I normally don’t post on Thursdays and I honestly had a ton of work to do, but the news about SweetSpot shutting down made me rather sad. For those who don’t know, SweetSpot is online trend magazine founded by Joanna Track in 2004. Track is somewhat of an idol of mine, and she embodies the entrepreneurial spirit that I wish more women had. She sold a minority stake in SweetSpot to Rogers Communications, the largest telecommunications company in Canada, back in 2006, and sold the remainder of the site in 2011.
The site was leading online magazine for women aged 24-54 with 1.2 million pageviews a month.
The decision is somewhat surprising, although analysts would argue that Rogers Communications needed to streamline its operations. The company had recently laid off 300 people back in April and the first quarter results were lacklustre. The affected websites are SweetSpot.ca and SweetSpotQC.ca, as well as CanadianParents.com and Branchez-Vous.com, Ciné-Horaire.com, LeCinema.ca,Matin.qc.ca and Showbizz.net.
I get that. I get that companies have to make tough decisions, and sometimes they have to do things that are not liked by the public.
To me it served as a reminder that as great as entrepreneurship is, the end goal shouldn’t be to “sell-out” to someone else. More often than not, once the company changes hands, the end product is never the same. If my site is something I love, money should not be the reason behind the countless hours that I put into it.
There have been some great sites that have changed hands recently, and the site is not the same, the content is different because the new owners look at the site as a income generating entity instead of a site that they love.
Joanna Track, who recently went on to launch Dealuxe, another high profile site aimed at woman, was obviously devastated at the turn of events.
Being in the startup world, its eye-opening to see the different sides. There are those who want to build a product and have it bought by a larger company, and there are those who are so passionate and driven that they there is no amount of money that would make them sell.
This news is more of reality for those in the first camp, and the second camp. It hammers home the reality that even if you build something grand and be bought by a huge conglomerate, the possibility of that vision and product lasting is no longer guaranteed so proceed with caution if its something that you love.