In something of a coup for small business portal AllBusiness.com, the company landed Peter Horan as its new CEO. Horan was the CEO of About.com until it was acquired for US$410 million by the NY Times.
Horan will bring instant credibility to the site, which has been around, and through various owners since 1999.
I was one of the original editors at AllBusiness before it was sold to NBCi, which subsequently sold it to a B2B auction site called BigVine, which subsequently went under (old URLs never die, they're just bought by someone else for pennies on the dollar).
Horan relieves Richard Harroch, who was the founder of the site in 1999 and whose Small Business Kit for Dummies formed the core of content that launched AllBusiness. Harroch was a lawyer and partner Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe in San Francisco and is now a partner in VantagePoint Venture Partners.
The site was founded as a content site for entrepreneurs and small business and as a channel for larger entities, service providers and brands to sell to SMEs. The problem was the site was ahead of its time (as were many back then). There weren't enough SMEs who yet cared about the Internet to make the site truly viable. All that's changed now.
Smartly, Harroch bought back the URL and other assets (for not much I'm sure) from BigVine and with money from his new firm VantagePoint has relaunced the site with the help of original marketing VP Michael Mimeles (who understands the vision and has lots of history with the company).
The site is doing some interesting things with blogs/community, SME services and content distribution (with Yahoo!, About.com and the San Francisco Chronicle newspaper, among others). AllBusiness is providing a lot of the content for Yahoo!'s new merchant solutions content resource center.
AllBusiness will be one to watch as a channel into the SME market and as a general hub and resource for SMEs. The community aspects are especially interesting to me and could help make the site a very vital and persistent SME destination.
As opposed to the early days when I was with the company, and the market wasn't ready, it may well be that the stars have finally aligned.