Join 3,512 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)

Price of Metafilter
May 19, 2013 11:54 AM   Subscribe

This post got me wondering if anyone has tried to buy Metafilter, how much an honest value would be, and if people would leave if a similar entity to Yahoo bought the Blue.
posted by Renoroc to MetaFilter-Related at 11:54 AM (166 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

Uh...

$20, same as in town, right?
posted by to sir with millipedes at 11:58 AM on May 19, 2013 [29 favorites]


If it's worth $12, let me know. Someone I know (not saying who or anything, but I just know a guy) has $12 in his wallet right now and might be verrrrry interested in such a proposition.
posted by Frobenius Twist at 12:00 PM on May 19, 2013 [17 favorites]


Noooooooooooooooo!

That said, I would invest in MetaFilter just to keep it independent and stop it becoming Mtfltr.
posted by arcticseal at 12:06 PM on May 19, 2013 [15 favorites]


If I owned this place, I'd want to turn it into a worker's collective like Bob's Red Mill. The question is: who are the workers?
posted by anotherpanacea at 12:07 PM on May 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


People have raised (or are trying to raise) wodges of cash to buy more insane things.
posted by Wordshore at 12:08 PM on May 19, 2013


People are free to speculate if they want to, but this kind of discussion here on the site makes me feel a little weird since most of the information that would be useful in making any kind of meaningful valuation would be proprietary information of mathowie.
posted by MoonOrb at 12:10 PM on May 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


It's worth about five of your American dollars to me.
posted by StephenF at 12:15 PM on May 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


Tumblr:
     $1.1 billion / 108.4 million Tumblr blogs == $10.15 / blog

MeFi:
     ~176K user accounts x $10.15/account = ~$1.8 million
posted by mazola at 12:19 PM on May 19, 2013 [5 favorites]


Not sure, but this has been discussed in a few previous MeTa posts.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 12:22 PM on May 19, 2013


I've thought for a long time that a company would have to be crazy to make a credible offer to buy the site. Crazy as in recklessly fiscally irresponsible. Metafilter's not really the sort of site you can productize: our userbase isn't that big, we don't offer a commoditizable service, the community is self-aware and prone to crankiness about small let alone seismic change, the staff is small and loyal and not trivially replaceable. You have to start backward and ask, what would they get out of it? And what would what they get out of it be worth? I don't see the path from there to the kind of money that would really make us start to consider even blinking.

Like, if someone offered Matt literally a billion dollars? I'd tell him to make it and throw me a few points. But no one will ever do that so it's a moot point. It doesn't make sense to offer us enough money for us to even think about it, as far as I can tell.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:25 PM on May 19, 2013 [28 favorites]


if people would leave if a similar entity to Yahoo bought the Blue.

The premise of this is so flawed that I can't even comprehend how I would react were that to happen, which it couldn't, ever, in any possible reality.
posted by carsonb at 12:26 PM on May 19, 2013


Also.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 12:26 PM on May 19, 2013


cortex, I like that your reasoning in response to this issue hasn't changed much, but that the tone has:

Metafilter isn't very sexy. It's not very pitchable. What's the hook? "The people there aren't stupid"?
posted by carsonb at 12:29 PM on May 19, 2013 [13 favorites]


my biggest fear re a buyout would be a banned member with a grudge who won the lottery
posted by elizardbits at 12:30 PM on May 19, 2013 [28 favorites]


elizardbits: Scott Adams
posted by carsonb at 12:31 PM on May 19, 2013 [25 favorites]


carsonb, I'm guessing I didn't have fresh-baked cookies at hand that day is all.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:31 PM on May 19, 2013 [4 favorites]


Here's the business model:

AOL buys MetaFilter and then charges users $25/account to leave.
posted by mazola at 12:32 PM on May 19, 2013 [13 favorites]


I wonder if there si anyone out there who would actually believe they could successfully buy Metafilter. And by successfully I mean have a metafilter after five years that anyone would recognize. Even Matt's fairly laissez-faire attitude towards feature creep has succumbed to thing like titles so it's pretty hard to imagine anyone with enough initiative to buy the place not ruining it completely.

Besides which if Yahoo! bought Metafilter the next time I had to log out because of croupted cookies or change in computers would be the last ime I ever commented. I know because I've got this problem with yahoo groups where I can't log in; I can't create a new login with my email address; they won't accept gmail + addressing; and I can't recover my password (probably because I made some typo in either my security question or birthday 15 years ago). I keep receiving mail from groups I was interested in 10 years ago but I can't unsubscribe and I can't join new groups.
posted by Mitheral at 12:33 PM on May 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


Well, we've lived through the dot-com era, so we know that companies are willing to spend large sums of money on very dubious value propositions. But I can't see what that would be for Metafilter.

One way to value Mefi would be the revenue it brings in, I guess. That's mostly from ads shown to non-subscribing AskMe visitors, as I understand it from earlier threads. Multiply the annual income by 10 or 20 to get a plausible purchase price, maybe?

All of this assumes that mathowie doesn't have a significant personal, emotional interest in the site's continued functioning and health, and I don't think that's true (Metafilter wouldn't work at all if the mods held themselves as separate from the general userbase). I guess the question is, mathowie racks up some gambling debts to the mob or whatever; at what level would he consider selling mefi to keep his legs unbroken rather than seeking some other source of money?
posted by hattifattener at 12:35 PM on May 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Metafilter's not really the sort of site you can productize

Two words: ASCII Porn.
posted by Wordshore at 12:38 PM on May 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


I guess the question is, mathowie racks up some gambling debts to the mob or whatever; at what level would he consider selling mefi to keep his legs unbroken rather than seeking some other source of money?

