For the past couple months Yolanda has been writing more infrequently, as some subscribers have noticed. Yes, we’ve been busy with something. Something big we’re thrilled to finally share with all of you.
So here goes. Yolanda and our little blog have been acquired by Penske Media Corporation (PMC). We’ve been hired both to join Variety as an editor-at-large and to co-found Dirt.com, a new standalone media brand under the PMC umbrella — à la Rolling Stone, Robb Report, Deadline and many others.
But before delving into what that means for the future, here’s a brief (we hope) summary of how and why we originally started this little site. We’ve never given a “Yolanda history” lesson before — so if you’ve weirdly been craving more info about her, class is officially in session.
Yolanda has been fascinated by high-end real estate — and the people who can afford to play in that particular sandbox — for as long as we can remember. We grew up right outside a guard-gated community and used to beg our parents to drive us through the “Estates” as a child. Mr. and Mrs. Yakketyyak patiently explained that wasn’t possible — the gates were there to keep poor folks (like us) out. Tantrums ensued. We weren’t one to take “no” for an answer, obviously. For better or worse.
About eight years ago, we began contributing to various real estate news sites — providing the writers with tips, organizing lists for them — all free of charge. We compiled a rundown of both 2012’s and 2013’s biggest transactions for Curbed LA, just for example.
Eventually we realized operating our own website would be far more sensible than providing free content to others. After two indecisive years, we finally took the plunge and founded this blog in early 2016. At the time, we were working a desk job for a wonderful healthcare manufacturing giant and wrote in the evenings and on weekends. And while we knew this blog provided valuable content, growth initially was sluggish. It took us a full year to notch our first 1,000 subscribers.
No, Yolanda never invested in any conventional marketing methods. But somehow, word organically spread. Over the past couple years, the blog has grown rapidly — beyond anything we imagined. Our work has been quoted in respected publications like the Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, Financial Times, The Real Deal,Architectural Digest, New York Post, The Observer, and so many more. And today, our site is one of the most widely-read real estate blogs in the entire country.
Sorry for tooting our own flabby horn, kids. But we never set out to be a “disruptor” or “influencer” — yet we’ve been labeled so time and time again. And hey, we’ll take those titles any day.
Anyway, our traffic exploded so much that we left our “day” job exactly a year ago to concentrate on this site (and other side projects) full-time. We’ve seen an avalanche of new subscribers, millions upon millions of pageviews, and even received a couple serious offers for our website and/or content. While financially generous, those partnerships ultimately weren’t the right fit, for various reasons. Since day one, our goal has always been to remain an independent website.
But that lucrative traffic growth, welcome as it may be, has also brought a multitude of challenges. Probably the two most common questions Yolanda gets are “why aren’t you on social media?” and “why do you only write about LA stuff?”
The answer is that we’d love to be on social media. And we’d love to write about your city, too. But as a solo operator, we just don’t have the bandwidth. These posts may look simple, kids, but writing the text alone takes hours. And that doesn’t include editing, curating images, inserting links, moderating comments. Not to mention the endless research. 80 hours a week? Yes.
Last year we met with an established business developer for guidance on how to scale this “venture,” if you will. The conclusion was straightforward: in order to expand Yolanda’s coverage, we would either require a very substantial capital investment or partnership with an established media company whose mission parallels our own: creating game-changing, compelling, slightly irreverent content for all y’all. We are blessed to say Penske Media is that partner.
We will temporarily become an editor-at-large for Variety’s Dirt section until the new Dirt.com — the standalone real estate news brand we are co-founding — goes live. Stay tuned.
This big change wasn’t a decision we took lightly or made easily. But after many meetings and discussions, we are supremely confident Jay and the fantastic team at PMC are fully aligned with our goals. And in this time of change and transition, we are committed to providing exactly the same sort of exhaustively researched content you’ve come to love — or at least read. If you’re already a subscriber, the transition should be seamless. You’ll continue receiving stories as usual.
And for anyone who wants to accuse us of “selling out” — well, perhaps you’re not technically wrong. But while being independent was certainly fun in its own way, it just wasn’t a sustainable business model. That’s the truth. And the opportunity to be affiliated with a global powerhouse — one who actually supports us wholeheartedly? Priceless.
This post may seem unnecessarily lengthy. It’s just a blog! But to us, Yolanda is much more. This is our baby. We cultivated this from the ground up with zero external support or promotion.
We’re not sure how we can repay you the gift of your time, but someday we hope to find a way. And if you’d like to chat, please do drop us a line. We always love to gab with readers, so don’t be shy.
Life is great. And we only get one shot at it, kids. We’re privileged to be living our best life doing what we love — and with a fantastic team to aid us! That’s nothing short of a blessing.