From the Editor: When Will a Harry McCracken Invade Your Space?
The Guest Column in this issue should not be taken lightly. Harry McCracken, former editor-in-chief of PC World, writes about his experiences launching Technologizer.com. He left a venerable publication with a huge staff and significant company resources to launch a technology Web site with himself as the only employee. In January, McCracken wrote on his Web site that Technologizer “got 1.7 million page views from 345,000 unique visitors in the past month.”
His message in his Publishing Executive column: “Thinking small can be very powerful.” But perhaps an even bigger takeway from it: Being small enables you to be nimble, a must in today’s consumer marketplace.
Publishers of all sizes need to heed this advice. Obviously, large publishers can’t change their size, but they can—and should—apply the lesson to their structure.
I am saddened by the knowledge that this message will fall on many deaf ears—deaf to the calls of the new media world in which we live.
There are even publishing monoliths out there who are suffering from this debilitating deafness. I recently spoke with an editor-in-chief at one of the world’s most revered magazine brands and was shocked to learn that that enviable publication faced the same hurdles to developing its Web site—and monetizing it—that so many other publishers face. This publication’s Web site has more than 1 million visitors monthly. But the inflexible corporate structure has not bent, shifted or even swayed ever-so-slightly to give the Web site the support it needs, nor the staff the autonomy and resources it needs to maximize it. Worst of all is the fact that there is no one to sell ads on the site—the sales staff is not incentivized to do it. Commission on a print ad is so much more substantial. Today, when publishing revenues are plummeting and the very future of many companies is in question, to think of the revenue lost by wasting this opportunity is tragic.