I like where this is headed. Can a slashfiction tumblr about my addictions be far behind? :)
posted by mathowie (staff) at 12:38 PM on May 19, 2013 [67 favorites]


elizardbits/carsonb: Aha! The completion to my scenario! Yes, a banned member maneuvers Matt into becoming indebted to the mob, and offers to buy metafilter to cancel the mob debt. I'm not sure who writes that novel— Raymond Chandler? Carl Hiaasen? Lemony Snicket?
posted by hattifattener at 12:39 PM on May 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


I think I've mentioned before I've talked to people at large companies before that do these sorts of things and talks never went very far because it quickly becomes apparent we have no secret sauce technology that they could exploit, our numbers are small potatoes compared to most big social services, and this site would suck if we tried to grow it 10x or 100x in size overnight.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 12:46 PM on May 19, 2013 [19 favorites]


obvsly cassandra clare so she could steal your idea outright and claim it as her own
posted by elizardbits at 12:47 PM on May 19, 2013 [15 favorites]


You didn't let them, like, taste the favorites sauce? Cause that stuff is +magical+.
posted by carsonb at 12:51 PM on May 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's a magical mix of unicorns, kittens and caffeine.
posted by arcticseal at 12:53 PM on May 19, 2013


Can a slashfiction tumblr about my addictions be far behind?

man why do you even says thing like that around me
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:57 PM on May 19, 2013 [215 favorites]


Mattie could spend the money for the forces of good. For example, I would travel to Maui for the hukilau.

just sayin'...
posted by mule98J at 1:00 PM on May 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


it quickly becomes apparent we have no secret sauce technology that they could exploit,

Yeah "All you have to do is pay a few people living wages and give them benefits and make sure they're mostly respected by the community and try to always do what you say and have consistency of approach that lasts over a decade and a community of interesting, intelligent people who support you" doesn't scale. Thank jehu.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 1:02 PM on May 19, 2013 [61 favorites]


You say this is the one she used? Rusty leans back and cups his chin, surveying the bike-barrow, The very same one?
mathowie wipes the sheen of sweat from his brow and chuckles a little, She popped a few more out and upgraded. That contraption is crazy. I couldn't pass this up when I saw it, and starts the arduous process of covering the huge machine with its fitted canvas storage tent. The buyer starts and grabbs mathowie's arm and rusty says You knew we were having another one, didn't you? You got this because you know I could never pass it up in good conscious, even though I'm time-trialing right now? I'M TIME-TRIALING RIGHT NOW, NOT TOWING KIDS AROUND—

I sort of want to keep going, but probably shouldn't.
posted by carsonb at 1:06 PM on May 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Increase valuation by increasing revenue. For example:

posted by mazola at 1:19 PM on May 19 [+] [!] [$] <-- In app purchase: $2.99 "unlock everything" Big Man package
posted by mazola at 1:10 PM on May 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


My [$] won't click
posted by de at 1:14 PM on May 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


I've thought about how you'd make a site like AskMe work as well but scale up to something seriously large (not for business reasons, for... other reasons. Don't ask.) I think it could be done, but only if you started from square one - there are enough things you'd have to drastically change that it would make zero sense to try to convert an existing site.

The blue is an even more intractable problem. The kind of moderation we do costs more faster than the ad revenue increases as the size of the community grows. There are steps we could theoretically take, if the community, say, doubled, but they'd be drastic and hard and we'd have to think for a long time if they would make more sense then just gating registrations again.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 1:34 PM on May 19, 2013


So Scott Adams and Tao Lin team up to buy out Metafilter.

Is anyone writing this down?
posted by shakespeherian at 1:50 PM on May 19, 2013 [4 favorites]


cortex is prolly setting up a a slashfiction tumblr about it even as we speak
posted by a humble nudibranch at 2:02 PM on May 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


My sockpuppet army has been slowly buying a contolling interest in MetaFilter for a long, long time, now. I've actually owned MetaFilter outright for almost 3 months. Luckily, I'm too busy fighting my own sockpuppets to change anything, but one day, you... All. Will. Kneel.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 2:02 PM on May 19, 2013 [11 favorites]


How much is it worth in vibrating pancakes and bean plates?
posted by FunkyHelix at 2:05 PM on May 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


Can we get everyone in this thread to declare whether they're one of IRFH's sockpuppets or one of mine? Just looking for a headcount.
posted by shakespeherian at 2:21 PM on May 19, 2013 [7 favorites]


Yeah "All you have to do is pay a few people living wages and give them benefits and make sure they're mostly respected by the community and try to always do what you say and have consistency of approach that lasts over a decade and a community of interesting, intelligent people who support you" doesn't scale.

See, that's the problem right there, 20th century thinking. Along with no images and or social media, it's the reason that MetaFilter isn't a global brand. China is a rapidly expanding market, I can't you guys aren't expanding into that territory, it's wide open.

