Condé Nast Expands Wired Digital via Acquisitions

Condé Nast has expanded its Wired Digital unit, purchasing technology Web site Ars Technica and relaunching Webmonkey and Hotwired.

Technology news and review site Ars Technica, founded in 1998 by Ken Fisher and Jon Stokes, logs about 1.5 million unique visitors a month, according to ComScore. The site’s internal data puts that number closer to 4.5 million, according to Condé Nast. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Sarah Chubb, president of CondéNet, the digital division of Condé Nast, characterized Ars Technica as a logical fit with the Wired Digital holdings. The site caters to a largely male, tech-savvy audience that closely follows the consumer technology market.

“Wired’s mission is [to cover] how technology is changing the world and popular culture,” she said. “Ars Technica, which roughly means ‘the art of technology,’ is for much more hardcore tech enthusiasts. Grouped together, these properties give us pretty tremendous scale.”

Just last week, CBS said it will purchase CNET Networks, a technology publishing site, for $1.8 billion. According to ComScore, CNET had 32.4 million unique visitors in April.

Condé Net relaunched Webmonkey, a tutorial site for Web developers, and plans to revive Web magazine Both sites have a storied history. Once part of Wired Ventures, both were sold to Lycos USA in 1999 and then to Condé Nast. Wired magazine has been owned by Condé Nast since 1998.

HotWired carries the distinction of being the first site to ever carry a banner ad, but Condé Nast is still hammering out details on how to relaunch it. WebMonkey, which was shuttered by then-owner Terra Networks in 2004, has relaunched as a wiki in order to foster a community of Web developers. Wired Digital also includes, an aggregation site where users can vote on their favorite Web stories.

Chubb said the added properties gives Wired Digital superior reach and scale for Web advertisers looking to reach a tech-hungry crowd.

“We’ll probably have about 19 (million) to 20 million unique visitors a month now in our Wired Digital group, and all of them are primarily men with high levels of education and income,” she said. “This gives us a nice reach against the target with very little duplication.”

Ars Technical will continue to be managed by Fisher, editor-in-chief. He’ll report to Chubb.

“The strength of our brand combined with the expertise and resources of Wired Digital will dramatically accelerate the growth of Ars Technica,” said Fisher in a statement. “Combined, we continue our quest to build an even better resource for our ever-expanding community of readers who not only need to keep up on technology, but are also passionate about it.”

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