessing Jeff was keen on returning to familiar grounds, he couldn't hold his delight when he announced it could he. It's weird but probably be for the best in the long run, GB now have more resources to do crazy stuff.

Also found it strange how baffled people were at them buying ComicVine to, don't they have like a comic presence anyway and (I don't follow comics) I've been told by friends that CV is a rather highly regarded site so that to makes sense to add them to the family.

#50 Posted by iAmJohn (6121 posts) -

@TrueEnglishGent said:

Also found it strange how baffled people were at them buying ComicVine to, don't they have like a comic presence anyway and (I don't follow comics) I've been told by friends that CV is a rather highly regarded site so that to makes sense to add them to the family.

Comic Vine is the most popular comic book related website on the internet. The entire internet. Anyone who doesn't understand why someone would want to own that clearly doesn't understand a lot of things.

And like you were saying, man, people sure are making a lot of assumptions about how much Tested, Screened and Anime Vice had been "dragging down" Whiskey Media and stifling them, in spite of the fact that we know next to nothing about how well those sites were actually doing and one of those sites hasn't had a staff for almost two years so at a point you're just paying to keep the site online.