Let's get together and brainstorm over drinks. We can replace the moderation with Indians, right? They're just people and India has plenty of those. Get Two Feathers on the phone, he always has people lined up.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:24 PM on May 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


Every day on MeFi seems kind of like a hostile takeover to me.
posted by mazola at 2:26 PM on May 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


"I was just thinking the other day how AskMe could really benefit from an infusion of ideas and leadership by the same kind of talented and visionary people that made Yahoo Answers such a great success," said no one ever.
posted by Rhomboid at 2:35 PM on May 19, 2013 [26 favorites]


man why do you even says thing like that around me

I'll have you know that for reasons which remain inscrutable, even and especially to myself, I spent nearly two precious minutes of my life reading 1 Direction fanfiction this afternoon, and I can say with authority that cortex's is better on every level. Rawr.
posted by jokeefe at 2:45 PM on May 19, 2013 [6 favorites]


> the community is self-aware and prone to crankiness about small let alone seismic change

You know, this reminds me of a joke about another online community, but it works well with MetaFilter as well:
Q: How many Mefites does it take to change a light bulb?
A: What!? Change!? NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

And now I discovered there's a metatalk lightbulb joke thread.
posted by bjrn at 2:49 PM on May 19, 2013 [11 favorites]


carsonb: "Metafilter isn't very sexy. It's not very pitchable. What's the hook? "The people there aren't stupid"?"

I'm pretty sure that marketing types would see that last point as a liability.
posted by octothorpe at 3:12 PM on May 19, 2013


I like where this is headed. Can a slashfiction tumblr about my addictions be far behind? :)
posted by mathowie (staff) at 3:38 PM on May 19 [+] [!]


You assume a LOT if you assume this doesn't already exist someplace. Something something addicted to mathowie's behind...
posted by ersatzkat at 3:17 PM on May 19, 2013


I thought it would be, like, his gambling would have sex with his alcoholism and stuff.
posted by Sys Rq at 3:20 PM on May 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


This is where I'm going to admit that I recently had a conversation with somebody and it became apparent that I have been under the mistaken belief that slashfiction is fan fiction where people got killed.

Wrong. Wrong wrong wrong. So wrong it's almost funny.
posted by bilabial at 3:24 PM on May 19, 2013 [43 favorites]


sometimes they do but there is usually healing cock afterwards
posted by elizardbits at 3:26 PM on May 19, 2013 [23 favorites]


So wrong it's almost funny.

oh we soared straight past almost.
posted by nadawi at 3:27 PM on May 19, 2013 [9 favorites]


I mean I imagine what would happen is that matt would pocket the money and then be all 'Valyrian is my mother tongue, sucker. Also, MeFites are not slaves'. And then we would all burn the place down and march off to cross the narrow sea, liberating bulletin boards and forums along the way. No?
posted by Acheman at 3:30 PM on May 19, 2013 [24 favorites]


either way someone gets pierced by a sword iykwim
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:30 PM on May 19, 2013 [7 favorites]


So Scott Adams and Tao Lin team up to buy out Metafilter.

Is anyone writing this down?


My subconscious. Thanks for the nightmares.
posted by zarq at 3:45 PM on May 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yeah "All you have to do is pay a few people living wages and give them benefits and make sure they're mostly respected by the community and try to always do what you say and have consistency of approach that lasts over a decade and a community of interesting, intelligent people who support you" doesn't scale. Thank jehu.

Out of curiousity - has any attempt ever been made at scaling along a different axis? Rather than attempting one 10-times-the-size Metafilter, why not 10 Metafilters? Different name & identity, slightly different community vibe, but same basic template.

A community blog franchise, basically.
posted by Ryvar at 3:59 PM on May 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


I think that's essentially what they've done with the various subsites.
posted by anifinder at 4:01 PM on May 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


The subsites draw from the same userbase and core site identity. I'm talking about cloning the site & subsites in order to enable scaling without running afoul of the issues restless_nomad lists above.
posted by Ryvar at 4:04 PM on May 19, 2013


Mitheral: I wonder if there si anyone out there who would actually believe they could successfully buy Metafilter. And by successfully I mean have a metafilter after five years that anyone would recognize.

I'm absolutely certain there are people who would believe that. The trouble is that they're exactly like Yahoo, in the sense that their belief has no correlation whatsoever with reality (2, 3, 4.)
posted by SMPA at 4:08 PM on May 19, 2013


slides a stack of cat pictures across the table

You can keep those. There's more where that came from.

leans back
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 4:11 PM on May 19, 2013 [6 favorites]


Ryvar, Whedonesque basically cloned MetaFilter back in 2002. FAQ about spinoff sites.
posted by cgc373 at 4:45 PM on May 19, 2013


I thought Matt sold Metafilter back in 2007 to AOL?
posted by blue_beetle at 4:47 PM on May 19, 2013


Well, rumor has it, the Koch Brothers are looking for some Internet properties ... just sayin'.
posted by madamjujujive at 5:14 PM on May 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


The best part of the methowie tumblr is the "HI BOSS" tag.
posted by Jacqueline at 5:23 PM on May 19, 2013 [12 favorites]


I'm somewhat disappointed that Political Filter didn't make it.
posted by Mitheral at 5:27 PM on May 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Estimated worth — $331,000,000.
How much does it make?
$8,399 / day
$251,970 / month
$3,023,640 / year
posted by unliteral at 5:31 PM on May 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


HAIL COLONEL METAFILTER
posted by Existential Dread at 5:43 PM on May 19, 2013


I'm somewhat disappointed that Political Filter didn't make it.

