Technophiles in search of reading material have a friend in Ziff Davis. The firm is an online publisher targeting tech enthusiasts. Its flagship PCMag.com website offers technology-related features, e-newsletters, buying guides, and downloads. Other Web brands include ExtremeTech (how-to features), Geek.com (news, reviews, and an online community), LogicBuy (coupon codes and deals), and BuyerBase (ad targeting platform). The company also offers online consumer events and direct marketing services. Ziff Davis traces its roots to 1927, when William Ziff (a famed WWI flier and author) and Bernard Davis first published Popular Aviation. Today it is owned by former Time executive Vivek Shah and Great Hill Partners.
The company has spent the last couple of years making disposals and acquisitions to offer a balanced portfolio of media assets. In 2012 Ziff Davis sold several media assets to QuinStreet, a direct marketing company, for an undisclosed amount. The assets sold included websites eWeek.com, CIOInsight.com, Baseline.com, ChannelInsider.com, and WebBuyersGuide.com. QuinStreet also purchased an email and telephone subscriber database from Ziff Davis.
The company made a key targeted acquisition and product launch in 2011 when it acquired LogicBuy, a provider of tech deals and coupons. It made the purchase to provide contextual deals and coupons related to the products users are researching. Ziff Davis also launched ad targeting platform BuyerBase, which collects activity related to tech search queries, product codes, model numbers, and related content on more than 120 tech-oriented websites to better connect consumers with ads.
These acquisitions and disposals follow the company's ownership change in 2010, when Boston-based private equity firm Great Hill partnered with Vivek Shah to purchase Ziff Davis. The investors were interested in Ziff Davis because it has no legacy print operations to drag it down. Another reason for the acquisition is the company's strong niche brand, which is attractive to marketers. The purchase price was undisclosed, but the deal was reportedly worth less than $150 million.
Ziff Davis has offices in San Francisco and New York City, but operates brands represented in 45 countries and in 17 languages. All total it reaches more than 40 million tech buyers. The company ended the print publication of its 27-year-old flagship title, PC Magazine, and took the magazine online only in 2007. It made the move to cut costs; it was an acknowledgement of the fact that PC Magazine readers had been increasingly migrating to the publication's website.
The current iteration of Ziff Davis was formed in 2000 from the ashes of Ziff-Davis Inc., one of the top tech publishers of the 1990s dot com boom. When the bubble burst, Willis Stein & Partners and James Dunning (former Ziff-Davis chairman and CEO) purchased the magazine operations to form Ziff Davis Media, while rival CNET Networks acquired the online operations of ZDNet. (CNET was later absorbed into CBS Interactive.)