Flickr, Smugmug And Others Bidding To Buy JPG Magazine Says TechCrunch
TechCrunch is reporting that Flickr, Smugmug, Alexander Muse, WordPress and apparently others (TechCrunch says 20 potential buyerys) have all been involved in a bidding war over JPG Magazine and reports that it looks like a transaction will close shortly.
Matt Mullenweg denies that WordPress has ever had any conversations about anything like this in the comments of the post.
Don MacAskill seems to suggest on Twitter that SmugMug was at least interested but that they’re now unlikely to bid:
“JPG Magazine may be saved! The other bidders have much deeper pockets, so we’re unlikely to bid afterall, but if something happens.
We were going to turn JPG Magazine back over the community, try to run it at a small loss, and mostly do our best to keep it from extinction.”
For what it’s worth, I doubt that you’ll see anyone acquire JPG Magazine for any serious money at all. JPG was a money losing proposition (unfortunately) and not very many people are going to be interested in a money losing magazine at this juncture in a recession.
Although JPG had an online presence, the online part of the business was pretty weak to start with. It really was the idea that you’d get published in a very polished magazine and get $100 that interested contributors more than the online side of the site.
Mike Arrington suggests that fans are going to want to see JPG go to Flickr. But I seriously doubt Flickr would buy JPG. First off, why would Yahoo want to part with cash?
Secondly, even if Flickr ran the print magazine JPG at a loss in order to enhance the cachet of Flickr, it could very seriously backfire on them. You can only print so many photographs in a magazine a month and everyone who submitted photos that got rejected would feel bad. There’s enough bitching already around Flickr about who gets photos in “Explore” and who doesn’t that I can’t imagine an even more exclusive magazine distinction would do much for the competitive esprit de corps at the site.
Finally, if Flickr really wanted to do a magazine, well, they’d probably just do one and call it something like, well, Flickr. It’s a better brand name and it’s not like the JPG name carries some sort of magical cachet with photographers that a Flickr title wouldn’t.
I just don’t see it happening with Flickr.
Speaking of Halsey Minor, JPG’s major investor, JPG employee Jason Defilippo didn’t have very kind words for him according to one commenter Jack McGuire in the comments of the TechCrunch article. McGuire quotes Defilippo as twittering: “I loathe Halsey Minor. Billionaire douchebag. He killed 8020 along with Ron Palmeri. Brothers in douche.”
Update #2: In the comments section to this post JPG investor Ron Palmeri responds to Alexander Muse’s offer as well as the comments made on Twitter by Jason Defilippo. He also reprints portions from an email where he says that JPG has 20 interested parties in the venture.
Update #3: Heather Champ (who works for Flickr/Yahoo) writes that “we (Flickr) are not and never have been interested in bidding on JPG. One shouldn’t believe everything one reads on the internets.”