Monday, February 04, 2008
SAN FRANCISCO —An icon of the dot-com era is making a comeback of sorts. The Industry Standard launched Monday in a new online-only format, with news and analysis on the Internet economy and a social networking twist.
The resurrection comes 10 years after the weekly's initial print launch in 1998. The magazine folded just three years later in the wake of massive layoffs in the dot-com sector and a precipitous fall in ad revenues.
At its height in 2000, the self-proclaimed "newsmagazine of the Internet economy" garnered revenues of $140 million and boasted more advertising pages than any other consumer magazine.
A year later, as the dot-com bubble burst around it, yearly revenue had dropped to $40 million. Despite a reputation of journalistic excellence and credibility, it closed its doors in August 2001.
At the time, the magazine's payroll still included 180 employees. It goes live Monday at http://www.thestandard.com with a staff of four, along with about 50 outside contributors and bloggers, some of whom worked for the original Standard, according to general manager Derek Butcher.
Advertising sales will be handled by the Industry Standard's parent company and sole investor, Boston-based International Data Group, a publisher of more than 300 magazines covering technology, digital entertainment and video games.
Aside from tech news, the San Francisco-based site will also feature a "prediction market" where users place virtual "bets" to forecast events in the industry, such as mergers, or how many of a certain gadget might sell by year's end.
For instance, when news breaks that Microsoft wants to acquire Yahoo, betters can begin voting on whether Yahoo will accept the deal.
Users will have profiles and be able to bet against a group of friends or the whole market.
Those with the best track records will accumulate the most net worth and be able to wager more virtual cash on their next bet, Butcher said.
Butcher said such "markets" are surprisingly accurate and widely used internally at a number of high-tech companies to gauge a product launch date or the price of a component part.
"With a market metaphor, you are enhancing or exaggerating the influence of the people with the most money or most knowledge," Butcher said. "The people who are betting correctly more often will have more money to bet with."
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