Hearst Magazines acquires relationship advice site

The publishing giant plans to fold New York start-up Answerology, founded as a romance novel tie-in, into its various magazine properties.

Publishing giant Hearst Magazines announced on Wednesday plans to acquire Answerology, a New York-based start-up that offers a question-and-answer service for relationship advice. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but PaidContent reported that it was in the seven figures.

Matthew Milner, Answerology's founder, will be brought on board Hearst as vice president of community and social media in the conglomerate's Hearst Magazines Digital Media unit.

Answerology's schtick is that it allows users to ask anonymous questions about family, marriage, dating, and other heated subjects pertaining to relationships, and those questions can be targeted toward select age groups, genders, geographic regions, and personality types (i.e. "thinker" or "intellectual.")

Most of the questions on Answerology, which seems to have an admirably active core community, pertain directly to relationships, like this one: "By 39 years of age, is it a little weird if a man is still single, no solid career path, not close with his family, and only a select few close friends?" (Answer: Yes, but things will get better if you take away his Xbox.)

Other subjects of discussion fall more into a general "lifestyle" niche, for example, "When do you think you'll be able to retire?" (Answer: Never! Ever!)

Hearst hasn't been quite as avid in the Web acquisition space as some of its publishing brethren, but it has made a few notable buys: for one, social-shopping site Kaboodle , which it purchased last year.

Even though question-and-answer sites are a dime a dozen , the lifestyle- and relationship-oriented Answerology seems like a good fit for a magazine publisher--indeed, Hearst plans to work it into the Web properties for its 15 magazine titles.

And it had a funny publishing-industry connection to begin with: founder Milner originally conceived of Answerology as a tie-in for a "romantic-comedy novel" he wrote, Guy Critical.

 

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