Red Ventures profits off of giving you advice

Red Ventures’ media empire includes leading advice sites like CNET, Lonely Planet, Bankrate and The Points Guy.

A smattering of some Red Ventures media brands (Source: Red Ventures)

Red Ventures profits off of giving you advice

If you need a new toaster, check CNET. Wondering what to do in the Maldives? Lonely Planet. Think you have an ulcer? Maybe Healthline can help. And as it turns out, all these sites are owned by the same company.

Recently, The New York Times profiled Red Ventures, a South Carolina-based digital media giant “you’ve never heard of.”

Red Ventures owns several sites that you probably have heard of, and the 1 thing they have in common is that they all provide advice:

  • MyMove (Moving)
  • The Points Guy (Travel/rewards points)
  • Greatist (Fitness)
  • BestColleges (Education)
  • (Consumer reviews)
  • Bankrate (Personal finance)

Red Ventures’ business model…

… is to take readers who are already looking to buy something, inform that purchase, then take a cut — like if you choose 1 of these 5 grills preferred by CNET’s editors.

And does this business model work?

Apparently, yes. Red Ventures has:

  • 4.5k employees across 5 continents
  • A valuation of $11B+
  • Annual revenue of ~$2B
  • ~751m site visits per month

And the biggest commissions? Credit card sign-ups, like those found in The Points Guy, which was part of the company’s $1.4B Bankrate acquisition in 2015.

Oddly enough, CEO Ric Elias decided to expand Red Ventures from a marketing company after surviving the infamous US Airways Flight 1549 that miraculously landed on the Hudson River in 2009 — an experience about which he gave a TED Talk.

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