I am too, it's a good idea and it seems like there is an active core of people who would like it. I think part of the problem with spin-offs at some level is that

1. We're not handing off the entire code base to people - otherwise you wind up in tech support hell forever and you can't really pay us enough to do that, seriously
2. Part of what people like here is the breadth, such as it is, of this community, which is harder to replicate in a newer site
3. Someone has to basically run it on a subscription model or a labor of love (or something branded) because it won't make money off the bat, at all.

MeFi got some Googlejuice/traction from the fact that it has millions of relevant pages for a whole bunch of stuff. And does very few "monetization" hacky things that can be problematic. But that's hard to replicate especially with a site that either you want an early ROI from or one that you need to have a day job with at the same time. It's challenging.

The Stack Overflow people are doing the best job at turning the Q/A thing into a platform that doesn't seem all oogy and doesn't suck and I think their Discourse thing is neat as well. But it's still pretty challenging and either you take VC to build it or you deal with the fact that it's going to have to be run by volunteers for a while. And this gets back to the point that for a lot of "brands" who might want to actually spend money on community, they're usually okay with doing good enough and don't feel the need to fine tune beyond that. Which is fine, it just means that what we have here is really nichey in some ways.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 5:58 PM on May 19, 2013


Okay now let's get serious.

Someone here in Florida won close to $600,000,000. So let's say it was me. And let's say I'm wanting to buy MetaFilter. The domain name and the site. Including all rights to everything.

Name your price.
posted by Splunge at 6:05 PM on May 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


PoliFilter would quickly be derailed
posted by bq at 6:18 PM on May 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


While Matt has said as much plenty of times, I feel it can't be overstated: a big, big factor that has made Metafilter great is the fact that he's never sold out, for which I am eternally grateful. Corporate ownership, and the pressures that come with it - the drive for eyeballs, members, conversions and clicks - is the death-knell of quality. That's true no matter how well-intentioned a commercial purchaser might be, as we've seen over and over again on the Internet: big money corrupts, every time.

Metafilter is Matt's site, and he can do whatever he wants with it - but if he ever does decide "hey, I want out", it is my hope that a community buyout offer would be considered, as happened to The Well. Commercial valuation might be higher, but community ownership would have the best chance of continuing something worthwhile.
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul at 6:19 PM on May 19, 2013 [5 favorites]


AOL buys MetaFilter and then charges users $25/account to leave.

hmmmf....Would you get a free AOL signup CD as a parting gift from MF?

Sure, 1,000 hours free, a free download of the AOL branded IE and all that but still a bit schizophrenic.
posted by lampshade at 6:24 PM on May 19, 2013


I'm somewhat disappointed that Political Filter didn't make it.

Me too, about Gamefilter. It was an odd thing with GFi -- it was (or seemed like) literally the exact moment that I launched it that people started posting a lot more game-related stuff here on Metafilter proper.

I don't know if in some way (though I like to think so) that the visibility as a successful offshoot community of MefightClub played some role in legitimizing gaming as a Thing That Some Metafilter Members Do, and if Gamefilter kind of pushed that over the top, and that people naturally wanted a bigger audience for their gaming-related posts here at the mothership so more posts started appearing here, which was self-reinforcing, so the traction of enough people posting regularly to make GFi a daily destination never happened... or what.

Or maybe the design was a little too clunky, or I introduced too many features too quickly and diluted the core purpose a bit, or it just wasn't that great an idea to start with, or. It's always a strange and arcane calculus, to me at least, figuring out why some sites work and others don't.

All good, though. MefightClub proper continues to thrive, and I may revive Gamefilter in some form someday, if I figure I've cracked the nut. It was a good learning experience, regardless.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:48 PM on May 19, 2013


I've thought for a long time that a company would have to be crazy to make a credible offer to buy the site. Crazy as in recklessly fiscally irresponsible.

You understand that we're talking about a large corporation making an offer on a dot com, right?
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 7:01 PM on May 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Where the hell is quidnuc kid? This thread was made for him/her.
posted by double block and bleed at 7:38 PM on May 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


Maybe if we say his names three times fast?

quidnunc kid
posted by Rory Marinich at 7:48 PM on May 19, 2013


quidnunc kid
posted by Jahaza at 7:50 PM on May 19, 2013


six colors?

damn. I did it wrong
posted by Ghidorah at 7:53 PM on May 19, 2013 [4 favorites]


If this place sells out, I'm leaving and taking my spouses with me.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 8:02 PM on May 19, 2013 [22 favorites]


man why do you even says thing like that around me

In my mind, right now, you and I are spooning, and it is humid.
posted by middleclasstool at 8:17 PM on May 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


I'm somewhat disappointed that Political Filter didn't make it.

.....

Next up, SpaceFilter!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:24 PM on May 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


"Ryvar, Whedonesque basically cloned MetaFilter back in 2002."

Now that's a nice design! Mefi's spiritual children really show how strong Mr. Haughey's design was to begin with. Simple, easy to read, beautiful.
posted by Kevin Street at 8:28 PM on May 19, 2013


You understand that we're talking about a large corporation making an offer on a dot com, right?

I should have been clearer that I meant recklessly fiscally irresponsible even by those standards.

Like, investing a ton of money in an untested new tech company? That's a bit reckless by cautious standards.

Investing a ton of money in a guy who knits sweaters for balloon animals? That's reckless by reckless standards.

