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Whoa. Wired (Condé Nast) bought Ars Technica?!

Update: Here’s Ken Fisher’s announcement of the deal on Ars.

It is with much pride and pleasure that I announce that Ars Technica has been acquired by Condé Nast. Ars Technica will now grow with the tools and resources of Condé Nast’s WIRED Digital unit. WIRED Digital oversees the business operations of not only WIRED.com, but also Reddit, WebMonkey, HotWired, and other technology destinations. Ars Technica will remain an independent publication, with the same editorial leadership in place. I will remain the Editor-in-Chief, and Jon, Eric, and the rest of the editorial team is staying on board, too.

Ars Technica is now focused on increasing its coverage by bringing more experts onboard to fill out our technical mojo. We’re going to get broader, but also more in-depth, in areas of IT and science. We are going to be opening offices in San Francisco and Chicago in a matter of weeks, and we are rearranging our editorial team slightly, with Jon Stokes now running Reviews and Features as Deputy Editor, while Eric Bangeman will continue running News and Journals as our Managing Editor.

Saw this break first on Twitter, from Marshall Kirkpatrick first, then Mike Arrington himself on Twitter. They’re reporting that Wired (Condé Nast) has purchased my favorite geek news site and online community, Ars Technica:

Condé Nast has acquired popular technology blog Ars Technica, we’ve confirmed. The site will become part of Wired Digital (which in turn is under CondéNet, run by Sarah Chubb). Wired Digital assets include Wired.com and Reddit (acquired in 2006). The acquisition price will not be disclosed, but our sources say it is in the $25 million range, which is what Condé Nast paid for Wired.com in 2006.

Effectively, Ars Technica is now part of Wired. Look for an official announcement next week.

This marks a new beginning for Ars Technica, which was originally founded in 1998 by Ken “Caesar” Fisher (based in Boston) and Jon “Hannibal” Stokes (based in Chicago). They, along with their 8 or so employees, will remain with the company as it is integrated into Wired Digital.

Wow. I’ve been a huge fan of Ars for several years, and a PAYING subscriber (for access to certain parts of the forum community, but mostly to show them my support with my wallet) since 2001.

The “news” part of the site, the front page, has always been OK, and lately has bloomed into one of the best tech news sources out there (and I’m not just saying that because I’m friends with several of the writers and editors).

But the forum and community there have always been the heart of Ars. They are my “gold standard” for how to do an online tech community right. Amazing signal to noise ratio, fun, friendly, super-knowledgeable people. Before we all started saying “if Google doesn’t know it, nobody knows it”, I was saying “if Ars doesn’t know it, nobody knows it.”

I have to admit that my fear is Wired will do something to screw up this forum community. Overrun the place with ads (it has them already, but they’re tasteful and non-obtrusive), do something to the forum software that breaks it or makes it even more unstable (the load the Ars forums puts on its host is absolutely massive), or something worse.

I started a thread about this on Ars itself, in The Lounge forum (and was beaten by ONE MINUTE by another poster, so my thread might get locked in favor of not having two threads on the topic- UPDATE: yup, mine’s locked, use the other one). I’m sure this is going to get discussed to no end in the coming weeks. The people on Ars are nothing if not outspoken and opinionated (in a good way). 😉

I hope this all works out. Congrats to Ken, Jon, Jacqui, Clint, Ben, David, and all the rest of the Ars crew. Hope you get a nice fat cut, and get to keep rocking the tech coverage!

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7 thoughts on “Whoa. Wired (Condé Nast) bought Ars Technica?!

  1. Pingback: Officially Lucky, a blog by Clint Ecker

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  3. Conde Nast may split the Technica from the Ars, leaving the forums alone and adding the editorial coverage to Wired. CN is not known for deep editorial coverage, unless it’s what shade of lipstick to wear to this summer’s wedding or which golf club to choose on the seventh fairway. This may be another “CBS buys Cnet” kind of thing and CN will leave the forum content to the professionals.

    Wow, I forgot that already–CBS bought Cnet, now Conde Nast buys Ars. Is there a pattern here? Has tech become the norm?

    ….maybe ATT will buy Twitter…… 😉

  4. Ben Kuchera says:

    Thanks for the kind words. It has been an interesting few days, but everyone is more excited about working on the site than ever.

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