Riggs Eckelberry's OF INTEREST

Of Interest: The demise of ONLINE USER

The article which follows was forwarded to me by Gary Saxer.

This is the last gasp from ONLINE USER magazine.

The publisher says here that ONLINE USER's potential advertisers are promoting almost exclusively on the web, and they are investing in free information as the number one draw.

More evidence of the growing power of the online channel.


Strategically Speaking
In this space over the past 18 months I have written about many new trends and exciting changes affecting the world of electronic research. Now I must report that this issue of ONLINE USER will be the last--at least for now.

As you know, ONLINE USER has been free to qualified readers, and consequently the ads, not the subscriptions, pay the bills. Less than two years ago when we started ONLINE USER dozens of new products for the business online user were coming into the market. And early market research showed there was a shortage of ways to reach those users. We quickly built a large, qualified subscription list and the magazine became an excellent vehicle to market these products and services. As the business user became a primary target for many of our advertisers, we emerged with a highly qualified audience of 50,000 business information users.

Unfortunately, two key factors have challenged ONLINE USER--and are challenging advertisers as well:
1. Web Advertising: This development has played a major role in the marketing plans of many potential ONLINE USER advertisers. The web has emerged as a viable advertising medium offering cheap ways to reach target audiences, and we have found that many new companies have chosen web advertising and word-of-mouth as their sole marketing plan.

2. Free Information: Clearly, the business user is drawn to free information. Our editorial coverage of free information sites has often served as their only marketing. Relying on large hit counts and getting good response from ONLINE USER readers, these companies are not advertising in print. Instead they're investing in the free information that makes them competitive.
Simply put, we cannot continue to produce 50,000 print copies of ONLINE USER without an expanded source of revenue. As some of you know, we tested a conversion to a paid magazine. While the response was heartening by the usual benchmarks of conversion percentages, it was still not enough to overcome the shortfall in advertising income...

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