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Interesting move from Dow Jones: it is extending its “D” franchise from an annual conference to allthingsd.com, a full-fledged ad-supported website with D co-founders Kara Swisher and Walt Mossberg as executive editors. The site is not active yet, but will launch in March. Swisher is leaving the WSJ, where she covered tech booms and busts since 1997; she’ll be an independent contractor producing the new site. She will write its flagship blog, and run the site day-to-day. Think Boom Town but more so — the name could even be the same as her WSJ column. Mossberg is staying on staff at the WSJ and will continue his current workload. He’ll do some videocasts and expects to write shorter pieces but won’t commit to a daily blog of his own. “I’m not sure how much more of me the world wants,” he explained. The new site will include a
three-year two-year rchive of his columns, currently limited to a 90-day free window at his outside-the-wall personal tech site.
As is the case with the D conference, Dow Jones owns the site but Swisher and Mossberg will be compensated for producing the site. The two thought about doing it independently but wanted to use the brand they had already established instead of starting from scratch.
In separate interviews, Swisher and Mossberg each emphasized the distinctions between All Things D and the Online Journal although the conference has a subtitle of “the Wall Street Journal Executive Conference.” Mossberg: “It’s a journalistic property of Dow Jones. There already is a ‘D’ brand that is not the Wall Street Journal brand, not the Barrons’ brand or Dow Jones brand … It’s an extension of a brand.” Unlike WSJ.com, which is primarily subscription only with some free content, All Things D is nothing but net. Swisher doesn’t even plan to link to anything that’s subscription only: “We will never link to a page you can’t get to.” Some more details about what is sure to be a high-profile launch:
— The site will have its own editorial staff and its own business manager. The staff will work for Shut Up and Listen, LLC, Swisher and Mossberg’s new production company.
— The Journal will sell the advertising, as already happens for the successful conference.
— They report to Gordon Crovitz, president of the Consumer Media Group and WSJ publisher, (hard to imagine this happening before the re-org) and Paul Steiger, managing editor, WSJ, and VP-DJ.
— Swisher won’t shy away from breaking news but says the primary focus will be on “context, relevance, analysis.” Features will include a daily tech summary with some video, possibly audio; video with the two of them and others; lots of linking to what others are doing.
— The plan calls for guest bloggers who, Swisher hopes, will produce something a little “Huffington Post-y.”
Why another tech site? A variation of that question came up when they launched D, said Swisher. There were a lot of tech conferences then but she and Mossberg saw an opportunity to create something that could stand out and be profitable. Can they do it again? They certainly have the backing.