Metafilter is basically the balloon animal sweater factory of the social media space is what I'm saying.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:54 PM on May 19, 2013 [42 favorites]


quidnunc kid is pulling together the financing as we speak I'm sure.
posted by dismas at 8:59 PM on May 19, 2013


yeah i bet he's pulling something all right

iykwim
posted by elizardbits at 9:34 PM on May 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


Hummusfilter with an Ask Hummusfilter area.
posted by Area Man at 9:43 PM on May 19, 2013


Would answers involving baba ganoush be deleted as off topic on AskHum?

AskHum, I hardly even... I'm sorry
posted by Ghidorah at 10:09 PM on May 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


Metafilter is basically the balloon animal sweater factory of the social media space is what I'm saying.

Metafilter: the balloon animal sweater factory of the social media space.

It's like we're Esty for comments!
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 10:18 PM on May 19, 2013 [6 favorites]


MeFi's brand is worthwhile. Its a prestige brand, an NPR brand.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 10:24 PM on May 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


No one has said otherwise.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 10:43 PM on May 19, 2013


What would tempt mathowie to sell? A solid gold recumbent bike, a full scholarship to Harvard or Stanford for Fiona, a pension plan with medical coverage for all the mods...
posted by Cranberry at 11:02 PM on May 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


That Barton Fink Feeling.
posted by Pudhoho at 11:14 PM on May 19, 2013


stav, I think that the reason why it's been so tough to launch offshoots of MeFightClub is that MFC wasn't just the first big MetaFilter offshoot related to gaming, but that it started off with a small but very strong sense of community. The way MFC's site is set up is very different from the other projects you've pursued, but you put so much work into making it work. And it works terrifically.

It's attracted a whole bunch of people interested in all types of games, and over time it's become a strong community, despite the divisions of different gaming types/pursuits. Witness the posts that have nothing to do with games at all! The meetups! The fact that people have not only opened their wallets, but their houses to host what seemed like fifty billion drunken people (I'm thinking of certain people in particular, but won't name them in the event that they prefer their anonymity).

Not only that, but individuals have taken it upon themselves to do good for people who aren't part of MFC.

You give yourself too little credit. MeFightClub launched as something incredibly awesome, and has only become more amazing with time. Though some of your side projects may not have achieved the same level of success, it may be because it's difficult to achieve greatness all time, especially if the first effort yielded such fantastic results, attracting and engaging people to be nice and do nice things.

So don't feel disappointed. Take a bow. And everyone else in the community should take a bow, too. You guys are great, have done great things, and am very glad to have had the chance to meet some of you and make new and wonderful friends.

"With each step push yourself to do great things. For in driving yourself forward you shall drive others to the same. And as our paces synchronize, we walk along as equals, hand in hand, toward greatness." - Rotato 42:7
"... And you shall encounter great challenges, and accept them, and not put that brownie down such that your mouse hand is otherwise occupied and you maybe only move WASD. And you shall overcome." - Rotato 42:8
"But thou shalt not eat Cheetos whilst gaming, lest your keyboard becomes slick with Cheeto dust and its clever mechanism encrusted in the same." - Rotato 4034:2
"Yea, then you're just stupid." - Rotato 4034:3.

posted by herrdoktor at 12:02 AM on May 20, 2013 [8 favorites]


If Matt had dropped out of high school, we would all be rich now.
posted by R. Mutt at 4:22 AM on May 20, 2013


What would tempt mathowie to sell?
posted by Wordshore at 4:22 AM on May 20, 2013 [2 favorites]


I think the result of Metafilter's purchase would be a collective whine that provided an environmentally-safe and sustainable alternative to hydraulic fracturing.
posted by DWRoelands at 5:31 AM on May 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


I think part of the problem with spin-offs at some level is that

1. We're not handing off the entire code base to people - otherwise you wind up in tech support hell forever and you can't really pay us enough to do that, seriously


Yeah, that's part of the problem, If you do a spinoff, people expect the same level of features the original level of Mefi site, which is naturally hard to do. So either you're hiring someone to build those features or coding them yourself, which can happen, but then you have no other life. At least a baby sleeps.

One could get an off the shelf webhosting package and install plugins, but then there's still tech support hell.

2. Part of what people like here is the breadth, such as it is, of this community, which is harder to replicate in a newer site

Yes and if you're focusing on a particular topic, you're getting the really rabid fans of that topic, which can be really good and really not so good, but on a mega level. That level of not so good can really overpower the mega good.

3. Someone has to basically run it on a subscription model or a labor of love (or something branded) because it won't make money off the bat, at all.

Money isn't the problem, it's time. PoliFi was "super" expensive at $10 a month for web hosting and that's still pretty cheap. The time investment, in terms of moderating and coding, can be a major time such though (especially if you turn out to suck as coder).
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:59 AM on May 20, 2013


I am sure some yahoo would find a way to monetize the user base while promoting viable cross-platform and browser-independent synergies in the social media space and leveraging the user-created content IP for investment in mobile buildout.

Or something.
posted by spitbull at 6:19 AM on May 20, 2013


Brandon Blatcher: "The time investment, in terms of moderating and coding, can be a major time such though (especially if you turn out to suck as coder)."

Out of curiosity, did you ask for help from other members with running PoliFi? I'm curious if folks would have pitched in to assist in order to keep it going.

