(Screenshot of Swellinfo.com)
Micah Sklut sold his beloved surfing site Swellinfo to the Carbon Media Group in May of 2014, and since he left the site, he said it’s seen a drop in users and a loss of vision. As one fan put it on Facebook: “Swellinfo got socially awkward for a bit.” But now, Sklut’s back at the helm.
Dedicated to providing surf forecast and marine weather data to surfers and watersport enthusiasts, Swellinfo was founded in 2006 by Sklut. He lives in Lewes.
Sklut, a University of Delaware Masters of Science in Climatology grad, in his words, “poured most of [his] waking hours into the site for over eight years.”
He announced his return recently on Facebook, so we reached out to see if he’d tell us a bit about the sale, why he’s coming back and what’s on tap.
The idea in 2014, Sklut told us over email, was that Carbon Media would be a good home for Swellinfo thanks to their large library of domains in the outdoor enthusiast market. The problem is that Sklut himself stepped away from Swellinfo.
Sklut told us he doesn’t regret the sale. “Carbon Media Group is a digital media company that owns over 100 domains in the outdoor enthusiast market,” he explained. “They saw the great user base of Swellinfo and wanted to capitalize on this. Since they are able to sell ads across all of their domains, they are in a much better position then Swellinfo alone to capture corporate advertising contracts.”
“To put it simply, they can monetize the site much more than me,” he said.
Sklut explained that the issue was that he is “the soul of Swellinfo.” He’s the one who built the site, he understands what his users want from it and he created all the predictive algorithms. He told us that since “the site has been largely neglected and the vision has been lost,” ad revenue’s gone down and users have left.
“In 2014, when the site was acquired, if someone told me Carbon Media would try to hire me back on in a couple years, I wouldn’t have flinched because I understood then the shortcomings of their strategy.” The large media group had tremendous access to ad potential, but not a good handle on the intimacy of running the site.
Sklut’s been hired back. He doesn’t completely own the site, but he has “a significant stake” in it. This time? He has a full team working with him to make it better.
“Having now a couple of years break, I am coming back with fresh eyes and staying focused on that core vision. There is some heavy lifting to do for sure, but I am excited to have a team behind me to carry out this vision and grow Swellinfo.”
Good luck, Micah, and welcome back.
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