SweetSpot is no longer sweet.

by Marissa on May 3, 2012 · 15 comments

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.

 

 

 

  • http://www.modestmoney.com/ Modest Money

    It seems so silly when big companies do that. Why close that stuff down instead of selling it to someone who can continue it? I guess the subscriber info was just as valuable to them. It would be sad for the founder to see their business just disappear like that. At least she got the big payout and got to start a new venture.

    • Marissa

      I don’t think it was generating the type of revenue they wanted.

  • http://buckinspire.com Buck Inspire

    Wow, sad story! She did get paid out, but I’m thinking she didn’t dream of the site dying. Would you sell your site if a company offered you money you couldn’t refuse? You can always start up a new site.

    • Marissa

      Thats a tough question. I don’t know if I can if I invested 7 years into it.

  • http://add-vodka.com Daisy @ Add Vodka

    That’s so unfortunate. That would be so sad as the previous owners of the site – to grow and build something and for it to be shut down like that.

    • Marissa

      I felt bad for Joanna. I know she made money selling the site, its still her baby.

  • http://femmefrugality.blogspot.com femmefrugality

    That is really sad! I don’t look down on people who sell-out…making money is always a good thing. But in this situation it sounds like it didn’t end desirably at all.

    +

    • Marissa

      Yeah, all the site owners were really sad.

  • http://eemusings.wordpress.com eemusings

    It’s tough out there – definitely in print, but it’s hardly all sunshine and roses in digital, either. How awful to see something you built up thrown away by the new owners. Such is business.

    • Marissa

      I know. She was super smart and built another site right away.

  • http://www.upendilife.com Rafiki

    Everything you mentioned here is so true. Some of it strikes really close to home for me as well. One of our largest hotels on the island sold out to a larger company a few years back. Now they are closing the hotel because of the huge losses it has made over the year. About 300 people are losing their jobs. I understand that as a company or as an owner, sometimes you are forced to make hard decisions but…. it’s really hard, I don’t know if I could do it.

    Sometimes having a heart and running a business is the hardest strain you can put on your life.

    • Marissa

      Oh, thats horrible. I don’t know if I could it either.

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  • http://www.groceryalerts.ca/ Steve @ Grocery Alerts

    All I know is that I would never sell our blog. We love the relationships we have built up with other bloggers and our readers are awesome!

    • Marissa

      I know exactly what you mean.

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