The Critical 'I'

Read. React. Repeat.

Friday, February 14, 2003

SO LONG SALON
big s
The dot-com bomb may come late, but it seems to come no matter what. At least for some. It looks like Salon.com will be the next casualty. An inability to pay the rent--literally!--is a pretty good sign that the end is damn near.

Frankly, Salon's problem stems directly from a pretty myopic vision by its management. This is pretty ironic, considering how forward-thinking and visionary all those Internet prophets claimed to be during their heyday. The simple truth is, Salon stubbornly stuck to a business model that depended wholly on the Internet advertising market, even well past the time when it was obvious that this market was not going to be mature enough soon enough to sustain an otherwise free publication. Instead of taking the IPO money and putting it into other operations that could generate some real revenue, like Amazon.com and even Yahoo! did, management decided to stand pat. And now, the result is this.

One possibility to branch out, which was long-rumored, was to launch a print version of Salon. Despite the questionable wisdom of sinking a ton of money into a magazine start-up, I really wish they had done this. I think this would have been quite successful, as there was an established audience to mine for subscriptions. Ad dollars would have been easy to come by (at least in the early going). That's all academic now, I guess.

It's too bad. I've enjoyed Salon, although it's never been a must-read for me. They did some good work, though, and had a great style. It'll be fondlly missed.