In an interesting experiment to see how much--if any--damage is incurred by disclosing one's financial and performance data when you're the head of a fledgling private company, Business Insider CEO and Editor-in-Chief Henry Blodget on Monday posted the online news source's data in an article, complete with visuals. Blodget states from the beginning that his reason for publicizing the information is twofold: firstly, doing so will show other private companies that disclosing such details will not suddenly crush their business (and if releasing their financial and performance information crushes Business Insider, well...now they know). Secondly, as digital news is, itself, a fledgling industry, Blodget believes that BI's growth will offer a beacon of hope for all of the other news organizations out there.
But is there another underlying strategy to the post? Could it be that the four-year-old Business Insider is looking to get acquired?
Blodget said in an email that there is no hidden strategy to the article-- "We've had a bunch of folks ask us for info like this over the years, and we thought we'd just go ahead and provide it." He added that it's his hope that other private companies follow his lead, as it would clear a lot of misinformation from the market.
Whether or not there is a hidden agenda, Blodget's post points to a pretty sunny future for Business Insider. While the company only saw $4.8 million in revenue and a grand total of $2,127 in profit (enough to buy a MacBook Pro, Blodget notes), that's a marked improvement compared to the company's numbers three years ago, when it was bringing in revenue to the tune of $39,500. Additionally, the publication's readership has steadily increased to 7.8 million unique monthly visitors. By comparison, the Huffington Post pulls in about 25 million unique monthly visitors, and on the other end of the spectrum, hyper-local news site Patch.com sees about three million uniques across its entire network of 800 sites (each of which has its own editor and writing staff).
What more impressive is the fact that most of the site's readership growth has just come within the last year. As of last summer, Business Insider was only seeing a little more than three million unique monthly visitors (putting it in the Patch range), which means that the site effectively doubled its readership in seven months.
Founded in 2007, Business Insider (formerly known as Silicon Valley Insider) has raised $6.6 million to date from RRE Ventures, Marc Andreessen, Allen & Company, and more. The company employs 45 full-time employees--25 in the newsroom, 10 in engineering, and 10 in sales and management. Two years ago, BI only employed 15 people.
It looks like Business Insider is ripe for the pickin'.
Image source: BusinessInsider.com