Is Parler, Kanye's Next Business Venture, Even Worth Anything?

Kanye West attending the Givenchy Spring/Summer 2023 show as part of Paris Fashion Week on October 01, 2022 in Paris, France.
Kanye West attending the Givenchy Spring/Summer 2023 show as part of Paris Fashion Week on October 01, 2022 in Paris, France.
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The very first thing Parler, the Candace Owens’ husband-owned haven for hate speech, did after announcing that Kanye West plans to buy it was send an email about its plans to a few hundred of the platform’s most important users and associates. It makes sense for any company to reach out to key users and the like before a sale, but Parler couldn’t manage to get even that part right: it CC’d all rather than blind-copying the personal email addresses of hundreds of verified users and other VIPs, including investors, on the note.

Of course the inevitable happened, with the few people who actually use Parler on a daily basis taking advantage of their newfound access to the likes of Ivanka Trump.

What all of this really reveals is how odd it is that Parler is the thing that ‘Ye wants to buy. It’s unclear how much he’s supposed to pay because financial details of a deal weren’t disclosed. (For that matter, it’s actually not clear whether there’s anything in place solidifying the deal beyond Parler’s announcement and botched emails from yesterday).

But the site can’t be worth much. Unlike Twitter, which has an estimated 400 million users—and Elon Musk would tell you that number is far less if you eliminate fake accounts—Parler had fewer than 150,000 unique visitors to the platform in August. The company said in September that it had raised a total of $56 million in capital and bought a California-based cloud data company—the latter of which it needed to get around being blocked from larger hosting services over the hateful nature of much of its content.

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In other words, whatever ‘Ye might be paying for Parler, unless he’s buying at a steep discount (which any existing investors wouldn’t likely allow), it’s probably not a great investment. If the idea is to grow the platform toward profitability, the site’s zero-sum approach to free speech which allows its few users to peddle hate would have to be scrapped before it could attract any real advertising dollars.

If he just wants the platform to reassure himself that he’ll always have a place to say whatever he wants, then it makes sense. But he will have to be okay with the idea that if Parler’s his megaphone, the number of people who’ll hear him every time he opens his mouth will have just gotten a whole lot smaller.