Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Farewell, Dr. Dobb’s

Andrew Binstock, enearly six years after the end of the print edition:

This year, our website will deliver almost 10.3 million page views, which is an unprecedented number for Dr. Dobb’s. It’s up from 9 million last year and 8 million three years ago. That kind of growth is somewhat unusual for a site that has not changed its look or its mission, nor indulged in tawdry tricks like click-bait headlines or slideshows promising 9 quick tips for choosing a coding style. The numbers confirm that there is a deep thirst in the programmer community for long-form technical content featuring algorithms and code, as well as strong demand for explanations of new developer technologies and reliable reviews of books and tools.

If I were so inclined, this might be the right time for me to move on, and so leave, as they say in sports, “at the top of my game.” And indeed I will be leaving Dr. Dobb’s at the end of the year. But it would be more accurate to say that it is Dr. Dobb’s that is leaving: Our parent company, United Business Media (UBM), has decided to sunset Dr. Dobb’s. “Sunset” sounds like a marketing euphemism to avoid saying “closing down,” but in this context, it has a specific meaning that “closing” does not convey. That is, that there will be no new content after year end; however, all current content will be accessible and links to existing Dr. Dobb’s articles will continue to work correctly. It is the equivalent of a product coming to end of life. It still runs, but no new features will be added.

Michael Swaine:

I never gave up on #DDJ. Just started doing the same thing under a different banner.

Matt Rosoff:

Brutal times for tech trade publications. 10.3m pageviews/year not enough to keep Dr Dobbs alive.

On the other hand, one-man operation Daring Fireball gets 4–5 million page views per month, so it’s totally believable that less than 1 million per month would not be enough to fund a whole magazine.

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