for ISKCON News on Dec. 29, 2007
Fox Entertainment Group have announced the acquisition of Beliefnet, an interfaith Web site that offers a wide variety of resources including social networking tools, articles, quizzes, text searches, photo galleries, forums and interviews.
Beliefnet, winner of the 2007 National Magazine Award for General Excellence Online, is the largest online community for spirituality and inspiration. Beliefnet has approximately three million unique visitors each month and a daily email newsletter readership of more than 10 million subscribers.
The web site will be absorbed into Fox Digital Media, which says that the acquisition provides Beliefnet with more resources to further build and enhance its already popular brand.
Steve Waldman, Editor-in-Chief of Beliefnet, said "This is really big news for us. We've been getting interest from would-be acquirers for a few years. We were in no rush to sell but I've always believed that Beliefnet would fully blossom with the help of a major media partner."
Waldman said that Fox want Beliefnet for the right reasons. "They already own high-quality spiritually-oriented media companies – which are multi-faith and ideologically diverse – and want Beliefnet to help those assets grow," he said. "It became clear that working with them we could expand our reach a lot and we could better meet our mission. We want to thank the Beliefnet community very much for bringing us here. We want you to come along for the next part of this interesting and exciting journey." Waldman will be staying on in the Fox based version of Beliefnet.
Fox Digital Media president Dan Fawcett in announcing the deal said "Beliefnet has garnered respect for its commitment to quality, editorial strength and unbiased approach to faith and spirituality from a broad range of consumers, religious and political leaders, journalists and advertisers."
Currently not dependent on advertising and not affiliated with any denomination, Beliefnet will be used to promote titles published by Zondervan and HarperOne, two religious book publishers which are owned by News Corp.
A fully interactive site, Beliefnet draws people together to read, watch and share. Many faiths are represented along with news, stories, games, blogs, downloads and more. There are videos from religious teachers worldwide including Ravindra Svarupa dasa of ISKCON.
Beliefnet was formed eight years ago. After quickly becoming the biggest religious based site on the Internet, by 2002 it was also broke. Falling victim to the dot-com recession, Beliefnet filed for bankruptcy. After layoffs and cutbacks Waldman had faith that BeliefNet would beat the odds and survive.