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OPLIN 4cast #429: The tech blogging business

Posted in 4cast

typewriterWe read a lot of technology blogs every week, watching for things that might interest readers of this 4cast blog. Recently, a couple of the technology blogs themselves have become news, as ReadWrite was sold last month, and GigaOm announced last week that it was closing its business. Is this a trend? Possibly. The fact is, many mainstream news publishers now include a technology blog on their own websites, such as The New York Times’ Bits, the Wall Street Journal’s Digits, the Huffington Post’s HuffPost Tech, and any number of blogs associated with major local daily newspapers. It could be that we’re seeing the beginning of the end of the independent technology blog.

  • Gigaom shuts down in crowded tech media landscape (Wall Street Journal | Steven Perlberg)  “Gigaom’s fate had others in the digital media industry wondering if the event portended a larger ‘content shakeout,’ especially given that Say Media recently sold its own tech site ReadWrite. Executives in the media and venture capital worlds say it is quite difficult to be a self-sustaining site these days, considering the crowded tech media space. ‘When everybody from The Wall Street Journal to the New York Times to everybody else has doubled down on covering tech, what’s your value?’ said Rafat Ali, the CEO and founder of travel site Skift.”
  • Tech blog GigaOm abruptly shuts down (The New York Times | Ravi Somaiya)  “The site, long known for both its business and consumer-facing technology posts, had been open to experimentation in its business model. Like other media start-ups, Gigaom hosted a series of technology conferences that charged high prices for admission. The company offered a white-paper research business, and also sold advertising.”
  • Should we crowdfund ReadWrite? (ReadWrite | Owen Thomas)  “Our former publisher, Say Media, was prepared to shut us down if we hadn’t found a new owner. Wearable World is a good home for ReadWrite, and I’m energized by the conversations I have with our CEO, Redg Snodgrass, about our shared mission to democratize technology. Gigaom’s closure is a stark reminder, though, that the conventional advertising model, even when complemented by businesses like events and research, isn’t always enough to allow independent reporting about technology to thrive.”
  • Platishers, beware: Say Media gives up on publishing (Digiday | Lucia Moses)  “The latest pivot adds to the company’s already complicated story. It also serves as a warning to other digital natives like Vox Media, Business Insider and pretty much anyone with a custom CMS and a pile of VC cash that are trying to figure out how to be the media company of the future by marrying media and tech. It sounds good to say you’ll do both — and that’s probably what venture backers want to hear — but when it comes to execution, the demands of both businesses make a combination very difficult.”

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