When Demand Media floated earlier this week it started out at $17 a share, rocketed on first day trading to a high of $24, and even after falling back to trade around $22 last night its market cap of $1.8bn still makes it worth more than the New York Times. It's that "worth more than the New York Times" bit that evidently set journalists' teeth on edge - if the US paper of record is worth less than a five-year-old content farm, what hope for journalism?
It's neither surprising nor informative that journalists almost universally hate Demand Media and want it to fail. People who make a living from writing and take pride in crafting sentences are hardly disinterested observers of a content farm that treats articles like commodities and has driven down the price of an article to $15.
The good news for journalism is that there is no rational basis for believing that Demand Media is worth more than the New York Times. Looking at the numbers behind the IPO, Demand Media's almost $2bn valuation doesn't make an iota of sense.