Viability of Web Publishing
March 21, 1998 compiled
by Dean Hall
Slate dropped its readership from 100
000 surfers to 20 000 subscribers. Word is
dead. Do these events have any significance on the future of web publishing?
"... people like us -
arty bohemians and people who wanted to be arty bohemians ... underachieving
subgeniuses who smoked too much pot and took too much acid in high school,
and were now on Prozac." - Word Editor Marisa Bowe on Word's
target market (Wired
"... something has indeed
died: the dream of many early Web zine publishers that they could use the
new medium to create ultra-hip, underground-style publications -- and then
use those ventures to make tons of money." - Salon's Scott
Rosenburg on the death of content.
"[ it is ] now
pointless to link to Slate articles... The web has become [to Slate]
a physical distribution network rather than a social environment."
- Salon's Scott
Rosenburg on the significance of Slate's subscription fee.
"... notions of success
are derived from a technology cycle that is a most inappropriate framework
for looking at the success of a magazine," she says, pointing out that
magazines on paper don't typically get out of the red for three to five
years." - Feed's Stephanie
Symie in Wired News on tech investors unreasonable expectations for
"What we learned is that
while each [of
the major web brands] relies on some combination of banner ads, subscriptions,
and sponsorships to generate revenues, none of them really knows which,
if any, of these variables will push them into the black. " - The Red
Herring on the unpredictability of predicting future profits.