Is this the right way to sell a website? 37Signals offers Sortfolio

Jason Fried Credit: flickr/turoczy

Sortfolio, a website to help you find website designers, will be closed by 37Signals unless someone ponies up $480,000.

Offered for auction last year by 37Signals, Sortfolio didn't receive the bid they hoped for. Now their blog says Sortfolio, which generates around $200,000 profit per year, will either sell by July 1 or be closed. The $480,000 price is firm, and needs to be cash, meaning no equity swap, discounts, or partial payments.

In an interview last year, 37Signal's president Jason Fried outlined why he wanted to sell. Without paying a lot of attention to the site, it's been making money, but Fried says his focus is elsewhere. It never reached the level they wanted, and so they want to offload the Rails code, customers, design, branding, etc. The buyer has to take over hosting, and develop their own billing process.

Buyouts today

No no Jason, you’re doing this all wrong! Using the right math, (TechCrunch Math?) Sortfolio is easily worth $300M – $400M.

Nathan on 37signals.com

Obviously, this is all a pr stunt. No company would get rid of a division that NETS 20 THOUSAND per month. Unless they needed the cash but if everything else they say is right, then thats not true either.

Mike on mixergy.com

We contacted 37signals when they originally announced their intention to sell Sortfolio. Having bought and sold sites before we asked for some pretty standard information about traffic, revenue, etc. These questions weren't answered and we did not pursue the matter further.

evdawg on news.ycombinator.com

If they aren't focused on it, it is a distraction and can potentially tarnish the brand. Plus, they aren't going to sell for nothing, so they get immediate capital they can invest in areas where they expect a higher rate of return.

cbsmith on news.ycombinator.com

Customers

As a paying customer, I’m so happy to hear you’ve put “no effort into it in the last year. I can confirm this by the total absence of leads from Sortfolio, despite the health of our other initiatives. Account cancelled.

Chris on 37signals.com

I'm wondering, If you had $480,000, why not spend 10% of that to build an alternative, and release it on July 1. After all the customers are going to have to signup to a new payment system either way.

rockarage on news.ycombinator.com

Wow, what a horrible way to insult your current customer base. This fires sale of your just rubs me way the wrong way. I just lost a huge amount of respect for you guys.

Victor on 37signals.com

Quibbles

The value here is the connection to 37S, if that is lost then so is the value.

Mike on 37signals.com

not sure i get it. If it is netting you $17-20K a month without doing anything, carve out some of that and hire someone to grow it?

Heybrett73 on mixergy.com

Have you or your company ever bought a website? How did that go for you, good or bad?

For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.

Now read this:

Developer declares 'I am done with the Freemium Business Model'

Khan Academy offers JavaScript as their first computer language

Study says Facebook profile can predict job performance

What’s wrong? The new clean desk test
Join the discussion
Be the first to comment on this article. Our Commenting Policies