Upworthy sells out to Buzzfeed. MindBodyGreen bought by Huffington Post. Now, elephant sells to… {April Fools’ edition}

Via elephant journal
on Apr 1, 2011
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waylon lewis elephant journal

Rupert Murdoch’s NewsCorp acquires Elephant Journal for millions—thanks to you.

Big news! With thanks to you all! It’s been a good run.

Elephant to merge with Gawker: after a long week of talks that ended in a “bidding war” between Buzzfeed, News Corp and Huff Post (which was also interested in acquiring Upworthy), elephant has agreed to partner with Huffington Post.

With a sale price reported at $42 million—a valuation Buzzfeed based on elephant’s incredible readership, not its anemic monetization—Waylon Lewis, founder, is set to

“take an overdue breather on a beach somewhere. Down the line, I hope to run for political office. That said, I have mixed feelings about this partnership—I’d hoped to remain independent and increase our quality and further our mission, to be of benefit to a wonderful but confused world in need.”

Billing itself as the world’s largest mindfulness web site, with a readership nearly equal to that of Huffington Post just four years ago, (when it sold to AOL for $84 million), elephant journal distinguished itself (in a bold move) from rival MindBodyGreen by pushing sex and relationships instead of smoothie and juicing recipes.

Note: I’ve asked for a stipulation in our agreement of sale: if elephant reaches 80,000 free newsletter subscribers (we’re at 45,000, now) by April 10th, I have the right to cancel our agreement with MindBodyGreen and continue to grow elephant’s mindful, independent journalism.

Subscribe, free, here if so inspired—ask your friends to do so? Go, community!

If elephant comes close but fails, Huff Post will be inheriting a stronger community. Either way, it’s a win-win for Buzzfeed.

Arianna Huffington : “we needed juicing and smoothies, so I acquired MindBodyGreen. But I also wanted woman-authored lascivious sex and top 10 relationship articles—so we went to the ‘mindfulness’ experts over at elephant.”

Elephant Founder Waylon Lewis explains his final meeting with Arianna:


Waylon Lewis square headshot

Letter from the founder:

Big News. This year, our 13th, will be my last with elephant. ~ Waylon Lewis

It’s with mixed feelings that I share this news.

Last June, elephant journal turned 12 years old.

In 2002 we started off as a little, local yoga magazine (Yoga in the Rockies), went regional, then national, where elephant magazine sold in Whole Foods, pharmacies, bookstores etc. for $4.99. But though we were printed on eco paper (New Leaf, generally) distributing a magazine nationally is eco-inefficient—your average magazine sells maybe 3 out of 10 copies. And so, 2.5 years ago, I resolved to start all over again, taking elephant online 100%. It’s been a tough ride: I lost my colleagues, my office, my house went into foreclosure…and I got old fast. But it’s been an adventure, I’ve learned a lot, and elephant has grown steadily—now to 17.7 million readers a month, and growing more every a month. We’ve been voted #1 #green on twitter twice, and have a Facebook presence more popular than some news orgs with 100x our staff.

But all things come to an end—or should I say, things change. This year, our 13th, will be my last with elephant. I’ve decided to partner with Yoga Journal—whose parent, Active Interest Media, is based in Boulder (so I won’t even have to move). I will continue to head up elephant as it merges with yogajournal.com, and will serve as YJ’s associate web editor and social media consultant. I’ll also do some video for them, for you fans of Walk the Talk Show.

elephant journal yoga journal sell out

I’m selling because, frankly, I’m tired of being broke. I’d like to travel for the first time in my life, continue on my Buddhist path (start by doing a long overdue meditation retreat) and eventually start a family.

Assuming that our readers might be a bit nonplussed, I’ve insisted on a stipulation in our agreement of sale: if elephant reaches 80,000 free newsletter subscribers by April 11th, I have the right to cancel our agreement and continue to nurture elephant’s unique brand of independent, mindful journalism. If we achieve this goal, that will likely mean we’re fully sustainable, and can afford to hire an additional editor to help improve the overall quality of our editorial.

YJ’s generously agreed to this unusual caveat partly because if elephant comes close but fails, they’ll be inheriting a stronger community. Either way, it’s a win-win.

The sale price and terms are, by law, public: click here for more information.

With thanks to all of you (especially those able to criticize or argue respectfully)—

Yours in Vision of Enlightened Society,
Happy April Fools’ Day!
~Waylon Lewis

Waylon Lewis
editor-in-chief, host
elephantjournal.com, Walk the Talk Show with Waylon Lewis

Connect: Facebook (1000,000 fans) or twitter (100K followers on various channels, named #1 in US for Green in 2010)

You can subscribe to elephant here.



