The 'Trade Press' and blogs

September 2, 2005

Anyone who's read online tech magazines for very long knows that by and large, the 'trade press' is pretty wretched. Bad articles abound; good ones are rare. (Periodically Slashdot will rise in righteous indignation over a particularly egregious example.)

Yet the field survives, and has no problem getting people to write more articles for them. How? Follow the money.

Most of the free trade press exists to sell things: it sells reader eyeballs to advertisers, and it sells exposure to its authors.

The money doesn't really care about good writing; cheap will do. If you're still reading, it was good enough.

Online tech magazines have, from some angles, a fair resemblance to blogs. The main difference is that blogs generally aren't selling reader eyeballs (yet). I'm sure that any wide reader of tech blogs can name a few that seem to exist mainly as a way for their authors to promote themselves.

(Mind you, there's nothing really new under the sun. For years, people have been churning out slick, ultimately superficial management advice books whose main purpose in life was to draw customers to their consulting firm.)

Me? I'm here to get better at writing, and maybe for the thrill of pontificating in pseudo-public. (Don't discount this sort of motive, for all of my cynicism; people are social creatures, and there's lots of experimental evidence that we like to fly our flags in public.)

Written on 02 September 2005.
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Last modified: Fri Sep 2 04:25:33 2005
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