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The beginning of a downward spiral, no doubt. Internet Brands, which is the parent company of CarsDirect.com and other community based sites including Wikitravel.org, FlyerTalk.com, SlowTalk.com and others, has added BikeForums.net to its portfolio of websites.
The site was started about 7 and a half years ago, by Joe Gardner. Over the years, Joe has watched the site grow from 3 registered members in the first week to over 65,000 registered members today. It’s gone from 2 – 3 posts a day to over 6,000 new posts daily. This site has far exceeded all expectations he had that first week! Joe will still be posting on the forums, but he is using the proceeds from the sale to pursue other cycling-related projects. After putting in more than 7 years of hard work on the site, he’s ready to move on to something else. More on that when he’s ready to go live.
The good news for members is that there will be not be many big changes in the day to day running of the site, from a participant’s view. Most of the same moderator team will be in place, but it gains a full time IT, advertising, marketing and bookkeeping staff. This is because the new owners are in it strictly for profit, and don’t really take any interest in the members. Most of the aforementioned staff coming on board don’t even own bikes.
The bad news is that it will never be the same, now that’s it’s owned by a company, and not a cyclist. Expect to see a lot more ads, and a lot less fun.