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Industry Standard: The Sequel

idg.jpgIn 1998 Patrick McGovern and John Battelle launched the Industry Standard as a news magazine covering Internet business.  They called it “the news magazine of the Internet economy.”  The audience grew along with the Internet industry and by 2000, with high volume ad sales, the publication had annual revenue north of $100m and staffing in the hundreds (450 by some accounts).  Then, as rapidly as they climbed, they fell.  Victim of the same bubble they were reporting on. The Industry Standard shut its door in August 2001.  Today, the magazine is being reborn; reinventing itself from a Web 1.0 publication to Web 2.0 social news website.

Now owned by IDG, operator of more than 300 magazines, the new Industry Standard doesn’t share much with it’s prior incarnation other than a brand name and an Internet focus.  This new version is an experiment in Web. 2.0 Social News.  Instead of breaking stories, the company is hoping to draw traffic with analysis and insight, much generated from 3rd party (e.g. not staff) contributions (some of which will be paid).

The sites other planned draw is something of a game.  Dubbed a “prediction market,” the company plans to give community members virtual cash to bet on different scenarios.  Will Yahoo defend against Microsoft’s Takeover?”  “Will Microsoft’s offer be accepted? …place your wager.

The game, the company hopes, will harness the wisdom of crowds to provide insight into consumer and market behavior.  They also hope it will be a hook to lure and retain audience traffic.  General manager Derek Butcher characterized it as “the page view driver.”   They’re betting people will want to participate. 

Internet technology news coverage is a crowded market.  From blogs like GigaOm to articles at the Wall Street Journal, there’s room for multiple outlets and unique voices.  There’s also opportunity for targeting different audiences but the looming question here is whether the new effort brings a formula that will help them stand out. 

Perhaps one of the first questions to ask their audience is what they think of the new Industry Standard.   If there’s wisdom in their crowd, let’s see what future the crowd forecasts for Industry Standard, the sequel.

[Note: Industry Standard briefly resurfaced in 2004 as a collection of blogs but this is the brands first real effort to reinvent itself since shuttering in 2001.]


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