Deceased technology blog Gigaom rose from the dead to deliver a final message: It has been acquired by a little-known entity called the Knowingly Corp and will be relaunching this August.
Gigaom is far from the first publication to be revived. Publications as far-ranging as Cracked and Newsweek have been able to make a comeback after falling into obsolescence. Others have come back only to exist in some weird limbo.
There’s no word on what the new Gigaom will look like or if it will offer the same kind of content as before, and clues are scant.
Knowingly incorporated last year with a mission to create “numerous different products in a variety of categories” based on “the tsunami of new technologies” that have popped up over the years. Like anyone operating in consumer technology, Knowingly is interested in mobile technology, the cloud, and crowdsourcing.
Perhaps more confusing are the disconnected properties that the company is already operating. One is iforetold.com, a site that lets people make predictions about the future. The second is Correctica, a tool that scans websites looking for spelling errors.
Knowingly’s CEO and founder Byron Reese is the former chief innovation officer for Demand Media, a company that runs a series of content farms like Cracked.com and eHow. Might Reese have similar intentions for Gigaom? All he’ll say is this:
“We live at what I believe is the great turning point of all of human history, and that is being driven in large part by the technologies we are creating. This new world we are making will not just be more prosperous, but it will be more fair and more just than any time in the past … Gigaom will continue documenting this transformation and the technologies which are driving it.”
What will become of Gigaom? Your guess is as good as ours. History shows that most publications that die and come back don’t fare well. Take a look at these six publications that suffered a similar fate:
1) Red Herring
Red Herring was a technology business publication founded in 1993; it’s also where Om Malik got his start as a reporter. The company foundered during the dot-com blow-up in the early 2000s, and in 2003 the publication shut down. Red Herring relaunched a year later only to cease print publication in 2007. It continued as a digital publication until 2011. Today, the site exists as something of a ghost town; it still publishes new content, but it’s unclear whether anyone is reading it.
Cracked was a monthly humor magazine founded in the late 1950s, very similar to Mad Magazine. In 1999 Globe Communications, Cracked’s parent company, sold to American Media. Most of Cracked’s staff left during the acquisition. Subsequently, Cracked itself changed hands multiple times, ultimately landing at Demand Media in 2007. Today Cracked no longer has a magazine, but lives on in digital form as an aggregator of viral content — not just humor.
3) Electronic Gaming Monthly
Electronic Gaming Monthly was a video game magazine first published in 1989 by Sendai Publishing. In 1996, Ziff-Davis bought Sendai and continued publishing the magazine, which at its peak had over half a million subscribers. But Ziff-Davis had a difficult time managing its debt, filing for bankruptcy in 2008. The company was also suffering from the rise of online publishing, and things came to a head in 2009 when EGM published its final issue.
That should have been it for EGM, but its founding publisher decided to buy the magazine and restore it. In 2010, EGM was relaunched as a print and web publication. Today, it seems the print publication has halted, but the website is still running. I don’t have any metrics on how well the company is surviving, but if its Facebook Page is any indication, it doesn’t look good.
Silicon Valley gossip rag Valleywag originally launched in 2006 under Gawker Media. The website shut down five years later, because it wasn’t driving enough traffic to cover costs.
However, Valleywag came back just two years later under a new editor, Sam Biddle. But in late 2014, Valleywag took another turn. Gawker announced that Biddle would be moving to Gawker Media proper and Valleywag would be headed up by Dan Lyons, a former editor at Forbes, Newsweek, and ReadWrite (and the mastermind behind Fake Steve Jobs). However, six weeks into the new gig, Lyons left to pursue a recently landed book deal.
The future of Valleywag is uncertain, but it’s had a good run.
Newsweek was first published in 1933 and sold to the Washington Post Company in 1961. Decades later, after the onset of online publishing, Newsweek’s subscription base was declining — fast. In 2010, audio equipment mogul Sidney Harman purchased Newsweek for a dollar.
Harman then entered into a partnership with online media company IAC merging Newsweek and news site The Daily Beast into the Newsweek Daily Beast Company. In 2012, Newsweek discontinued its print subscription and went online-only, but it was still losing money. In 2012, IAC sold Newsweek to IBT Media (known mostly as a content farm), which endeavored to revive the print publication.
Now relaunched, Newsweek is monthly magazine with both a print and online publication that has generated solid and occasionally controversial national stories for a general audience. A year after the purchase, the publication was reportedly profitable with 200,000 subscribers and 2 million monthly viewers to its website.
6) The New Republic
Founded in 1914, The New Republic has long stood as a quality publication devoted to discussing progressive ideas on social woes and culture. After nearly a century, the publication was bought by a young multimillionaire named Chris Hughes. In its centennial year, Hughes decided to move the publication headquarters from Washington, D.C. to New York and reduce the number of issues it printed every year; going forward the focus would be on creating digital media.That same year, TNR’s long-standing editor-in-chief Franklin Foer resigned, and as a result many of TNR’s staff quit.
It’s still early days for the new New Republic, but many are skeptical that the publication will be able to retain the same quality it once possessed.
Did we forget one? Add other publications that died and came back to life in the comments below.