Sell T-shirts? Gigaom Goes Out Of Business.

As we have recently noted, we are all pro-digital, it’s just some of us do the math, while others seem to believe in magic unicorns.

The digital news site Gigaom has spent the last several years scolding songwriters, musicians and the rest of the entertainment industry for its “antiquated” business models.   These complaints seemed to largely center around around what they regarded as a quaint notion: payment for content.

Not to spike the ball in the end zone, but I’m still in business and Gigaom is not. Maybe they should have sold T-shirts?

Well actually that is spiking the ball in the end zone.  But hey, they deserve it.  Just google “piracy” and “Gigaom” if you don’t believe me.

My bands have been web-enabled businesses since 1993 (Mosaic).  They’ve been web-based since 1999 (Napster).  Artists like myself know as much (if not more) about the digital economy than your average tech journalist. We’ve lived it for over 20 years.  Yet we are often portrayed as technophobes or luddites.  Or portrayed as too stupid to understand the “new economy” which doesn’t rely on revenues but is instead somehow powered by Magic Unicorn Dust™  and TED Talks™.   I can’t tell you how tired I am of hearing this bullshit from people who have never made a profit.

The New York Times has an uncharacteristically sloppy article which tries (and fails) to make the case that somehow Gigaom went out of business because they had 4 extra employees in the research division, and that it’s downfall isn’t a bad omen for other tech oriented news blogs.

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/19/technology/personaltech/digital-media-darlings-unfazed-by-the-fall-of-the-news-site-gigaom.html?_r=0

The New York Times may be right, however as a profitable tech entrepreneur, I really don’t see many tech blogs like Gigaom surviving without ongoing underwriting provided by silicon valley venture funds.   I could be wrong.  But just to be safe  I suggest that these blogs begin to transition to other revenue streams like merchandise and T-shirts.

( a reader noted this was relevant:  Here is a recent article from Gigaom chiding the NYTimes for taking so long to “get” digital.  They were out of business three weeks later.)

 

5 thoughts on “Sell T-shirts? Gigaom Goes Out Of Business.

  1. It is truly odd that the Times seems to side with the Magic Unicorn dust theory. They, like other news publications have been decimated by the digital economy, for many reasons. For one, search engines make more ad revenue taking you to news sites than news sites can actually collect once you are on the site, since they do not have the details of your interests that search engines do. And blogging sites and news aggregators make more money repeating the news than news organizations like the Times make since real news organizations have to pay for journalists and all the costs of news investigation.

    • It’s not that odd. The writer is a tech reporter whose been immersed in tech hype for his entire career. I don’t think one should expect anything different just because he is currently working at the Times instead of Wired.

  2. From the NYT article:
    “Others say that it may have paid off one day, if only its investors and creditors had given it a bit more patience and a lot more money.”

    Such a toxic mindset, and it’s all over tech and silicon valley: “we swear we can be profitable if you just give us a few decades and about a billion dollars.”

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