Tag Archives | Ziff Davis

Ziff-Davis: The Legendary Magazine Publisher Publishes Magazines No More

Popular AviationThis news has more to do with dead trees than electrons, but I can’t resist: Ziff Davis has announced that it’s selling its 1Up network of gaming sites to Hearst and shutting down Electronic Gaming Monthly magazine. Coming around six weeks after the company discontinued the print version of PC Magazine, the news leaves ZD with no paper-based publications at all.

Which is a big deal, since the 82-year-old publisher had as long, influential, and impressive a history of consumer publishing as any company on the planet. Among its titles over the years, other than EGM and PC Mag: Amazing Stories, Car and Driver, Computer Shopper, Creative Computing, MacUser, MacWeek, PC/Computing, PC Week, Popular Electronics, Popular Photography, Stereo Review, Yahoo Internet Life., and many others I’m not thinking of right now. Nobody published more successful mags read by more enthusiasts with a wider range of passions, or made more money doing so.

Ziff Davis remains in business and will be focusing its attention on the PCMag.com Web site network.  Given the state of print publishing and Ziff’s many years of decline as a print powerhouse, its departure from magazine publishing isn’t surprising–and might even be a good idea. It surely won’t be the last old-school magazine publisher that leaves magazines completely behind. But it’s still hard to get my head around the idea that nobody anywhere will read Ziff Davis magazines anymore.

(Necessary but superfluous disclaimer: I spent 18 years working at IDG, Ziff Davis’s principal rival in tech publishing–which is still successfully publishing magazines around the world.)


The Best of Frenemies


Frenemy: Someone who is both friend and enemy, a relationship that is both mutually beneficial or dependent while being competitive, fraught with risk and mistrust.

Urban Dictionary

That’s not a bad first stab at a definition, but let’s expand on it: A frenemy can be a friend who evolves into an enemy. Or an enemy who morphs into a friend. Or a friend who seems to be an enemy, or an enemy who seems to be a friend. Or someone who teeters precariously between friendship and enemyhood, sometimes over the course of decades. One thing, however, is undeniable about frenemies: The technology world has always been rife with them. Consider these twelve outstanding examples–past, present, and future.


PC Magazine: A Magazine No More

pcmagazinefirstThe world didn’t really need another piece of evidence to show that most folks like to get their information about technology online, but it got one today anyhow: Publisher Ziff Davis is ceasing print distribution of PC Magazine, the dominant computing publication for much of its 26-year existence. The issue with a January cover date will be the last one printed on dead trees, a victim of declining ad sales and increasing costs for paper and postage.

PCMag.com will live on and has a good chance of doing well for a long time. And in an interesting twist, Ziff will continue the Zinio version of PC Mag–a digital version that has the look and feel of the print edition, but which is available only in digital form. (I wish ’em luck with that experiment, but I suspect that this is an intermediate stage in the life of PC Mag, and it’ll go Web-only sooner rather than later.)

It’s impossible for me to contemplate this news in the absence of the fact that I spent almost fourteen years at PC Magazine‘s principal print and online rival, PC World. (Where I’m no longer an insider, but I wouldn’t be stunned if PC World existed in print even after PC Mag ceases Zinio distribution as well.) In the media world, it isn’t exactly fashionable to say you like print publishing, but here goes: As much as I love the Web, I’m a print fan, too. And I’m sorry to see the powerhouse I spent so many years competing with going away in its most famous form.

On the other hand, having spent so many years working on PC World in both print and Web versions, I know that it’s awfully hard to straddle two very different media and do justice to both of them. I suspect that PC Mag editor Lance Ulanoff and his staff are feeling liberated in some ways today–without print deadlines to worry about, they’ll have some opportunities to do some cool new stuff on their site.

I have more to say, but I’m dashing off for a meeting–in the meantime, here’s an article by PC Mag cofounder Cheryl Woodard on the origins of the publication (including its fascinating relationship to the founding of PC World).