We have coders, and people with experience moderating a variety of communities.
posted by zarq at 6:25 AM on May 20, 2013


Yep, didn't pan out on PoliFi.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:27 AM on May 20, 2013


The only real benefit I could see is to monopolize the advertising feed, and that doesn't seem like it would be any kind of good investment in terms of ROI. There's no real benefit that I can see to, say name-branding the site. ("Metafilter: brought to you by Bing!")

YAY COMFY AWESOME NICHE.
posted by rmd1023 at 6:47 AM on May 20, 2013


Askmetafilter would probably be worth many multiples more than the rest of the site put together. The problem is how to integrate with another site without losing the user base.
posted by empath at 7:09 AM on May 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


Busing.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:10 AM on May 20, 2013 [4 favorites]


I'm totally down for limited sponsorship periods. Think of the fun we could have debating whether a sponsor was right for metafilter!

Or the fun you can have just imagining various potential sponsors who'd be interested in this site's demo.
posted by spitbull at 7:13 AM on May 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


MetaFilter, brought to you by Archer Daniels Midland, your supermarket to the world. And please ignore that post about price fixing. Thanks.
posted by Ghidorah at 7:27 AM on May 20, 2013


Or Miracle Whip, say.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:36 AM on May 20, 2013


Maybe a limited sponsorship from a car company. They could change the background colour to a nice bright colour and have pictures of cars and stuff.

Something like this, maybe.
posted by jeather at 7:47 AM on May 20, 2013 [2 favorites]


I have it, the MetaFilter Commodity!

Shirts.

OK, we already have shirts, you say. But what of custom shirts? Limited edition, collectable shirts?

We love taglines, and people wear shirts with words on them. And on-demand printing is a thing. Merge these three elements together and we have custom tagline shirts, printed on demand. But what of the limited edition factor?

Favorites.

The more favorites a tagline gets, the fewer shirts get printed. A few favorites, and a bunch of shirts are available. More than 50 favorites, only 20 shirts are available. More than 100 favorites? Only 5 shirts available, so buy 'em fast!

And to ratchet the gamification up a notch, there's a checklist, so the shirt hounds can keep track of the shirts they've scored. The higher the score, the fancier the signature!

Yes! SIGNATURES!

Buy 1 shirt, you get 15 characters. Buy 5, you get 150. Buy 15 shirts, you get to embed a small image into your signature. But if you've bought 25 extremely limited edition shirts, you get to embed images into your comments and posts!

And once this shirt craze really takes off, we can sell advertising on the widely available shirts, further adding value to the limited edition MetaFilter shirts.

Matt, I've got more details written down, and I'd be happy to oversee Shirts.Metafilter for a small commission. You know how to get in contact with me.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:56 AM on May 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


if people would leave if a similar entity to Yahoo bought the Blue.

I know I would. A fundamental reason MeFi is worthwhile is that mathowie hasn't had a priority of maximizing profit. I cry to think of what a corporation would make of it.
posted by Zed at 8:02 AM on May 20, 2013


Well, it would depend on what said entity did, you know? It's totally possible for a company to take over and keep things going, but they've have to be very wise. And there aren't a lot of people, let alone companies that are.

So yeah, totally possible, but I'd be astonished if it happened.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:05 AM on May 20, 2013


man why do you even says thing like that around me
You are a very, very bad man cortex. Naughty chair - now. I'll bring you your ice cream and cookies.
posted by plinth at 9:16 AM on May 20, 2013


[$] <--- $4.99 In-app purchase: IMG tag
posted by Rock Steady at 9:17 AM on May 20, 2013 [4 favorites]


What about a... hostile takeover? By an entity who wanted only to weaken or kill Metafilter? To squash, perhaps, whatever discussions were a threat to their PLANS. Such an entity might not be open about their true intentions; we must be vigilant.
posted by amtho at 9:44 AM on May 20, 2013


They call themselves, "The Banned."
posted by zarq at 9:47 AM on May 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


A fundamental reason MeFi is worthwhile is that mathowie hasn't had a priority of maximizing profit. I cry to think of what a corporation would make of it.

I don't know if there are other people here who remember Television Without Pity before it was bought out by Bravo, but oh god I don't want to go through that again with another beloved site.
posted by psoas at 9:50 AM on May 20, 2013 [5 favorites]


A hostile takeover of a privately-held company is called armed robbery.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:52 AM on May 20, 2013 [8 favorites]


What if it's hostile takeover by a gigantic blob? That's not armed.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:00 AM on May 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


I wanna know why TWOP still has the same godawful multipage interface that makes it such a shit experience to read. Three paragraphs, click to read the next page. Another three paragraphs, click to read the next page. Since the takeover, they load so much unimportant content and links onto Every. Single. Page. that each click takes forever to load. So if your average review is 12-15 pages long (when it should be just ONE,) it takes forever to read through them because you're constantly loading new pages as you go.

The android app doesn't even download full reviews. Just recaps.
posted by zarq at 10:02 AM on May 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


What if it's hostile takeover by a gigantic blob? That's not armed.

then it's called a blobbery.
posted by elizardbits at 10:10 AM on May 20, 2013 [9 favorites]


New feature! pay 5 dollars for the ability to edit other people's comments!
posted by The Whelk at 10:13 AM on May 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


$50 and a mod will take your side in an argument.
Unless met with an equal or higher bribe from the opposing side
posted by ceribus peribus at 10:16 AM on May 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


One of the few Firefox/Greasemonkey plugins that has survived the constant updates while still working, for me, is TWOP Single Page Recaps. It adds a button you press to view it all on one page.
Not that I go there nearly as much as in the pre-Bravo days.

