About.com is no more, with Dotdash launching in its stead. While About.com was a network of hundreds of microsites about niche topics, Dotdash is made up of a smaller number of standalone sites on bigger topics. These include Health, Home, Finance, Education, and Technology.
About.com was a pioneer of the internet, originally launching as The Mining Company in 1997. It was also one of the biggest sites on the web for many years, and it still ranks in the Top 500 in terms of the number of visitors. So why has it been killed? And what is Dotdash?
You Need More Than One Website
About.com has essentially done what other general interest sites have done in recent years; breaking itself down into its constituent parts. So, rather than heading for About.com and having to dig around in sections, you’ll now head to specific websites with clear mandates.
The logic is that while no one knew what About.com really stood for, people associate particular websites with particular topics. So, people will visit Verywell for articles about health, The Balance for articles on personal finance, and ThoughtCo. for articles about education.
As for the name, Neil Vogel, CEO of Dotdash, explained the thinking behind rebranding the site, saying, “The Dot in Dotdash is a nod to our 20-year history, as a red dot has always been a part of the About.com visual identity, and the dash suggests forward motion and action.”
An Internet Pioneer Eyes the Future
There has been a lot of snark written about the death of About.com. Some of it justified, but a lot of it just unkind. Especially when you remember that, despite its obvious flaws, About.com WAS an internet pioneer. So, while we’re not shedding any tears, we’re also not celebrating its demise.
Did you ever visit the old About.com? Or did you ever write for one of its many microsites? If so, are you sad to see About.com disappear? Do you understand the logic of switching to a smaller number of standalone sites? Please let us know in the comments below!