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Busman's Holiday
Goodbye, MacTimes: You'll Be Missed
by Steve Wood
October 21, 1999



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I was taken aback this week when I read the MacObserver posting that the MacTimes News Network was up for sale on eBay. I guess I really shouldn't have been surprised, as a friend had told me that Publisher Jason Pierce had been ill and the site was pretty much inactive of late. While MacTimes never made the "A team" list of sites on MacSurfer, for a short while, there were a whole bunch of very talented folks writing for it. Readers flocked to MacTimes with hits increasing substantially each month. Some grand plans were spun before a series of problems with cash flow and paychecks, termination of a topnotch editor, and some general posting problems prompted many of the writers and channels to go their various ways.

On any given day at its height, you might see columns by Charles W. Moore, John Martellaro, Susan Howeter, John Kinsella, Dan Knight, Jonah Jones, Jason Pierce, Mark H. Delfs, Mark Hershenson, Timothy Reynolds, or myself. Major channels, or sub sites, included Low-End Mac with its own many channels, Mark Woods's Pure Mac Software, Rob ART Morgan's Bare Feats, MacWire direct posts by almost anyone and everyone, MacHound News Headlines, and MacState. Many of the channels still exist as independent sites or as part of other Mac networks. Many of the writers are still cranking out informative articles and commentary for other Macintosh news and opinion sites.

Such an aggregation of talent tends to be rather expensive and that is probably what did MacTimes in. The same folks who brought hordes of readers to the site began to leave in frustration last December, leaving the remaining site seriously weakened. Macintosh web sites seem to come and go with some regularity and it would appear that only the mega sites actually operate in the black. Ad revenue seems to keep many sites at a subsistence level, but never fulfilling the site proprietors' hopes of a paying proposition. This isn't surprising, as it's a lesson that applies to the entire web, not just Macintosh news sites.

At an opening bid of a cool hundred grand, I'm not sure there'll be any bidders for what is still a well known and regarded domain name. From the eBay posting:

"What you get... the mactimes.com domain. We are not selling the back archives, our receivables, payables, or any business interests over than the domain itself. We are however willing to provide access to back archives if you plan on continuing the site as a Macintosh resource. If this is the case we will also leave in place the various back end admin systems we have developed and implemented to make running the website easier."

MacTimes has in the past provided a daily source of intriguing Macintosh information. I'll miss the "old" MacTimes, as I'm sure many of you will.

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Reposted to the new MATH DITTOS 2 site 6/25/2000
©1999 Steven L. Wood