wikiHow:History of eHow

EditThe Glory Days

eHow was founded in March 1999 with the ambitious goal of providing "clear, concise instructions for (just about) everything." During the peak of the dot com boom, the company raised close to $30 million from venture capitalists including Hummer Winblad, Media Technology Ventures, General Electric and Fingerhut. A great editing team, led by Bill Marken (former Editor in Chief for Sunset Magazine) and Sharon Beaulaurier, hired 200 top notch professional writers. In addition, the company hired a 25 person engineering team. Within two years, eHow created hundreds of thousands of accurate and helpful instructions used by millions of people. The excellent writing, combined with a TV and radio advertising campaign, briefly made eHow one of the Internet's top ten news and information websites. At the peak of its glory, the eHow founder and CEO appeared on the Oprah Winfrey show and released a best selling book called "How to Do (just about) Everything." But, unfortunately, the good times didn't last...


Despite its widespread popularity and success, eHow had yet to come anywhere close to profitability. When the dot com mania turned into the dot com collapse, eHow could not find more investors to fund its expenses and was forced to declare bankruptcy. In 2001, a company named IdeaExchange.com bought eHow out of bankruptcy with the hope of charging eHow's large base of loyal readers money to access how-to instructions. Yet, despite having $22 million of fresh funding to work with, eHow remained a stubbornly unprofitable business. In early 2004, IdeaExchange decided to cut their losses, sell eHow, and eventually stop operating entirely.


When it looked like the website might end up on the dead dot com scrap heap, long time eHow fans, Jack and Josh, bought eHow from IdeaExchange in March of 2004. To keep costs low, Jack and Josh kept working at their day jobs and labored over eHow through nights and weekends. Instead of the 25 person engineering team from 2000, they had just one part-time engineer, Travis. Together they dug through the Internet archive and tracked down old eHow employees to find content that had been lost during the bankruptcy. Slowly but steadily, they put that content back on the site. In addition, they gradually added improvements which made the site easier to use. With the goal of treating eHow readers the way they would like to be treated, they removed all ads with annoying flashing graphics as well as pop-up ads from the website. People liked the new eHow and responded by telling their friends about it. Since March 2004 eHow traffic has soared from 250,000 visitors per month to over 4 million visitors per month.

EditLaunch of wikiHow

Inspired by the magnificence of the Wikipedia, in January 2005, Jack founded wikiHow. Read the history of wikiHow

EditeHow Sold to Demand Media

On May 1, 2006, Jack and Josh sold eHow, but not wikiHow to a company called Demand Media. This transaction allowed wikiHow to become an independent wiki community free to make their its own decisions outside of eHow's constraints. eHow and wikiHow continue to link to one another, but otherwise have no significant ongoing connection.

EditDifferences Between eHow and wikiHow

There are some major differences of philosophy between the current incarnation of eHow and wikiHow. They are detailed at this page on wikiHow.

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