Mediabistro: The $23 Million Niche Board Darling

Just who was it that said communications is a low-paying profession?

Laurel Touby, the founder of Mediabistro.com, the social networking and niche job-board business, has sold her company to Jupitermedia Corp. for $23 million.

Employers who posted jobs on the niche job site were well-aware of the loyal following by job-seeking media and creative professionals. Last year, the site had 600,000 unique visitors.

Darien, Connecticut-based Jupitermedia, an Internet research company, last year acquired JustTechJobs.com. It also owns Internet.com and Graphics.com.

“This team has nurtured a very loyal following of media and creative professionals that relies on Mediabistro to find jobs, learn about the latest industry happenings and best practices, and bring them together at live community-driven events around the country,” said Alan M. Meckler, chairman and chief executive of Jupitermedia, in a release.

“Mediabistro provides our JupiterOnlineMedia division with another diversified and fast-growing revenue stream through its vertical online job board, which has broad appeal to all aspects of the media industry. The Mediabistro job board should benefit from the vast traffic generated from our online media and Jupiterimages properties,” said Meckler.

Rumors of a desired sale have been swirling for well over a year now.

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“This comes close to what the company hoped for [$25 million or so] when it started the M&A process in early 2006, though one would have expected the valuation to go up in the almost two years since then,” noted Rafat Ali at Paid Content.

In 1993, Touby organized a few happy-hour style gatherings for media professionals in New York City. By 1996, she started a website that featured job postings for media-specific careers.

As Touby writes on her website, “The entire reason for its existence was to help media people, myself included, meet up, hook up, and share resources with one another — a social network with bare-bones technology.”

The company was sued in 1999 over the HireMinds.com domain before successfully transitioning to the Mediabistro.com domain.

Per the terms of the deal, Touby will remain with the company as a senior vice president.

Elaine Rigoli has nearly 15 years of experience managing content and community for various B2B and consumer websites. Elaine has written thousands of business and technology articles and has been quoted in The Wall Street Journal and eWeek, among other publications.

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