VC funded tech site Gigaom shuts after running out of money

om malik

omPioneering tech blog Gigaom today announced that it was ceasing trading due to an inability to pay its bills.

Founded by former Forbes writer Om Malik in 2006, Gigaom was among the first wave of big, influential tech blogs that emerged in the second half of the 2000’s, all-around the time where blogging first became a viable business, and, at least in the tech industry, venture capital started flowing back into the space after the first dotcom boom crashed.

According to the official statement on the Gigaom site:

Gigaom recently became unable to pay its creditors in full at this time. As a result, the company is working with its creditors that have rights to all of the company’s assets as their collateral. All operations have ceased. We do not know at this time what the lenders intend to do with the assets or if there will be any future operations using those assets. The company does not currently intend to file bankruptcy. We would like to take a moment and thank our readers and our community for supporting us all along.

Founder Om Malik, who left the site in 2014, added on his personal blog that he wanted to thank all the people who make (and have helped make) Gigaom. “Their role in this journey was what really made it all worth it… they are great people and they will all do great work wherever they go” he added.

Gigaom (Giga Omni Media Inc.) had raised $22.3 million over six rounds from Reed Elsevier Ventures, Alloy Ventures, True Ventures, Shea Ventures and others. Its most recent round was $8 million Series F in February 2014.

The space is getting harder

Gigaom was always one of the better tech blogs, reflecting the morals of its founder Om Malik. In its earlier days, whereas its competitors would pursue what in 2015 we call clickbait, Gigaom was instead built on a foundation of in-depth, insightful reporting that wasn’t hopelessly obsessed with high volume traffic.

Many of the tech sites from the mid 2000’s though were initially founded on making money from advertising, which hit a crescendo in around 2010 and has been in decline ever since; the advertising hasn’t dried up, and there’s more money being spent on ads out there than ever before, but the flip of that is that the market is saturated in inventory, and advertising rates have been in a steep decline relative to that level of inventory.

The smart sites pursued what could be called the extras market: services and events, everything ranging from education, premium services, through to conferences, and at least with one site (of which Gigaom was previously a partner) a circlejerk tech awards show.

Gigaom went into theses areas, but unlike its competitors it would seem to have not have been as successful.

In its last few years the site went into sponsored posts: some may say that this was a sell-out, and indeed in a disgusting case of kicking a site when it’s down a writer at Pando Daily, who apparently is so well paid he can’t afford a haircut, makes this point, but ultimately at least Gigaom was honest as to who was paying it, and for what. Other sites in the tech blogging space are far less honest on who they’re writing for, or what they get in return. Indeed, one of Gigaom’s larger competitors is infamous for its founder writing positive, hype posts about companies he’d invested in or was about to invest in.

The decline of Gigaom to the point where it has ceased trading is a sad loss to the tech blogosphere, or should that simply just be the tech news space (as Matthew Ingram at Gigaom so eloquently pointed out “Blogging is very much alive — we just call it something else now.“)

Fairwell Gigaom, from a loyal and long term reader.

Image credit: Duncan Riley