Wellington's Richard MacManus checks out of ReadWriteWeb, the site he sold for $US5m

Uber-blogger to leave the medium behind; hints at what's next.

UPDATE: Oct 13, 2012: Richard MacManus last night said he is leaving ReadWriteWeb, the tech blog he founded in 2003, and sold to San Francisco's Say Media last year for a reported $US5 million.

In a post last night on his personal site, the Wellingtonian said he was going to take a break from blogging to write on book.

"I’ll be announcing the subject of my book soon, he blogged, "What I can tell you now is that the book will be literary nonfiction and focused on the things I’ve always been very passionate about: technology and the people who use and benefit from that technology."

He told NBR, I'm looking forward to the challenge of working on my own again, although I'll still be in the technology field. I see this as an extension of what I did at ReadWriteWeb: exploring what's next in technology, only with the book I'll be doing a deep dive on one particular topic."

In its own post announcing his departure, the site says "ReadWriteWeb is about to make some changes" but does not specifiy what they will be.

It reiterates that editorial leadership has been moved to the US:

It reads, in part:

[Richard] was our founder, navigator, and editor-in-chief, and we will miss him.

From his home in New Zealand, Richard founded the site in 2003 as his personal blog. It quickly became a guiding force on the early Web for people who sought to understand the rapidly changing environment and its implications for the future.

In December of 2011, SAY Media acquired ReadWriteWeb, moving its headquarters to San Francisco to be closer to the center of the global tech industry. SAY Media determined that the site would benefit from editorial leadership based in the US,

Richard’s vision and leadership made ReadWriteWeb an indispensable part of the tech journalism landscape. The editorial team will do its utmost to live up to Richard’s legacy.

ckeall@nbr.co.nz


San Francisco's Say Media buys NZ's ReadWriteWeb for reported $US5m

Dec 15, 2011: NZ-founded tech blog ReadWriteWeb has been acquired by Say Media, a digital publishing company headquartered in San Francisco.

"I will be staying on as editor-in-chief. The site will be expanding," ReadWriteWeb founder Richard MacManus told NBR this morning.

Mr MacManus, based in Petone, Wellington, said ReadWriteWeb now has a staff of just under 20 staff, the majority of whom are US-based. The site targets mostly a US audience.

He said ReadWrite Web has around 5 million page views a month.

Mr MacManus would not put a price on the deal. One Wellington tech scene insider speculated to NBR that it could have been between $2 million and $3 million. A sketchy TechCrunch report puts the purchase at $US5 million (Mr MacManus had no comment on that number).

He told NBR, "I do expect to be doing more travel, but I will be still based in New Zealand."

Say Media claims its network of sites reaches a global audience of 500 million, and its new Technology channel 75 million. 

"With Say's technology and services we'll be able to scale ReadWriteWeb in ways previously unavailable to us. We'll now be able to expand our editorial scope into relevant areas of interest and redesign the site to create a more premium experience for both our readers and advertisers."

Say Media's current technology channel includes Android and Me, Gear Patrol, gdgt, TechDirt and SplatF.

SplatF's Dan Frommer - a Forbes technology reporter turned blogger - will become ReadWriteWeb's editor-at-large under the Say deal.

Mr MacManus founded ReadWriteWeb in 2003. The blog began with a focus on social media tools, but has since broadened its focus into a wide range of tech areas.

After graduating from Victoria University, Mr MacManus worked in web manager roles for Contact Energy and Ericsson earlier in his career. He went on to become a web writer for US publisher ZDNet before founding his own blog.