The Foundation for National Progress, which publishes Mother Jones magazine, announced today that it will spin off its hugely popular online publication, the MoJo Wire, and take it public on the NASDAQ stock exchange.
“What could be more logical for a keystone of public-interest media than to literally go public?” said executive producer Jack Blinsky in a statement issued this morning.
Sources close to the deal say the upside on motherjones.com is nearly limitless. It has a stellar, six-year track record with the business model that has proved successful for most Internet-based businesses: virtual profits.
“We are a non-profit,” said Cora Perrat Celowt, the MoJo Wire’s business development manager. “We have always been a non-profit. We will continue our dedication to not turning a profit as long as Wall Street continues to embrace the model.”
The site’s current revenue model has proven popular on Wall Street for cyber-ventures. Just as Netscape “gave away” its core product — the Navigator browser — as a loss leader, the MoJo Wire gives away its core product — something it calls “investigative journalism,” better known as “content.”
The product is useful to the public, and keeps them coming back for more, becoming loyal customers for life, according to a spokesman from W.R. Grace, one of the underwriters of the proposed IPO. Other underwriters include GM, Ford, Exxon, and Charles Keating.
“We’ve been burning capital since before Jeff Bezos could read a 10K,” said one MoJo Wire employee, on condition of anonymity. “The MoJo Wire has long been the industry standard for profit potential.”
Plans are in the works for an ecommerce adjunct to tap into the underserved progressive activist market. The site will offer everything from gas masks for WTO-style protests, to gallon jugs of organic wheat paste, to reusable “Free ____” buttons with changeable stick-ons reading “Mumia,” “Peltier,” and “Trade Sucks.”
“We want to make smashing the state easy and fun for our readers, and lucrative for us,” said Celowt. “Hey hey, ho ho, our market share has got to grow!”
“You can’t beat an online venture grounded in a brand like Mother Jones which has an immense positive public image,” said Blinsky. “Mother Jones has been building its brand for nearly a quarter century. Consumer confidence is off the charts on this one.”
The date for the IPO and the initial offering price have not yet been set. Analysts from Hambricht & Quest estimate the offering could bring upwards of $17 gajillion.