Sinking Catster sold to new owner but will it work?

Late last year Catster was sinking. In fact, in my view, it had been thinking for a long time. By “sinking” I believe that it was going bust. The reason was a classic one. Ultimately on a website like Catster, you run out of content to write about. You simply run out of things to say because the topic has boundaries, has limits. The only topic that has no limits is news media.

This means that the content becomes less interesting leading to less readers and less advertising revenue and if you have relatively heavy overheads you sink. The example below illustrates the point.

RELATED: Catster asks: “Can Cats Eat Blueberry Muffins? Vet approved Facts & FAQ”. WTH!

Pangolia brought up Catster and then added in some other websites to make it bigger and hopefully more profitable.
Pangolia brought up Catster and then added in some other websites to make it bigger and hopefully more profitable for Pangolia. Personally, I hope they go bust 🤢.

And so Catster was sold to a new owner together with Dogster. That new owner is Pangolia. In fact, Pangolia bought up Catster, Dogster and The Conscious Cat and Excited Cats.

An agent acting for Pangolia spoke to me for a long time on the purchase of my website by Pangolia. They simply couldn’t pay enough for it and I wouldn’t sell at an undervalue. Otherwise, my site would now be part of Catster.

The former owner of Catster was Belvoir Media Group. They must’ve decided it was time to sell to Pangolia which appears to be an ambitious company which believes that there is a future for Internet websites providing information on cat and dog ownership.

Catster has been around longer than POC. But not much longer. At one time POC was ranked higher than Catster by a now defunct company called Alexa. Alexa was owned by Amazon but Alexa shut down about three or more years ago.

Catster had an associated hardcopy magazine for a long time. The Catster magazine shut down a little while ago and the focus of attention was on the Catster website at that time until, as mentioned above, Catster was sold.

These changes indicate the fluidity of the Internet. Things change fast and things can be changed because it is a digital world compared to a bricks and mortar world.

But clearly, Pangolia believe that they can make a go of an enlarged Catster website having imported into it a number of other cat websites. The finished result is a much bigger operation with more staff, more overheads, more contributors, more editors and writers et cetera. However, I’d say that there is also more risk.

The purchase of Catster and its enlargement by purchasing other websites and merging them with Catster appears to me to be in a last stand to make Catster work for the future.

I know the problem of finding new content. Perhaps the biggest fear of content website owners is running out of things to say. That might sound bizarre but it’s true.

It’s what happens to Catster. You simply go around in circles saying the same thing or dreaming up new topics which simply don’t work very well. All websites start off with the low hanging fruit, the easy topics which were available about 15 years ago. Now website owners have to rely on the much harder to get at fruit at the top of the tree. These topics are less interesting anyway.

Further, the vast majority of cat and dog owners are now much better educated about cat behaviour, dog behaviour and the caregiving of these animals. That’s thanks to the Internet. In providing great content, website owners, in the long term, undermine their existence ironically.

It’s a bit like the fire service in the UK. They educate the public on how to prevent fires. They hand out free smoke alarms. And now, there’s almost no work for them to do!

My personal opinion is that Pangolia will struggle to make their enlarged operation work. As mentioned, the Internet is fluid and things are changing fast. Search engine integrated artificial intelligence chat boxes answer questions about cats and dogs which undermine websites providing the same information.

Further, the big search engines provide answers to questions by tapping into content websites and then presenting those answers on their website. This also undermines the original content website. There will be more changes and I believe all of them will erode the existence of content websites like Catster and indeed POC.

The peak time, the best time, for POC was about three years after it was created (around 2010). It was the most visited website about cats in the world for a while and it’s been downhill ever since not through lack of trying but because that is the nature of the Internet. That said I believe it is a still an excellent website with great and useful content even though I say it myself 😎.

I am pessimistic about Catster not because I want to be because I’m inherently pessimistic but because I’m a realist. I think Catster will struggle. They have heavy overheads to cover and that means lots of advertising. They have a shop which hopefully will cover some of their costs.

The reason why POC will survive is because the overheads are minimal as there is one employee 😉. And I can make a loss as long as I want to. There is no commercial aspect of the website dictating whether it survives or not. It will only survive if I wanted to and it will only die for the same reason.

P.S. Pangolia was established in 2019 by founder and entrepreneur Simon Treulle. It owns and operates a number of content sites in the pet space including Hepper.com and Petkeen.com as well as those mentioned above.

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Catster asks: “Can Cats Eat Blueberry Muffins? Vet approved Facts & FAQ”. WTH!

Vet approved! Who is going to feed their cat blueberry muffins for dinner?! You don’t need a vet to approve the answer to the question because no cat caregiver in their right mind is going to feed their cat blueberry muffins (note: plural). And I don’t expect a domestic cat to be interested in a blueberry muffin. Remember? They are carnivores. I can’t see the point of the question. It is a bit sinister actually as it implies that it might be okay to feed your cat blueberry muffins.

Catster have merged with Excited Cats because both websites were in trouble. A merger is a sure sign. Excited Cats is the junior partner. I suspect that Excited Cats was bust and they approached Catster to buy them and they sold cheaply.

The Catster hardcopy magazine has closed. The point is that if Catster is going to publish articles on whether it is safe for domestic cats to eat blueberry muffins and they need vets to tell them the answer, they are still in trouble.

The trouble I mean is that they have run out of content. They have nothing more to say. It has all been said and now they are down to discussing a diet of blueberry muffins for a pet cat. It is called low hanging fruit – excuse the pun.

Catster went through the low hanging fruit years ago. They are now at the top of the tree where there are blueberry muffins. I know what the problem is with both Excited Cats and Catster but I am not going to disclose it here! I don’t want to help them.

But clearly their formula for running a cat website has failed in the long term although Excited Cats was much younger than Catster before it folded. Excited Cats relied on making a lot of money because they spent a lot of money in running their now defunct website. Catster are similar. When the overheads are high there is a lot of pressure on making money.

Any small drop off and you are in trouble. The heyday of cat websites has passed. It was much easier ten 15 and 10 years ago to have a successful cat website. There’s much more competition now and the general public have been well and truly educated about domestic cat behaviour and health. That’s good as it shows that the internet has had a hugely beneficial impact on cat caregiver knowledge which must mean that cat caregiving in 2023 is better than it was in 2008.

Well, let’s see how long Catster lasts now. Another article on their home page at the moment is “Can Cats Eat Carrot Cake? Vet-Approved Facts & FAQ“. Once again who in their right mind is going to feed their cat carrot cake? And don’t expect a cat to be interested in eating carrot cake. It won’t happen except in the rarest of instances. The question is stupid and pointless and you don’t need a veterinarian to tell you that simple fact.

RELATED: Domestic cats on vegan diets are healthier than those on meat-based diets?

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