Tech Blog Pioneer Gigaom Closes After Failing to Repay Debt

Gigaom, a pioneering technology-news website that attracts about 6.5 million readers a month, said it was shutting down after failing to repay lenders.

The blog publisher, founded in 2006 by writer Om Malik, said late Monday that all operations have ceased. Gigaom has offices in San Francisco and New York. Its website still shows entries posted as recently as Monday about Apple Inc.’s new watch, HBO’s streaming service and a meeting between Snapchat Inc. Chief Executive Officer Evan Spiegel and Saudi Arabia’s Prince Alwaleed bin Talal.

“It was totally unexpected by its readers and those in tech,” said Ken Doctor, a media analyst for Newsonomics. “It had apparently established itself as a go-to site, a trusted site in the tech world and what we thought was a stable business,” he said by telephone.

Gigaom ran events and sold research reports as well as advertising on its site. Whether its difficulties stemmed from management problems or its revenue model could be of concern to other online media companies, such as Re/Code and Business Insider, Doctor said.

“These other companies’ ability to find a second and third revenue stream, in addition to the hypercompetitive world of digital advertising, is newly in question,” he said.

Gigaom said on its website that it didn’t know its lenders’ plans for the company’s assets or whether any operations would continue.

Funding Round

The company received its last round of funding, valued at $8 million, in February 2014, from investors including Alloy Ventures Inc. and the venture arm of Reed Elsevier Plc, according to Crunchbase. Total funding exceeded $22 million, that site said.

Tony Di Bona of Alloy and Luke Smith of Reed Elsevier Ventures didn’t immediately return requests for comment.

While founder Malik long has been an influential voice among tech bloggers -- his Twitter account has almost 1.5 million followers -- Gigaom’s popularity has dropped compared with some of its peers. The site is No. 1,247 among the most popular pages in the U.S., behind CNET at 68, Engadget at 142 and TechCrunch at 203, according to Alexa.com.

“Business, much like life, is not a movie and not everyone gets to have a storybook ending,” Malik, who left the company more than a year ago, said on his blog.

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