There’s a life for LittleThings after Facebook’s algorithm change after all.
The women-focused digital publisher LittleThings abruptly shuttered in late February, following Facebook’s algorithm tweak that was designed to favor posts from friends and family over content from media companies.
But now the mobile gaming firm RockYou is buying LittleThings and reviving the brand. RockYou CEO Lisa Marino said that 25 of LittleThings’s former staff of nearly 100 people have signed on to revive the property, which focused on women’s lifestyle content, including cooking, parenting, and feel-good stories.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
When LittleThings pulled the plug, founder Joe Speiser told Business Insider that the algorithm tweak eliminated 75% of LittleThings’ organic traffic on Facebook. The news at the time sent a shudder through the media industry, as many braced for more publisher closures.
But Marino said that regardless of Facebook’s news feed priorities, LittleThings clearly had a devoted fan base that didn’t want the brand to die (a few had even sent in videos pleading for a comeback). She saw an opportunity to rebuild the publication without relying on Facebook.
RockYou, known for its long history of managing social and mobile games, may seem like an odd home for LittleThings. But the company has recently started building out a collection of publications aimed at a multicultural millennial audience, including Vocally.com.
And Marino actually sees a lot of parallels in publishing to mobile gaming, where RockYou has acquired and revived several titles that were thought to have passed their prime, such as the former Disney game “Gardens of Time.”
RockYou was able to pare down those games and run them more leanly, and that’s essentially the plan with LittleThings. “To me this is so much like gaming,” she told Business Insider. “I’ve done this before.”
She also has experience dealing with the ups and downs of Facebook’s algorithm. One social game she handled was pulling in $50 million a year. After Facebook deprioritized social games a few years ago, its revenue slid to $15 million.
“We just know you can’t rely on one platform,” she said.
As part of the deal, former LittleThings editor-in-chief Maia McCann has signed on to become RockYou’s Editor-in- Chief and will oversee multiple titles. In fact, Marino said more publication acquisitions were likely.
Another former LittleThings executive Matthew Mirman is also joining RockYou, as VP of Revenue Operations and Monetization Strategy.