Wattpad Acquires, Closes Competing Author Site
Wattpad put the $46 million raised in their latest round of funding to good use last week.
PW reports that Wattpad has acquired a smaller rival writer site called Red Room for an undisclosed sum. In what could well be described as a whirlwind acquisition, Red Room informed members only last week that the site had been bought, and they turned off the servers today (no, seriously.)
Launched in 2008, Red Room was one of a number of sites intended to be a "Facebook for authors". The site was founded by Ivory Madison, a lawyer, entrepreneur, and author. The site grew out of Madison’s previous project, the Red Room Writing School. "One grew out of the other,"” Madison said in 2009. "I wanted something scalable that could serve more people than the school. And I wanted it to be about something I care about—writers and writing."
According to the press release, Madison notes that the acquisition will give Red Room authors access to the 30 million people that visit Wattpad each month. "When I launched Red Room in 2008 I wanted to break down the walls between readers and writers. I’m thrilled Red Room authors have found a new home in a friendly and supportive global community."
I am having trouble finding recent coverage of the site, probably due to the commonality of the name. We do know that the site had 20,000 members in 2009, and that it had raised around two and a half million dollars in capital. But what I have found in Google suggests that many members only learned of the deal last week.
I’ll be honest with you: I had never heard of it before. From what I found in the Wayback Machine at the Internet Archive, the Red Room was far more commercial than Wattpad, and included both a paid premium membership option and a bookstore. Wattpad, on the other hand, is still trying to find a way to fund operations.
Did you use Red Room? How did it compare to, say, Booklikes, Tumblr, or Wattpad?