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The451.com is back from the dead

Management buys up assets

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Subscription-only tech news site The451.com is back, after chief exec Martin McCarthy led a management buy- up of the company's name and other assets from the receivers.

The new The451.com has kept the offices in New York and San Francisco, but has no plans to re-open its London digs. All the US staff are back on board in full-time or freelance capacities, according to McCarthy. He is negotiating similar deals with the UK staffers, but admits there will be fewer people working on The451 than the 25 or so who were employed before its brush with death.

Majority-owner Durlacher announced to the stock market on Monday 15 October that receivers had been brought in to handle the site's company 45Onecom Ltd.

The451.com was valued at £500,000 at the end of June, but McCarthy declined to say what it had cost to buy the name, database of subscribers (in the thousands according to McCarthy) and back file of wide-ranging IT analysis stories, plus PCs and some furniture.

The Register has always been sceptical that an online publishing model, requiring large numbers subscribers to pay for mainstream IT news and analysis, would survive, when idiots like ourselves are giving the stuff away for free.

McCarthy is confident that the model will work with a bit of retuning. "The cost structure didn't quite jibe with our revenues," he said then pointed out that losing a London office and some staff has addressed this issue.

What about competitors giving content away for free? "I come from a background where people are prepared to pay for quality," said McCarthy.

But The Reg is good and free. "I'm not too familiar with your site, but with all due respect we have a higher quality offering," said McCarthy.

The Reg always said The 451.com was absurdly self-regarding but McCarthy may have a point. In our story The451.com is dead, we suggested the company's Manhattan offices on 5th Avenue were swanky, coming complete with leather sofa and exposed brick; one visitor described the set-up as "the dog's bollocks".

Apparently the sofa is naugahyde, not leather, and had been left there by the previous tenant. The brick is exposed because of a minor damp problem. ®

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