This March, it was announced that e-mail newsletter DailyCandy would be shutting down. The news was greeted with a lot of disappointment from longtime fans who had looked to the email for over a decade to give them the lowdown on cool things to check out in food, fashion, entertainment and more. The newsletter had been active since 2000, and in 2008, founder Dany Levy began the hunt to look for a firm to buy her company. Comcast stepped up to the plate, scooping up the brand for $125 million just before Lehman Brothers fell and the recession began.
In a video interview with Inc., Levy says that the financial landscape quickly caused Comcast to change its tune about DailyCandy. It was enthusiastic at first, but soon began to scramble for ideas to make the newsletter more profitable. "I think Comcast felt as if they were sold a false bill of goods," Levy says. "Nobody knew the market was going to crash, so Comcast was like, WTF? These numbers are not gonna happen." It was then, she said, that they started to look to other e-business models like Gilt and Groupon to see which methods they could borrow in order to beef up the revenue DailyCandy was bringing in. "It became this desperate clamoring to find something that was going to make money, where you were getting potentially 8 emails a day. So, to be frank with you, I unsubscribed. I couldn't watch it."
"From my perspective, I watched them destroy a brand," Levy says, although she admits she understands why they nixed her company. "We were such a rounding error." By 2011 when Comcast had merged with NBCUniversal, DailyCandy seemed to be just a huge speck in an enormous company. "I get it. To them, in their mind, they tried. And they did try…I think what they didn't try is maintaining the integrity of the brand."
Levy does have a point, but structural changes are pretty much part and parcel of merging with a larger brand. DailyCandy was loved by millions, but perhaps it was a combination of Comcast's off-brand ideas and DailyCandy's dated email model that made the company take a turn for the worse. There are significantly more ways to share information, particularly with the advent of social media, that didn't really begin to pick up in a major way until after 2006. By the time the recession happened, Facebook and Twitter were all the rage–DailyCandy could have rebuilt its business model to really get the most use out of those platforms.
Watch Levy tell the saga of what happened to DailyCandy after the Comcast buyout in the video above.