About elephant journal

elephant journal is dedicated to "bringing together those working (and playing) to create enlightened society." We're about anything that helps us to live a good life that's also good for others, and our planet. >>> Founded as a print magazine in 2002, we went national in 2005 and then (because mainstream magazine distribution is wildly inefficient from an eco-responsible point of view) transitioned online in 2009. >>> elephant's been named to 30 top new media lists, and was voted #1 in the US on twitter's Shorty Awards for #green content...two years running. >>> Get involved: > Subscribe to our free Best of the Week e-newsletter. > Follow us on Twitter Fan us on Facebook. > Write: send article or query. > Advertise. > Pay for what you read, help indie journalism survive and thrive.


51 Responses to “Upworthy sells out to Buzzfeed. MindBodyGreen bought by Huffington Post. Now, elephant sells to… {April Fools’ edition}”

  1. yoga freedom says:

    Wow, that is big news! Surely we can round up 40,000 fans…!!!

  2. Ha! You trickster, Way.

  3. Ben_Ralston says:

    [email protected] You totally had me til I saw Duff's comment and realized the date. Fcuker 🙂

  4. Antoinette says:

    You had me too. Read this in the middle of my yoga practice (I know, I know) and in my spinal twist it hit me how it makes no sense. Then I realized what day it us. Nevertheless if that’s the amount of likes you need to enjoy this life and enrich it I will do what I can to help! Thanks for foolin’ me!

  5. I totally hate you. Here i am enjoying my nice cup of warm tea, getting ready to start the day with an elephant, and you do this. Almost dropped my cup on my keyboard. If that had happened, I would be sending you the bill for a new computer. April Fools my ass! Y must you toy with my emotions on this lovely Friday.


  6. yoga freedom says:

    OK, I am an April fool! (I blame grief… see also: On emptiness, grief and the unconditional love of a dog.

  7. Colin says:

    hahah…great! i totally forgot it was April 1st!

  8. Good one! I was completely taken in. Now just to prepare for what my kids have planned for today. Gotta luv April Fools!

  9. Brittnee Henry says:

    Wow. I was totally taken in by this…Now I need some deep breathing and a drink.

  10. elephantjournal says:

    Deborah Boe Does this mean Elephant Journal ceases to exist and gets swallowed up by Yoga Journal?

    Justin Simon not if you recommend to all your friends to add/like it…did u see if they get 400.000 or more they'll stay in business?

    Coco Loco Yeah unfortunately looks like it. Am pretty disappointed that he is selling out to those lot! Especially after his rant about Huffington Post, this just smacks in the face of being a bit jealous of the cash!

    Heart Yoga That's a bit unfair 🙁

    Devyani Sadalkar It's great to be a fool :))

    Anita RodriguezdeDiaz AH! GOT ME!

  11. elephantjournal says:

    #From a friend:

    Wow, I just got your email about merging with Yoga Journal… No wonder you were so on my mind! I imagine that must have been a really difficult decision, but I want you to know–for what it's worth–that I think it's the right decision. I think life will get a little easier and happier…

    Much love, L

  12. elephantjournal says:

    #From a friend:


    I just read the announcement. As a fellow small business owner I really get where you're coming from. I love the Elephant and I know you will watch out for her in whatever form she takes in the future. I'm sure that it was a hard decision to make, but without knowing all the details, I hope you increase the fan base to just under the goal- so you can take a healthy readership over to YJ and still have time for that meditation retreat (that neither of us have had time or money for!). I'll count on you to fill me in on the experience though 🙂


  13. marylee says:

    .. april fools…I hope!

  14. elephantjournal says:

    #From a friend:

    Good Luck Waylon in whatever new adventures the Universe brings You, Namaste

  15. elephantjournal says:

    From a friend:

    it was a great run – I'll miss EJ.

  16. elephantjournal says:

    Just got your post on Elephant about the deal with YJ. Good for you, dude! You have earned it, and it sounds like a great fit, I really like the AIM people that I know.

    This should free you up from the administrative stuff and hustling and let your creative and journalistic juices flow.

    Keep it real, I know you will,

    M & K

  17. elephantjournal says:

    Click the final link for details, Marylee. ~ Waylon

  18. elephantjournal says:

    Congratulations on your new journey!
    Hello Mr Lewis and congratulations on your new collaboration with Yoga Journal and all that will be unfolding! Happy trails!
    ~ A

  19. sordog1 says:

    This sounds alot like when Waylon Jennings said he had to sell a million records by a certain date or the Lord would "call him home." Or when Oral Roberts said…. well you get the idea 😉

  20. BigHappyDay says:


  21. drbinder says:

    I was just thinking to myself "man I haven't had one april fools all day. I guess the follwoing line should have given it away.

