Ironically, Rich Skrenta from Topix (formerlly the founder of DMOZ/ODP) owns the domain name "rt.com" which I pursued unsuccessfully for many many years (it's not like he needs the money anymore). You wouldn't believe how many people can't spell "tomatoes". Despite not getting the domain name, we struck up a pretty good friendship and he provided me with some very valuable words of advice when we were in the middle of being acquired. His experience being acquired by Netscape and which was quickly thereafter sucked up by AOL/Time-Warner is similar to my experience being acquired by IGN and then sucked up by Fox Interactive Media. Without his words of advice (make sure that you have an escape hatch in case there's change of ownership), I'd probably be very unhappy right now?
-- Stephen Wang, in Startup Review
Fyi I found that para - honest - not because I was googling skrenta, it was for backlinks to rt.com. Heh. Missed it when it first came out. Btw Stephen doesn't credit Chris Tolles there but IIRC Tolles did a lot of the talking so maybe Stephen owes him a beer too. :)
But jeezus what a great seo post Stephen wrote, go read the whole thing. SEO was a big part of Rotten Tomatoes as you can imagine and it worked out great for them. I had originally met Stephen because he wanted to buy my domain name, which I wasn't really interested in selling. But I became fascinated with his startup and his personal tenacity as an entrepreneur. This was no quick flip for them, it took them years to build. These guys loved movies and slaved night and day on rotten tomatoes all through the dot com bust. It was a walk through the desert for them but eventually it paid off with a great exit to IGN.
I'll say also that they built a great site and I still use it to check out the read on a movie if I'm not up on the openings or want to delve in.
Stephen's got a new project now:
Four of us formerly from Rotten Tomatoes (including Patrick Lee and myself) have gathered together in Hong Kong and have recently launched a new online community of artists (filmmaker, musicians and more) initially targeting Asia (http://www.alivenotdead.com).