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Earlier this year I had written this post about the gadget magazine bubble. The reason – there were five titles or so in the works which catered to the whole connected lifestyles. Well some of them have finally started to come to market. Cargo, even at […]

Earlier this year I had written this post about the gadget magazine bubble. The reason – there were five titles or so in the works which catered to the whole connected lifestyles. Well some of them have finally started to come to market. Cargo, even at its best is a pale imitation and a rather boring take on Lucky. Last week, I spent a whopping $5 on Connected from Primedia, and my first impression – it is boring, too trade pub like, and lacks complete and utter imagination. After reading the first issue, which has one surprising story about the founder of Monster Cable, I can safely say, that it is actually outdated. There is no analysis, and of course little insight.

Which brings me to the big question: do we really need these magazines? From a reader’s perspective, I don’t think so. Connected Home is an early adopter market, and will remain so, for some time. (Reasons are in my original post!) If you took the RSS feeds from five blogs – PVRBlog, Gizmodo, Engadget, PaidContent and EHomeUpgrade - and aggregate them, I am fairly certain that you can easily put together a web-only publication. Add a few other sites like Russell Beattie’s blog, and Broadband Reports, you can get a fairly indepth look at various technologies, their impact and the new devices which are coming to market in real time. Analog pubs for the connected lifestyles are a truly pointless exercise. The early adopters need information now – now wait for a monthly publication to show up.

You get context, and you know that most of these people have no agenda, and are going to be brutally honest about everything. I find that experts in the blog world are and will continue to do a better job that many journeymen reporters. I understand the allure of the dead tree media – I work for one – but I think most convergence companies should be better off reaching their target audience through these specialized blog-pubs. In time when the connected home becomes a mass market phenomenon, then mags like Wired would take the lead. Take my advice – unless they send you a free subscription, don’t bother with these magazines.

By Om Malik
  1. I agree with Adam’s comment above. T3 is THE gadget magazine which has been around for a few years…not to mention many japanese mags (e.g. Mono) which has heads up from Akiba way faster than many blog sites do. What makes T3 so superior to many of the publications is that of entertainment value – it has humor and insightful comments (not all of them technically accurate, though) about the gadgets they introduce. Of course blogs are very nice to read on a daily basis, but during my weekend visit to the coffeeshop, magazines remain to be my major entertainment.

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  2. Adam Jeffery Sunday, June 6, 2004

    One of the best gadget magazines is the UK’s T3 which was one of the first pure gadget magazines. There was a US version for a while put the parent company had troubles, you can get the UK edition at most bookstores and normally has quite a bit of stuff not seen online.

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  3. I’m not sure of the point of this rant. If the point is that ‘Connected’ is a terrible magazine for ‘current’ gadget news, then I understand it. If the point is that blog aggregating outdoes magazines then I am not so sure. I am an early tech adopter but I recive 10-12 magazines because print media is still a pleasurable experience.

    Blogging is great for up-to-the minute editorialized content but bloggers rarely do in-depth issue research.

    I also think bloggers stroke each others ego a bit too much.

    Eloquent and Insightful writing is rare in the blogsphere and I think blog writers should consider content quality as much as freshness.

    Magazines are going to stick around until the difference between print media and online media is a flexible piece of plastic I can hold in my hand comfortable and read.

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  4. Excellent points all of you. T3 is a wonderful magazine because it has a point of view, is well written and insights. My quibble with Connected and others, well they are nothing more than trade press with little or no insight. I am trying to say is that you can pick up more insights from the blogs than from these so called magazines. Monster cable article, followed by Monster Cable Ads. Do the math chief.

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  5. ah, point taken. Good article, by the way – and I think your prediction about the fall of these mags will be spot on. BTW, one of the posters said that the mean income homeowners will buy the $3k flatpanels missed the fact that back when TV was introduced, it was the ONLY video equipment that was available for them – whereas these pricey flat displays are a replacement, and needs a little more reason than the cool factor to shell out a good amount of their monthly income.

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  6. Michael Corwin Sunday, June 6, 2004

    Well said – I think you left out a few things though. First, a monthly just isn’t enough. Forget that the info is stale by the time you read it – you usually spend 4-7 bucks to read the one article you’re actually interested in and to flip past a magazine half-full of ads!

    By the way, thank Gizmodo – you just won a new reader…

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  7. Michael, welcome to gigaom.com. I agree – it is criminal to pay $5 to read one article, if that. I agree with you whole heartedly about the staleness of the information by the time you get it.

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