Thursday, October 26, 2023

Chowhound's Back (aka "Hound of the Dead")

Chowhound is experiencing another rebirth/makeover (this time, much more of a zombie reanimation) under its fourth owner since I sold it in 2004.

I heard about this development via the Tweet below, which gets enough facts I know wrong that I don't fully trust it for facts I don't know - e.g. this whole new development. And I know nothing. Just heard about it this afternoon.

In a just world I’d have been given a courtesy call ahead of this move, but capitalism shows no respect to founders. I fully understood that when I sold the thing, so there's no sense in griping.

Despite the tweet, it doesn't look like they're offering any of the old forum messages (I'm not sure how they even could, without bringing on tons of moderators and finding some way to archive older info), which was pretty much all Chowhound was.

Rather, they're pumping the IP of the failed CHOW graft-on under a Chowhound banner, beefed up by their own team of "writers, editors, and recipe developers committed to editorial excellence" - said excellence exemplified by deep dives such as "Is It Safe To Rinse Meat Before You Cook It?" and "What Is Pink Lemonade, Exactly?" My theory is this stuff was originally rejected by The Onion as overly blatant satire. One of our old moderators - more jaded even than I - compares this to Fruit of the Loom buying Gucci.

I'll draw your attention to the About page, which actually provoked a brief blood pressure rise to my otherwise corpse-like and leathery cardiovascular system:

Hey, I've got JUST THE WORD to serve as a synonym for "food aficionados"! How about "chowhounds"? It's nowhere near as good as food nerds, obviously, but I assume refused to sell. And you did buy the name. Didja forget to use it? Like buying the rights to "Land Rover" and then inviting people to come check out our "Shmancy Upscale Jeeps"?

One last thing. Behold the new tagline:
"The Site for Food...". Elegant! The brainiac managers who've tossed the brand around for 20 years had expunged the tagline “For Those Who Live to Eat” as a first order of business. Can't have any personality or tonal momentum. I'm guessing this latest honed, perfected iteration is a search engine optimization ploy. Let Google and Bing know that this is: yup, a site for food.

What kind of site is this, food nerds? That's right! The site for food! Now, tell me more, please, about this "pink lemonade" witchcraft!

If you haven't read my hilarious and harrowing multi-part epic tale of the sale of, you're not really slogging. It starts here.


Ivan said...

It's just a name transplant.

Jim Leff said...


My prognosis is rejection, fwiw.

Mr Taster said...

When we see an article titled "the lowdown on asparagus pee", we'll know for certain they're just recycling the old CHOW content.

Jim Leff said...

OMG, I’d forgotten about that, LOL!

Jim Leff said...

Congrats on fishing that out of the Internet Archive.

I was so appalled by so many things post-2005 that I need to reminded that amid the ditz and dilution there were still wonderful discussions happening well into the 2010s.

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