Meanwhile, Previously.tv, from the original founders, has finally popped up. Not much in the way of recaps, though, more of a glorified Tumblr on TV.

(Full circle!)
posted by gadge emeritus at 10:30 AM on May 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


gadge emeritus: "One of the few Firefox/Greasemonkey plugins that has survived the constant updates while still working, for me, is TWOP Single Page Recaps. It adds a button you press to view it all on one page. "

!!! Thanks! Never occurred to me to look for a greasemonkey solution.
posted by zarq at 10:35 AM on May 20, 2013


Here's a Greasemonkey script, and for those without that greasy monkey on your back, a website that turns TWOP multi-page articles into one page.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:39 AM on May 20, 2013


MetaFilter Platinum gives you your own personal greasemonkey. Took me ages to get the fingerprints off the china.
posted by arcticseal at 10:39 AM on May 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


MetaFilter Diamond comes with a de-greased monkey. I think it's actually a robot in a weird suit, but it doesn't let me touch the thing on its back, which looks suspiciously like a zipper. But it is a great babysitter, so I shouldn't complain.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:44 AM on May 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm totally down for limited sponsorship periods.

Year of the Tucks Medicated Pad?
posted by mintcake! at 10:45 AM on May 20, 2013 [3 favorites]


Metafilter Treehouse Level has chocolate milk and comic books however.
posted by The Whelk at 10:48 AM on May 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


Metafilter Aluminum just comes with grease and stuffed monkey.
posted by nooneyouknow at 10:50 AM on May 20, 2013


Interesting thing about Tucks, they are like a riddle.

The instructions on the tin say to use the pads just to wipe.

That does absolutely nothing for an itchy butthole.

What you have to do is tuck them in there a single phalange deep and leave it tucked in there for 10 minutes at least.

Thus Tucks.
posted by Doroteo Arango II at 10:52 AM on May 20, 2013


Is Metafilter Chrome a monkey with a grease-gun?
posted by wenestvedt at 10:52 AM on May 20, 2013


grease and stuffed monkey.

definitely the least popular double feature at the MetaFilter drive-in
posted by mintcake! at 10:53 AM on May 20, 2013


"Oh, Monkey!"
"Tell me about it, stud..."
Musical Intro
"You're the one that I stuff-
You are
The one
The one I stuff
Ooh, ooh, ooh, Monkey.
The one that I stuff-
You are
The one
The one I stuff
Ooh, ooh, ooh..."
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 12:15 PM on May 20, 2013


Is Warren Buffet a member?
posted by Cranberry at 12:20 PM on May 20, 2013


No, I'm not.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 12:21 PM on May 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


Honestly, the best hope for spinoffs of MeFi would probably be doing them in other languages — making Vacapinta king of FiltroDeMeta.com.
posted by klangklangston at 12:23 PM on May 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


Can't wait for MetaFilter, Klingon Edition.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 12:26 PM on May 20, 2013


Baggsies MetaFilteh! for Canada.
posted by arcticseal at 12:26 PM on May 20, 2013


And I already rent out my screen name for $50 a week. Want to post cranky flames but don't want your username associated with them? Laboring under the suspicion that some folks get favorites no matter what tripe they post? Just kinda like pointing out that there's no enough information to answer a relationship question on AskMe?

Act now and I'll throw in access to my stealth sock puppet, NomadicInk!
posted by klangklangston at 12:28 PM on May 20, 2013 [3 favorites]


MetaFilter when the JRUN fell. NomadicInk at the AskMe.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 12:32 PM on May 20, 2013 [8 favorites]


klang, that explains so much. :)
posted by zarq at 12:38 PM on May 20, 2013


That klang, he's all in, no question.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:56 PM on May 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's Raining Florence Henderson: "My sockpuppet army has been slowly buying a contolling interest in MetaFilter for a long, long time, now. I've actually owned MetaFilter outright for almost 3 months. Luckily, I'm too busy fighting my own sockpuppets to change anything, but one day, you... All. Will. Kneel."

Not with my knees I won't.
posted by Samizdata at 1:49 PM on May 20, 2013


It's probably when subtle changes start to happen to MetaFilter, like Matt quietly renaming it, that we should start to worry that something may be afoot.
posted by Wordshore at 1:49 PM on May 20, 2013


I realize it's somewhat late in the thread to provide a serious answer, but the simplest way to value an acquisition is as a multiple of annual revenue.

So if Mefi makes $XM annually, then an acquisition price might be anywhere from $2X to $100X depending on what the acquirer felt was its growth potential. The tumbrs of the world are really odd outliers even though they get a lot of press. Most corporate acquisitions are pretty pedestrian affairs involving a few accountants and a small army of lawyers.
posted by GuyZero at 1:58 PM on May 20, 2013


When I noticed some time ago that copyright attribution had shifted from 'Metafilter LLC' to " MetaFilter Network Inc.", I did wonder whether that reflected a shift in ownership, but didn't think it was any of my business (and still don't).
posted by jamjam at 1:59 PM on May 20, 2013


When I noticed some time ago that copyright attribution had shifted from 'Metafilter LLC' to " MetaFilter Network Inc.", I did wonder whether that reflected a shift in ownership

I think it mostly reflects Matt or pb futzing around with the footer text, for what it's worth.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:21 PM on May 20, 2013


the best part will be when Matt repurchases the site for pennies on the dollar.
posted by boo_radley at 2:23 PM on May 20, 2013


also mathowie: re-up the dvr blog on the metafilter network page, yo.
posted by boo_radley at 2:29 PM on May 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


Can we get everyone in this thread to declare whether they're one of IRFH's sockpuppets or one of mine? Just looking for a headcount.

