Ghost Sites of the Web

Web 1.0 history, forgotten web celebrities, old web sites, commentary, and news by Steve Baldwin. Published erratically since 1996.

July 21, 2007

More Ghosts of Y2K

New York Times Closes Real Estate Blog
Y2K hysteria continues to live on the Web. Check out this ancient site from, located at

Weirdly, the site asks for authentication before it lets the user in. Hmm - maybe that damned computer bug just went into hiding, and will soon spring forth from's servers, ending civilization as we know it.

Lots of good moldy stuff on this site, even a link to a book by Ed Yourdon (remember him), "Time Bomb 2000."

For more on Y2K ghosts, go here.

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July 17, 2007

Business 2.0 May Soon Die

Business 2.0 May Soon DieAccording to a story in today's New York Times, tech biz magazine Business 2.0 is on the verge of closure. Ad revenue is down sharply, and the blame is being laid on Time Inc., which consolidated its sales force recently, giving Business 2.0 short shrift.

This is all very sad. Unlike many print magazines, Business 2.0 took the Web seriously, and its site sports a number of frequently updated Blogs which do a good job of covering biz tech. Unfortunately, these little jewels are buried deep within an overcrowded CNN/Money/Business 2.0 site which, like the long-dead Pathfinder, does its best to hide the good stuff beyond a wall.

Business 2.0's Blogs could probably generate good ad revenue for Business 2.0 if they were better monetized (right now, the banner running appears to be untargeted RON (Run of Network) ads booked through, a Time-Warner subsidiary). Why not target text ads specifically to Business 2.0's content?

I used to work for Business 2.0's editor, Josh Quittner, and he's a very smart guy who understands that you can have a great idea, execute it well, and still get it all smushed up by clueless suits. Let's hope that he's able to spin off the online assets of Business 2.0 and get them away from Time Inc's corporate bureaucrats, who can't produce anything but grief.

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June 20, 2007

Time Magazine Editor to Staff Writers: Write Online or Go Home

An article on summarizes the earnest efforts of Time Magazine Managing Editor Richard Stengel to induce his reluctant, pre-Web staff of writers to write online, and I got a nostalgic chuckle out of it. Way back when I worked for Time Inc., our division was one of a handful of entities in Time Inc's vast fleet of publications that was serving up content daily on the Web, and we were regarded as low-end-of-the-totem-pole geeks by Time's "real" writers, who wrote their copy at a leisurely pace, went home at 5:00 PM, and got very drunk each Friday when the liquor cart appeared on schedule.

We Web geeks, confined to an area of the Time-Life Building that had recently been vacated by Security, worked 12 hour days, earned less, got less respect, and were ultimately terminated when our division was shut down after it was denigrated by Don Logan as a "black hole."

Good luck, Mr. Stengel: you're going to need it. Writing content for this medium is more like operating a chattering Telex machine in a noisy newsroom than it is composing and endlessly rewriting golden sentences, lovingly massaged to blandness, in a well-carpeted skyscraper. Web writers write dispatches, not polished articles. We write for an invisible, often ungrateful audience. We're used to being dissed by "real writers" and aren't even granted proper press credentials.

We're a tough bunch that writes fast, and while we may not always get it right the first time, we know there are no truckloads of paper to recall when we make a mistake. For us, writing is organic and iterative, not a process that etches words in stone or lead. Some people hate the fact that we can do this, and the tone of your memo suggests that you've got your share of such Luddites working for you right now.

I hope that many of your old guard will adapt to this medium, which was new 10 years ago when I worked for Time Inc., but is now the mainstream. And I hope that those who can't or won't will be thrown out the window, just as we were tossed 10 years ago.

The only difference will be that they'll have Golden Parachutes, whereas we fell the full 37 flights flapping our arms in vain.

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