Jonathan Butler of the Brooklyn real estate blog Brownstoner and Kael Goodman of BlankSlate have been working together since 2010.
The business relationship started simply, Brownstoner partnering with BlankSlate to create a directory of home service providers such as contractors and architects. Only five years later, BlankSlate was handling all of Brownstoner’s advertising and content marketing business, in addition to having added robust features such as real estate listings to the site.
Over the last three years, one topic of conversation came up from time to time: Would Butler consider selling Brownstoner to BlankSlate?
Goodman eventually got his answer. As of this week, Brownstoner is now owned by BlankSlate.
Brownstoner, launched in 2004 to chronicle his home renovation, has occupied ten years of Jonathan Butler’s life. With over 42,000 posts under its belt, the site has served as a chronicle of Brooklyn’s explosion as one of America’s hottest real estate markets and cultural destinations.
The site has been featured numerous times in publications like The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The New Yorker and New York Magazine. It was honored in 2008 by the Historic Districts Council for its role in preservation. Since 2012, Brownstoner has also offered coverage and listings of the Upstate New York market, and in May 2013, Butler launched the sister site Brownstoner Queens to offer coverage of Queens real estate.
BlankSlate has been the driving force behind many of Brownstoner’s expansions over the years. The agency handled Brownstoner’s advertising and content marketing efforts, and revamped its website, its property listings, and Local Home Pros, a place where readers can compare home professionals from real estate agents to carpenters to architects. Even Brownstoner Queens started out as a BlankSlate site called QueensNYC, before BlankSlate sold it to Brownstoner.
But Goodman had other ideas about how Brownstoner could make the transition from Brooklyn’s leading real estate blog to a destination for anyone interested in living in Brooklyn or Queens, or for New Yorkers thinking of moving Upstate.
A little over a week ago, Butler and Goodman met up for a periodic check-in, and once again fell into discuss the possibility of Butler selling Brownstoner to BlankSlate. The next day they had a deal. A few days later, the documents were drafted and signed.
Many things about Brownstoner will remain the same. Brooklyn real estate, renovation, history, and culture. Brownstoner will stay true to its mission of being the go-to site for people obsessed with Brooklyn real estate, renovation, history and culture.
The new ownership, however, will be bringing some exciting changes to Brownstoner. You can expect to see more coverage of interior decoration, renovation, and living in Brooklyn. This acquisition will give Brownstoner the resources to expand and refine its editorial scope, and connect readers with each other, experts, and brands they care about.
“Brownstoner is the go-to site for the impassioned Brooklynite,” said Goodman. “The editors and their audience love Brooklyn. They love where it’s come from, and they love where it’s going. And this is exactly the type of person that a brand wants to address when they introduce themselves into the Brooklyn marketplace.”
As for Jonathan Butler, he is optimistic about the future for the site he founded.
“Starting Brownstoner in 2005,” said Butler, “I could not have imagined what an incredible community would coalesce around the site and all the exciting opportunities it would lead to for me personally. After ten years, though, it’s time for this old-school blogger to hand off the baton to a company that is perfectly positioned to make the most of the site in the current media environment. Meanwhile, I look forward to continuing to devote myself to my other businesses — Brooklyn Flea, Smorgasburg, Berg’n and 1000 Dean — watching with interest as Kael and his team execute upon their vision for Brownstoner.”