    "I’m selling because, frankly, I’m tired of being broke. I’d like to… continue on my Buddhist path" No conflict there at all! LOL


  22. ohhhh my god i thought this was real. goes to show you should click on all links!

  23. […] of you will have seen the April Fool’s joke concerning Yoga Journal, that was posted earlier this morning. These are the tactics of a desperate man, and this is no […]

  24. LizBrown says:


  25. […] replay key and listened again—same message, and no recognition of any tone to suggest a wayward April Fool’s prank from one of my slightly twisted friends who think they’re funny. This was the real deal. And […]

  26. ArmyHippieChick says:

    Ooooooh, I really dislike April Fool's Day.

  27. Carl says:

    You'd be the biggest fool

  28. vickipozzebon says:

    Well played, Waylon. Well. Played.

  29. ehassman says:

    I guess I didn't read anything on elej on 4/1 last year or the year before, because I just saw this in the daily email and IT TOTALLY GOT ME. Oh man. So gullible!

  30. Marybeth says:

    That was a good one!!! The best one since the Taco Liberty bell one in the 90's!! Well done!!

  31. Kim says:

    Sh**t!! OK I’m teaching in Cancun this week, reading your post and thinking ‘good for you’ (sob, sob!) and sucks for us then realize we’d been punked!! (Ha, ha!). This is WHY we love you!!

  32. Doug says:

    I don't get got….until today. Nice.

  33. phil says:

    I stopped breathing for a minute. Long live Elephant!!

  34. Donovan says:

    You need to get right with Jesus.

  35. susie lawing says:

    thanks for your journal
    I have enjoyed it the last few months since I found it and I like the way you send me video leads.
    You are on the leading edge, have fun riding the wave of magic becoming visible.

    I completely understand you business "cries"…I too ended up in the office…instead of the farm.
    I make olive oil here in N California and am looking for someone to take over too.
    I want to be on the farm! I also run a retreat center and have been into metaphysics for 40 years.
    Know any "want a be" farmers who can do internet sales? Life is bliss. Thanks for existing.
    Peace 4oliveus, Susie see http://www.masteringalchemy.com and bentinhomassaro.com XXOO

  36. jb eaves says:

    Waylon….I found you and happened upon the Elephant because someone now so very special to me knew what one very special one of mine chose and her passion led her …there like it is suppose to but more I may be one of the far fans but you can be sure I was here because if YOU !! Thank you for being the ‘way’ because you have it all you had and passion get’s one who knows it enough to make sure no other purpose could more valuable than to know what one lives to love to do and be !! Thank you and for all the right behind doing it best IS the elephant walked way …..like one would know!!
    Take those insults critics and all the naysayers as a complete compliment!!! Dare the standard be imposed normally !!

  37. Sonjia says:

    Wow. Waylon and staff, you have done a tremendous job. I cannot tell you how much I have enjoyed reading elephant and knowing that there are other people out there dealing with all kinds of issues with grace, humor and intelligence. You have helped me enormously through a divorce, relocation and returning to graduate school. THANK YOU< THANK YOU for all your work over the years!!!!!!!!!

  38. Sarvasmarana says:

    April Fools!

  39. lsharabi says:

    sounds great on all fronts! happy aruba-cizing!

  40. lsharabi says:

    i retract my comment. april fooled!

  41. Shital says:

    OHHHH MY GOD!!! totally got the goosebumps… i sure as hope you do earn millions soon though!! hahahhah

  42. Andrea says:

    Oh my goodness … I was about to start enquiring about a refund – not NewsCorp.
    You got me

  43. Kristin says:

    GAH!! I was ALMOST devastated… Regrouping, breathing, and so relieved! It’s a perfect opportunity to say a quick, Thank you! This last year has been a most difficult one for me, and I have found Elephant, to be a “first aide kit”, of sorts… Would have been lost without you! From the bottom of my heart, thanks. 🙂

  44. Linda H says:

    as soon as I opened the link I thought, “this better be an April Fool’s joke”.

    Good one!

  45. Tanya says:

    Damn! You alllmmmmost got me. Thankfully, it was all a bad dream… onward Elephant.

  46. Deb M says:

    First that was harsh!! and Second, really?!?! You’ve used that one since 2011?…..get a new move! lol

    On the other hand, that does add to the humor, good on ya!

  47. Babsylee says:

    Phew! That was close. Got pretty skeert there for a moment. This is my Zen Moment of every day! Please keep up the good (no, great) vibes.

  48. Suzanne Williams says:

    ahhh totaly got me! My jaw was on the floor – newscorp!!!

  49. Samara says:

    Too funny!!! Luv you WAY! Happy April Fools. Luv the link at the end!!