Go Big or Stay Home

Oct 4, 2011

Today Lijit announced that it has been acquired by Federated Media Publishing, the powerhouse conversational marketing and media business that John Battelle started in 2005. I could not be more excited about the transaction, and more importantly, the future that the combined company has before it.

About the same time John was starting FM, I was starting Lijit. Not in a friend’s garage, like John, but rather in my basement.

From the onset, Lijit has been keenly interested in helping publishers who create and curate great content that attracts engaged audiences in thoughtful conversations. In the early days we borrowed heavily from the FeedBurner playbook: provide services that are useful and intuitive and create long lasting publisher relationships. Dick Costolo, the former FeedBurner CEO and now CEO of Twitter, was an early mentor and board member who helped me keep the Lijit mission true to course in an industry where data is hard to come by and experience is everything. Over the last few years we expanded that charter to focus on helping publishers monetize their website(s) and bring them technologies and information that would otherwise be out of reach due to their size.

For all this hard work, publishers have rewarded us by trusting more of their ad inventory to us and allowing us to help monetize more of their properties. September was the first month since inception that we paid out more than $1M in revenue to publishers in our network. Even more exciting is that this number has grown over 50% month-over-month for the last year or so. While revenue is the key metric of success for any business, it is still amazing to see the number of positive tweets, inbound emails, and phone calls we get every week from publishers who are too small or too niche to be considered viable by the larger ad channels in our industry. We love publishers and they are our people.

So in May, when we were first approached by Federated Media, it was a case of mixed emotion. Lijit wasn’t for sale, we were fully funded and coming off our 6th straight month of 50% month-over-month revenue growth. Profitability was within sight and occurring on and off on a daily basis. In short, we were having FUN, AND A LOT OF IT. But, at the same time, if there was bigger play to make – an industry changing and industry leading play to make – it was with FM. It all made complete sense from that first instant of thought.

Lijit has one of the best management teams I have ever worked with. Without fail they embody the charter of “hire people that are smarter than you.” This motto has served me well as Lijit CEO, and I am super excited to see what they can accomplish with greater resources and the association with an A+ brand in our industry.

Over the months as I got to know John Battelle, Deanna Brown and the entire FM management team it become even more clear that the combination of both companies was going to create the first major media company designed from the ground up to help the millions of publishers ignored by all the other companies. This company was designed to harness the amazing power of focused conversations in the engaged part of the web – what FM refers to as the “Independent Web.”

FM and Lijit are going to combine efforts to create a company of scale and substance only indicative of industry leading companies. I could not be more excited for the ride.

  • James

    Nice post like it

  • Allen

    More than $1 M to publisher revenue is appreciated. oh yes , some advertisers too..fiverr clone

  • kevin

    very nice, casamento

  • Stella Smith

    great piece of work you have done so keep posting the things like this thank you

  • SMS
  • Humayun

    When Lijit Publisher Network will open up for small publishers outside USA?

  • supriya
  • Ranjan
  • Congrats FM & Lijit... I think everyone is having benefit from this acquisition...

  • Adil

    your name is Latest Text

  • Congrats lijit team.... You should now consider giving classes on how to go for BIGGIE :-) 

  • if people use of different email account for work only and file each
    application under named folders. Take the time and save the stress later
    I say.

  • Having a career break to go do property development - it clearly
    didn't work out as you are trying to come back, but why would I hire you
    when I know you've tried to leave the industry. Will you do it again?

  •  I feel like you could probably teach a class on how to make a great blog. This is fantastic! I have to say, what really got me was your design.

  • Addison Jhon6

    The post is pretty interesting. I really never thought Rude Status I could have a
    good read by this time until I found out this site. I am grateful for
    the information given. 

  • Nice

  • The Question is how we can go through a successful business, it not only needs passion but also ability to run it.

  • Life is a play of risks, if one has a power to play with risk he would go big.

  • Is this true that Lijit wasn’t for sale, we were fully funded and coming off our 6th
    straight month of 50% month-over-month revenue growth. Profitability
    was within sight and occurring on and off on a daily basis?

  • scaprio

    Truth be told!

  • Lets hope its good for the employees

  • scaprio

    We're super excited - thanks for the feedback!

  • Acquisition usually go for the benefit of everyone, but sometimes its just for the sake of the acquisitor.
    Let's hope it benefits all instead of just one

  • From My idea Lijit was not just a Ad Network, you guys focused on a lot other things to, related with data and traffic analysis. Where FM only focus on Big popular and respected site, most of their publisher has higher eCPM for US traffic(means they have bigger & quality advertiser reach), where Lijit worked with smaller company and had lower eCPM comparing with FM. So combined force is going to help both company's advertiser and publisher. Good luck to you guys. Its always been a pleasure to work with you guys.

  • scaprio

    Absolutely! The combined entity will provide new and bigger opportunities for publishers of all sizes and we couldn't be more excited. Thank you for your kind words and best wishes.

  • When Lijit Publisher Network will open up for small publishers outside USA?

  • scaprio

    Combining forces with Federated Media will allow us to provide new opportunities for publishers, and we are currently exploring various services for international publishers.

  • Adnanshaffi

    Will the publishers of lijit get the same ads of fedrated media?

  • scaprio

    Existing Lijit publishers will benefit from being a part of the largest network of high quality independent web publishers, and there will be an opportunity to take advantage of Federated Media’s premium brand campaigns as content aligns.

  • Mood

    Good !!

  • Congrats to Lijit team. I can’t wait for the changes made in
    Lijit publisher dashboard.  Hope I can
    dream big. 

  • scaprio

    Thanks Albert - dream big! We will continue to provide new/better analytics in the dashboard and you will see some cool stuff coming out in just a few weeks!

  • That is great @scaprio:disqus . Is there any update/good news for International Publishers? 

  • scaprio

    Working with Federated Media will allow us to develop new services and we are certainly exploring how we can best help international publishers. We will definitely keep our publishers updated as we roll-out new offerings.

  • Congrats!

  • scaprio

    Thanks Jon!

  • Acquisitions like this rarely benefit the publisher. Let's hope for something different with this.

    edit: One year later and Lijit is tunneling the most illegitimate ads into their system, and subsequently on to their publishers. Complete page takeovers, auto-playing video and sound, even porn and blatant page redirects. All of this while the CPM tanks well below what any self-respecting publisher would even consider. Let's call this acquisition a bust.

  • scaprio

    Hi Jared, both companies are truly committed to providing even more/better services and offerings to our publisher base so there are only good things to come!

  • Pete

    Todd and team Lijit - I'm so excited by what is ahead for the combined company.  Also super respectful of what you are doing and have done. Let's get to work!  

  • scaprio

    Pete, we are so excited to join the team and can't wait to work with you!

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