Monday, January 26, 2009

How Stuff Works Web Site

HowStuffWorks site growing, entering into TV realm

HowStuffWorks wasn’t Arnold’s idea. Credit a computer science professor appropriately named Marshall Brain. In 1998, Brain started the Web site as a hobby. His first article: “How Car Engines Work.” He even did his own primitive illustrations — “eventually expunged,” he noted.

When deemed his site “cool,” Brain said traffic began to build. In 1999, he turned HowStuffWorks into a business.

Four years later, Brain sold the site to Arnold’s company for $2 million. Arnold built the company and in late 2007, sold it for $250 million to Discovery Communications, based in Silver Spring, Md. (Primary operations for HowStuffWorks remain in Buckhead.)

Arnold, who is still the company CEO, liked that the audience for the Discovery Channel is similar to that of HowStuffWorks. To spice up the site, it has added 35,000-plus videos from Discovery archival footage and purchased articles from the likes of World Book and Reader’s Digest.

Plus, in November, HowStuffWorks started a new TV show on Discovery Channel, beginning with basic commodities such as corn, wood and wheat.

The goal this year is to get up to 20 million unique visitors a month.

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