HowStuffWorks, Inc.
Type of site
Educational website
Available inEnglish
Atlanta, Georgia
United States
Country of originUnited States
OwneriHeartMedia (podcasting)
System1 (website)[1][2]
Created byMarshall Brain Edit this at Wikidata
LaunchedJuly 11, 1998; 26 years ago (1998-07-11)[3]
Current statusActive

HowStuffWorks is an American commercial infotainment website founded by professor and author Marshall Brain, to provide its target audience an insight into the way many things work. The site uses various media to explain complex concepts, terminology, and mechanisms—including photographs, diagrams, videos, animations, and articles.

The website was acquired by Discovery Communications in 2007, but was sold to Blucora in 2014. The site has since expanded out into podcasting, focusing on factual topics. In December 2016, HowStuffWorks, LLC became a subsidiary of OpenMail, LLC,[4] later renamed System1.[5] In 2018, the podcast division of the company, which had been spun-off by System1 under the name Stuff Media, was acquired by iHeartMedia for $55 million.


In 1998, North Carolina State University instructor 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.[6] The headquarters moved from Cary, North Carolina, to Atlanta. 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.

On October 20, 2004,[7] was created, and HowStuffWorks moved its entertainment section over to the new website.[8] In 2005, the team disbanded Stuffo.[9]

The domain attracted at least 58 million visitors annually by 2008, according to a survey.[10]

There have been four HowStuffWorks books—two illustrated hardcover coffee table books, HowStuffWorks and More HowStuffWorks, and two un-illustrated paperbacks, How Much Does the Earth Weigh? and What If?. HowStuffWorks previously put out an educational magazine, 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.[11]

In 2005, HowStuffWorks became the exclusive online publisher for Publications International, Ltd., Consumer Guide and Mobil Travel Guide.[12] spun off its international division when it 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 São Paulo, Brazil.[13] The Portuguese name of the site is Como Tudo Funciona ("how everything works"). In June 2008, the Chinese site was launched with new headquarters in Beijing, China. The URL roughly translates to "Knowledge Information Web".[14]

On October 15, 2007, Discovery Communications announced it had bought HowStuffWorks for $250 million.[15] 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,[16] premiered in November 2008 and is similar in style and content to other "how it works" programs, like Modern Marvels.[17]

On November 2, 2009, HSW International co-founded Sharecare, developing a social QA platform through which users ask health and wellness-related questions, receiving answers from industry experts. Other co-founders in Sharecare include Jeff Arnold, Dr. Mehmet Oz, Harpo Productions, Discovery Communications, and Sony Pictures Television.[18]

On April 21, 2014, Discovery Communications announced that it had sold HowStuffWorks to Blucora for $45 million.[19] In July 2016, Blucora announced the sale of its Infospace business, including HowStuffWorks, to OpenMail for $45 million.[20] OpenMail was later renamed System1.[5]

In 2014, HowStuffWorks moved its headquarters from Buckhead to Ponce City Market, a new mixed-use development in the Old Fourth Ward neighborhood of Atlanta.[21] In June 2017, it announced the hiring of founder and former editor-in-chief Jack O'Brien for its new comedy podcasting division.[22]

In 2017, System1 spun off the podcast department of HowStuffWorks as Stuff Media, retaining the HowStuffWorks website. In September 2018, Stuff Media announced its sale to radio broadcaster iHeartMedia for $55 million.[23]


HowStuffWorks maintained a large number of podcasts, hosted by its staff writers and editors, but now all former HSW podcasts are owned and operated by iHeartRadio.

See also


  1. ^ "Content Writer, Ad Operations (Job Listing)". March 2019. Archived from the original on June 11, 2019. Retrieved June 11, 2019.
  2. ^ Previously called OpenMail.
  3. ^ "Whois Record for". DomainTools. Retrieved December 23, 2020.
  4. ^ HowStuffWorks, LLC: Private Company Information – Bloomberg
  5. ^ a b "System1 raises $270 million for 'consumer intent' advertising". L.A. Biz. Retrieved December 1, 2017.
  6. ^ HowStuffWorks sold to vulture fund BizJournals 2002-09-02.
  7. ^ "Whois Record for". DomainTools. Retrieved December 23, 2020.
  8. ^ "Stuffo: Movies, Games, Web, World Domination". Archived from the original on December 6, 2004. Retrieved December 23, 2020.
  9. ^ Coustan, Dave. "Stuffo (2004-2005)". Extraface. Retrieved December 23, 2020.
  10. ^ HowStuffWorks Archived April 6, 2009, at the Wayback Machine at
  11. ^ "Lidrock December 08". Optical Storage Technology. Retrieved December 23, 2020.
  12. ^ "NYC Receives Mobil Travel Award". NYC & Company. November 9, 2006. Retrieved December 23, 2020.
  13. ^ "HowStuffWorks - como tudo funciona". April 1, 2000. Archived from the original on September 5, 2008. Retrieved July 29, 2009.
  14. ^ "博闻网 知道就好!". April 1, 2000. Archived from the original on March 18, 2009. Retrieved July 29, 2009.
  15. ^ "Discovery Buys" by the Wall Street Journal
  16. ^ - "Precious Commodities" . - Discovery Channel Archived March 25, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  17. ^ Wasko, Janet and Calderon, Carlos. - "Modern Marvels: Celebrating How It Works". - University of Oregon. - May 7, 2008
  18. ^ "Dr. Mehmet Oz and Internet Entrepreneur, Jeff Arnold, Announce Sharecare Inc., a Web 3.0 Platform, Organizing and Answering the Questions of Health". Bloomberg. November 2, 2009. Retrieved April 2, 2011.
  19. ^ "Discovery Sells HowStuffWorks at 82% Loss After Seven Years". Bloomberg. April 21, 2014. Retrieved April 22, 2014.
  20. ^ "Blucora to sell InfoSpace business for $45 million". Seattle Times. July 5, 2016.
  21. ^ Sams, Douglas (October 28, 2014). "HowStuffWorks moves headquarters to Ponce City Market". Atlanta Business Chronicle.
  22. ^ "Cracked Founder Exits to Create Comedy Division at HowStuffWorks". Variety. 2017. Retrieved July 19, 2017.
  23. ^ Spangler, Todd (September 13, 2018). "iHeartMedia to Buy HowStuffWorks Podcasting Parent for $55 Million". Variety. Retrieved September 15, 2018.