Consumers Union Buys Consumerist

We are thrilled to announced Consumers Union has purchased The Consumerist, effective 1/1/09.

What changes?

  • Chris and Carey are back!
  • Meghann Marco is promoted to co-executive editor and will reign supreme alongside Ben Popken.
  • The only ads will be for Consumer Reports and Consumers Union-related stuff.
  • There will be a new privacy policy and user agreement. We will let you know when they’re up and you can check them out.

What doesn’t change?

  • Our voice, content, or independence.
  • The blog stays free and open, no paid-subscription required.
  • You keep your same commenter login and name.

We look forward to to serving you for years to come with the info and news you need to stay savvy. Onwards and upwards!

Here is the press release:

CONSUMER REPORTS’ PUBLISHER ACQUIRES GAWKER MEDIA’S CONSUMERIST.COM

America’s most trusted consumer advocate bolsters new media offerings;
Purchase comes during period of organization’s continued growth

Yonkers, NY—Consumers Union (CU), the highly trusted, independent publisher of Consumer Reports magazine and ConsumerReports.org, has purchased Consumerist.com from Gawker Media. The popular consumer watchdog blog will operate independently of Consumer Reports publications and be the first property housed under a new non-profit entity called Consumer Media LLC. The change in ownership will be in effect as of January 1, 2009.

“We’re delighted to add this vibrant site to our portfolio of information products,” said Jim Guest, President and CEO of Consumers Union. “The Consumerist community is passionate about fair retail practices, truth in advertising, product safety, and other topics that Consumer Reports has championed for more than 70 years. The site is a perfect fit for advancing our mission of creating a fair, safe, and just marketplace.”

Gawker Media launched Consumerist.com three years ago. Its monthly traffic of more than 10 million page views exceeds the web sites operated by many daily newspapers. “We are thrilled to join the Consumers Union family, where Consumerist.com will benefit from an incredibly powerful and iconic brand, while maintaining autonomy housed under a separate division. Consumerist.com is now assured of a strong, healthy future,” said Ben Popken, Editor of Consumerist.com.

Consumer Reports was launched in 1936, and does not accept advertising so as to maintain its independence from the products and services it rates. Starting immediately Consumerist.com will no longer accept ads. “The continuous growth and success Consumer Reports enjoys is proof that there is strong appetite for high-quality, unbiased content,” said John Sateja, Executive Vice President of Consumers Union. “Consumerist.com, with its history of building community, shining a light on unfriendly consumer behavior, and having a little fun while they’re at it, is a natural complement to our growing organization.”

Despite current publishing industry challenges, Consumer Reports and ConsumerReports.org have experienced robust growth across print products and online during the last seven years. Monthly newsstand sales have more than doubled to 190,000 in 2008 from 83,845 in 2002. Subscriptions rose 12 percent to 4.3 million from 3.9 million during that period and continue to trend upward. There are 3.3 million paid Web subscribers to ConsumerReports.org, the largest paid-subscriber site in the world. According to a recently released Harris Poll, Consumer Reports is the most trusted organization in America.

About Consumers Union
Consumers Union, the publisher of Consumer Reports, is an expert, independent, nonprofit organization whose mission is to work for a fair, just, and safe marketplace for all consumers and to empower consumers. To achieve this mission, CU tests, informs, and protects. To maintain independence and impartiality, CU accepts no outside advertising, no free test samples, and has no agenda other than the interests of consumers. CU supports itself through the sale of information products and services, individual contributions, and a few noncommercial grants. CU’s flagship publication, Consumer Reports magazine, has a circulation of 4.3 million and continues to expand, while the magazine’s Web site ConsumerReports.org has more than 3.3 million paid subscribers and is the largest subscription-based Web site in the industry. In addition, CU has successfully launched and expanded Consumer Reports on Health, Consumer Reports Money Adviser, and, most recently, ShopSmart magazine.

Consumers Union to Buy a Blog From Gawker [NYT]

(Photo: papalars)