Gigaom and The End of an Era

RIP Gigaom
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The news of Gigaom’s abrupt closure sent shockwaves through the tech world last week.

The widely–respected blog had been a prime pitch target for tech companies that wanted to generate meaningful stories about their businesses. Those of us in PR talked it about in the same breath as big players like TechCrunch, Re/Code and Venturebeat.

Not surprisingly, the Gigaom closure triggered an avalanche of online discussion from tech insiders and aficionados. It generated more than 10,000 tweets over a two day period, including from nearly all major media who also posted stories right away.

Generally, commenters expressed their respect for Gigaom and their sadness at its demise. Many, including ABC, TechCrunch, the Verge and Re/Code founder Kara Swisher, used the term “pioneering” to describe it.

Others immediately emphasized the financial reasons behind the closure. CNNMoney and Globe and Mail latched onto the site’s money woes. Some – like AdAge – ominously warned that this closure could be a harbinger of things to come for digital media generally.

Gigaom’s failure and the response to it raise questions for all of us in who operate in tech media. Since 2006, when Gigaom launched, the online media landscape has changed significantly. To Just Drive Media, this news represented an end of an era.

So how is our current era “new” exactly? There are now dozens – if not more — tech blogs all vying to break the same stories. Yet tech companies can easily bypass those bloggers (not to mention their predecessors in traditional media) altogether now, communicating directly with constituents through publishing platforms like Medium and LinkedIn that can deliver hundreds of thousands of eyeballs to their news. And new-kids-on-the-block media like Buzzfeed and Upworthy are stealing readers with their click-bait headlines and social-media-fueled viral approach to content distribution.

It’s a tough world out there when a 9-year-old outlet like Gigaom can realistically be labeled “old media.”

As for me, I’ll certainly miss Gigaom. It offered thoughtful stories on challenging topics. In the words of its founder Om Malik on the evening it shuttered: “good night sweetheart.”

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