The New York Times is buying The Wirecutter for more than $30 million

Peter Kafka
The New York Times building in New York City.
Adam Jeffery | CNBC

The New York Times is buying The Wirecutter, a five-year-old online consumer guide.

The Times will pay more than $30 million, including retention bonuses and other payouts, for the startup, according to people familiar with the transaction.

Brian Lam, a former editor at Gawker Media's Gizmodo, founded The Wirecutter in 2011, and has self-funded the company's growth.

The Wirecutter provides recommendations for electronics and other gadgets that are both obsessively researched and simply presented. The Wirecutter also owns The Sweethome, which takes the same approach for home appliances and other gear.

Both sites make their money via affiliate links, which generate revenue when consumers click on them and make purchases via e-commerce sites like Amazon.

Digital publishers have become increasingly interested in that approach, as digital advertising revenue becomes more difficult to find. The Times itself saw digital ad dollars drop 7 percent last quarter, citing "declines in traditional web display" ads.

I've asked both Lam and the Times for comment.

I spoke with Lam about the founding of The Wirecutter on Recode Media in June:

By Peter Kafka,

Disclosure: CNBC's parent NBCUniversal is an investor in Recode's parent Vox, and the companies have a content-sharing arrangement.