Well I was right about this one. When word came a few weeks ago that About.com was for sale, I predicted the New York Times would buy it. That's exactly what has happened. But before I start patting myself on the back, I'll admit to being shocked by the price the Times will pay -- some $410 million.
For extensive coverage, take a look at paidcontent's take on the sale. Rafat shares my view that part of the reason the Times is interested is that the newspaper giant has been slow to respond to the blog movement. About is the grandfather of "citizen journalism." So the purchase pushes the Times to the forefront of the phenomenon. The other obvious justification for the deal is the growing importance of online advertising.
The lessons here for trade journalists are two-fold. First, if your publisher isn't focused on generating revenue from online ads, then you need to find a new publisher. Second, if you haven't established an ongoing, digital "conversation" with your readers, then your publisher needs to find a new you.
ADDENDUM: I'm flattered that my prediction about the N.Y. Times deal won me some praise on David Shaw's B2B blog.