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Davis ThinkingDavis Thinking } analysis and interpretation

Is the Web the Way to Go for Business 2.0?

Michele L. Parrish
Thursday, July 19, 2007


The more I learn about the potential death of Business 2.0 , the more confused I become.


Business 2.0 is the Time Inc. pub that focuses on start-up companies, emerging technologies, innovation and evolving trends.  Over the past year, advertising revenue has dropped 38 percent, a drop some employees at Time Inc. have attributed to the merging of the ad sales staff for all of the company’s business and finance publications including Fortune , Money , CNNMoney.com, Fortune Small Business and Business 2.0 . According to the NYT , sales representatives stopped pitching the niche appeal of Business 2.0 in favor of bigger names like Fortune.

So revenue from print advertising has drastically dropped.  Fine, I understand the economics of the situation.  What I don’t understand is why publication that writes about innovation in every issue would be so hard pressed to think innovatively.

While Time Inc. sits and whines about the fact that nobody wants to advertise on their print pages, hundreds of tech bloggers are out there earning ad dollars on their highly niche sites. According to Rafat Ali , editor and publisher of online media tracker PaidContent.org, "If Cisco has to spend, I don't know, a couple of million dollars on a trade campaign, they are not spending it with Red Herring or Business 2.0 .” Rather, they are spending in on blogs who cover the sector.

Not to mention, advertising on blogs costs less and blogs require less resources.  There is no overhead to maintain, no printing presses, less writers and even fewer editors.

A question that I frequently ponder in relation to the death of newspapers, and now with this talk of Business 2.0 going under, is why these publications don’t take their operations completely online.  Perhaps that is why I am also interested to see what Rupert Murdoch's plans are for the Wall Street Journal .

I’m not saying that I think all publications should be based solely online.  Most people I know enjoy holding a print publication in their hands every now and then.  I personally enjoy perusing the photos in National Geographic .  Plus, if print went away completely, what would we look at in waiting rooms at the doctor’s office?  Surely, we don’t want to stare at each other.

Faced with the impending death of a print magazine, however, why not take it completely online?  While bloggers have taken over the highly specialized categories, there are still people like me out there who enjoy reading, well, non-highly specialized articles on technology.  And I would much rather read about technology while using technology. Business 2.0 isn’t exactly something I curl up with on the couch.

So what do you think?  Will print publications really be around 20 years from now anyway?  Is the Web the way to go for Business 2.0 ?


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