Petone's millionaire blogger

CLAIRE ROGERS
Last updated 05:00 16/12/2011
HAMISH COLEMAN-ROSS

Creator of readwriteweb.com blog Richard MacManus talks about how he created the site and its recent sale to international media company SAY media.

Richard
HAMISH COLEMAN-ROSS/Fairfax NZ
READING IT RIGHT: Richard MacManus says he might splash out on a new car after selling his ReadWriteWeb website for what is believed to be $6.7 million. "Mine is over 10 years old.''

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You'd expect him to be popping champagne corks, but on his first day as a millionaire, Richard MacManus got up at 3.30am, turned on his computer and started working.

The unassuming Wellington blogger says he has not had a chance to celebrate the sale of his technology website ReadWriteWeb to United States digital publishing firm Say Media for what is believed to be US$5 million (NZ$6.7 million), but reckons a new Volkswagen might be in order. "Mine is over 10 years old."

ReadWriteWeb, which is majority-owned by Mr MacManus, attracts 2.75 million unique visitors and 5 million page views a month, and is consistently named among the world's most popular blogs.

Its writers, most of whom are based in the US, cover innovation from new products to trends in social media. It has a mostly US audience but is edited from his home in Petone.

Mr MacManus would not comment on the value of the deal but said he had become a millionaire.

The blog began looking for potential buyers to help it grow a few months ago, he said. "We want to get into more general technology writing. So we'll go deeper, for example, on technology hardware stories, and the impact of the internet as it gets more and more infiltrated into everything in the world."

ReadWriteWeb's 19 staff will stay on. Mr MacManus is the only one of the team in New Zealand but said the distance from the US had been an advantage. "It's helped the core brand of the site, which is thoughtful analysis. I'm not in the middle of Silicon Valley. We haven't fallen into the trap of regurgitating press releases. "

Trade Me head of operations and web commentator Mike O'Donnell said people were often surprised to learn where ReadWriteWeb was based.

"Nobody realises they're a global player based in little old Lower Hutt, including most of their users and viewers. Richard has built a really good business and a really good brand. He's very well regarded."

Mr MacManus started the blog in 2003 as a side project to his main job as a web manager, but the site's popularity meant it soon became a full-time gig.

Say Media is based in San Francisco.

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- The Dominion Post

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