I think I'm one of shakespeherian's sockpuppets. Not 100% sure, though.
posted by The pets.com Mascot at 2:44 PM on May 20, 2013


futzing around with the footer text

hmm... footering around with the futzer text
posted by Talkie Toaster at 2:45 PM on May 20, 2013


Can we get everyone in this thread to declare whether they're one of IRFH's sockpuppets or one of mine? Just looking for a headcount.

I'm one of dortmunder's sockpuppets.
posted by reprise the theme song and roll the credits at 3:17 PM on May 20, 2013


The washer ate my sockpuppet, but am I nicely fluffed from the dryer.
posted by arcticseal at 3:32 PM on May 20, 2013


If I were one of IRFH's sockpuppets, I would be a hell of a lot funnier than I am.
posted by MoonOrb at 4:08 PM on May 20, 2013


If Matt renames the site to Metafiltr, then you know that he is about to cash a very large check from Yahoo.
posted by double block and bleed at 5:28 PM on May 20, 2013 [2 favorites]


If I were one of IRFH's sockpuppets, I would be a hell of a lot funnier than I am.

So would I.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 5:29 PM on May 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


This is when we have the revelation that we're all mathowie sock puppets and he went through a portal into his own head.

Matovich matovich matovich!
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 7:38 PM on May 20, 2013


Maybe Paul Graham should by Metafilter:

Graham will occasionally add new features, some of which are on the backend of the site. For example, as comments get more deeply nested and heated in terms of exchange, the reply link takes longer to appear. There is a purposeful drag implemented on this, says Graham, because deeply nested discussions are rarely interesting.

Another subtle feature addition: a flame-war detector. Graham has been consistently deploying and updating proprietary software that determines whether there is a flame war, where people argue heatedly. When these flame wars take place (which Graham says can often get ugly and personal), the story in which the commenting is taking place is moved further down the page.

posted by Horace Rumpole at 8:28 PM on May 20, 2013


I assembled this handy diagram to help express what I hope would be Matt's sentiment at the notion of missing any opportunities to turn Metafilter into PlasticBuzzDottr.
posted by lordaych at 10:21 PM on May 20, 2013


Metafilter: the balloon animal sweater factory of the social media space.

Reckless or not, I'd buy this T-shirt.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 12:31 AM on May 21, 2013 [2 favorites]


Metafilter: if it isn't posted here yet, it's because it's not good enough to escalate from "internet buzz" to the META FUCKING FILTER.. It's you, not me. NO ONE EVER REALLY DIES. BRO
posted by lordaych at 3:18 AM on May 21, 2013


PONY REQUEST: I should be able to use all of my daily allotment of favorites (240!) to favorite this whole fucking place, or one subsite at a time. Seriously, I've "wasted" a shitload of time here during horrible periods of my life and feel good about it. Motherfucker.,
posted by lordaych at 3:20 AM on May 21, 2013


grease and stuffed monkey.

definitely the least popular double feature at the MetaFilter drive-in
posted by mintcake


I read that as drive-thru at first, and it made more sense. You want a side of tamarin with that?
posted by spitbull at 3:52 AM on May 21, 2013


I wonder if the site might be worth it to buy for a high-end traditional media company, for the quality of commentary and the community. One can imagine a large company using it as a "farm team" for op-ed commentators, and as a special, gated discussion community to which one must gain access -- like, anyone could comment on Newspaper.com, but you'd have to give consistently high-quality comments there to be awarded an account at MetaFilter.

I dunno, just noodling, but I can see it as an adjunct, free-ranging, social media section of a higher-end traditional media company that provided free content and commentary that the main Newspaper.com website could feature, and rewarded engagement by allowing access to a "prestige" site for good commenters.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 6:18 AM on May 21, 2013 [2 favorites]


Stranger things have happened... Chowhound.com was bought out and wrapped into the disaster area that is CHOW.
posted by yellowcandy at 12:14 PM on May 21, 2013


Maybe somebody at Conde Nast will look at Reddit, see what they bought, and realize that Metafilter was what they thought they were buying.

but yeah i could see MeFi sponsored by The Guardian. or Salon, as a replacement to The Well.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 4:50 PM on May 21, 2013


Mathowie slash fic you say?

Mathowie dismounted his ultra-expensive Trek Yoshitomo Nara Speed Concept bike, his muscled thighs glistening with sweat. He looked towards the doorway, where stood the love of his life: the hunky, latino bike mechanic he had met on the road to Amarillo...[more inside]
posted by marienbad at 8:42 AM on May 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


a humble nudibranch: "cortex is prolly setting up a a slashfiction tumblr about it even as we speak"

Is it still considered prophecy if it's inevitable
posted by scrump at 2:30 PM on May 23, 2013


Look I may have done some questionable things in my life but Adams and TL are gonna have to rub their own fictive goodies together, that's not in my wheelhouse.
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:54 PM on May 23, 2013


« Older Isn't this a pretty straightfo...  |  Is there a way to be alerted w... Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments