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HowStuffWorks
HowStuffWorks logo.png
URL http://www.howstuffworks.com/
Slogan "It's good to know."
Commercial? Yes
Type of site How-to website
Registration None
Available language(s) English
Owner Discovery Communications
Created by Marshall Brain
Launched 1998
Revenue Advertising
Current status Active

HowStuffWorks is a commercial edutainment website that was founded by Marshall Brain with the goal of giving its target audience an insight into the way in which many things work. The site uses various media in its effort to explain complex concepts, terminology and mechanisms, including photographs, diagrams, videos and animations, and articles written in language that is designed to be easy enough to be understood by the average layperson. A documentary television series with the same name also premiered in November 2008 on the Discovery Channel.

Contents

History

In 1998, former North Carolina State University professor Marshall Brain started the site as a hobby. In 1999, Brain raised venture capital and formed HowStuffWorks, Inc. In March 2002, HowStuffWorks was sold to the Convex Group, an Atlanta-based investment and media company founded by Jeff Arnold, founder and former chief executive officer (CEO) of WebMD.[1] The headquarters moved from Cary, North Carolina to Atlanta, Georgia. HowStuffWorks originally focused on science and machines, ranging from submarines to common household gadgets and appliances. After adding a staff of writers, artists, and editors, content expanded to a larger array of topics.

In November 2004, HowStuffWorks moved its entertainment section to Stuffo.[2] However, in 2006, the team disbanded and the site now redirects visitors to the site's entertainment channel.[citation needed]

The domain HowStuffWorks.com attracted at least 58 million visitors annually by 2008, according to a Compete.com survey.[3]

There have been four HowStuffWorks books – two illustrated hardcover coffee table books called HowStuffWorks and More HowStuffWorks, and two un-illustrated paperbacks called How Much Does the Earth Weigh? and What If?. HowStuffWorks puts out an educational magazine called "HowStuffWorks Express" for middle school students. The company has also released a series of HowStuffWorks trivia "LidRock" discs – CD-ROMs sold on fountain drink lids at Regal Theaters.[citation needed]

Howstuffworks recently acquired Mobil Travel Guide and Consumer Guide.[citation needed]

Howstuffworks.com spun off its international division when they went public (Nasdaq:HSWI) via an acquisition of INTAC, a China based company. In March 2007, HSW International launched its Portuguese website with headquarters in Sao Paulo, Brazil.[4] The Portuguese term for the site is Como Tudo Funciona, which means "how everything works". In June 2008, the Chinese site was launched with headquarters in Beijing, China. The URL roughly translates to "Knowledge Information Web."[5]

On October 15, 2007, Discovery Communications announced it had bought HowStuffWorks for US$250 million.[6] The company later chose to use the name HowStuffWorks as the title of a television series on its Discovery Channel. The series, which focuses on commodities,[7] premiered in November 2008 and is similar in style and content to other "how it works" programs like Modern Marvels.[8]

Podcasts

HowStuffWorks has created multiple podcasts hosted by its staff writers and editors. The podcasts are listed below.

Stuff You Should Know is a podcast about random events or afflictions that are interesting or need to know information that is co-hosted by senior staff writers Josh Clark and Charles "Chuck" Bryant. In older episodes, co-hosts other than Bryant joined Clark, editors Candace Keener and Chris Pollette. The podcast falls under the category of "Society and Culture." It was granted recognition as one of iTunes' Best of 2008 podcasts.

Stuff You Missed in History Class is a podcast about important historical events originally hosted by editor Candace Keener. She is joined by co-hosts Josh Clark (older episodes), Jane McGrath (newer episodes), and Katie Lambert (newest episodes). In August 2009, Candace left the show and Katie was joined by editor Sarah Dowdey. The original title of the podcast was Fact or Fiction? History Stuff for the History Buff.

Tech Stuff is dedicated to demystifying technology and discussing its impact on society and is hosted by technology editor Chris Pollette and senior staff writer Jonathan Strickland.

Brainstuff is hosted by site founder Marshall Brain and deals with natural sciences.

Stuff From the B-Side was originally hosted by senior staff writer Charles "Chuck" Bryant and staff writer John Fuller and deals with music. Later episodes feature Mark Larson taking Charles Bryant's place as host.

High Speed Stuff is a podcast dealing with automotive topics and is hosted by editor Scott Benjamin and video writer Ben Bowlin.

"Stuff Mom Never Told You" is a podcast dealing with philosophy and health and is hosted by staff writers Molly Edmonds and Cristen Conger.

Stuff of Genius is a short video format podcast that focuses on an inventor or innovator (i.e., genius) for each episode. The video features humorous animation with a voice over provided by HowStuffWorks.com founder Marshall Brain.

The Coolest Stuff on the Planet is a video podcast that highlights a specific location and features geographic-specific facts and trivia.

Stuff They Don't Want You To Know is a newly released video podcast that focuses on conspiracy theories and the evidence and arguments behind them.

Stuff From the Science Lab focuses on natural science. It is hosted by Robert Lamb, one of HSW's science writers, and Allison Loudermilk, a science editor.

Blogs

There are 10 blogs hosted by HSW at blogs.howstuffworks.com, 8 of which are extensions of one of HSW's podcasts.

Brainstuff by site founder Marshall Brain

Fanstuff by money editor Chanel Lee and site director Tracy V. Wilson

High Speed Stuff by auto editor Scott Benjamin

How-to Stuff by Stuff Mom Never Told You hosts Cristen Conger and Molly Edmonds

Keep Asking by site founder Marshall Brain

Stuff From the Science Lab by green editor Sarah Dowdey, staff writer Robert Lamb, and senior editor Allison Loudermilk

Stuff You Missed in History Class by senior editor Katie Lambert

Stuff You Should Know by senior writers Charles Bryant and Josh Clark

Techstuff by tech editor Chris Pollette and senior writer Jonathan Strickland

The Coolest Stuff on the Planet by adventure editor Amanda Arnold

See also

References

External links

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