Goodbye Gigaom

Twice a day, my wife or I take meals to her 93 year-old dad, if he doesn’t want to eat out for lunch. I sat with the gent in his apartment early this evening reading to him about the day in history when a Twitter notification from Harry McCracken caught my attention: “Stunned to hear that Gigaom is no more, but also confident that its excellent staff will find good gigs elsewhere”. Say what?

It’s true, and not a prank as I first suspected. A pioneering tech blog—one of the few credibly news reporting—has ceased “all operations”. What looked like a normal day of posting, and with higher output given the Apple Watch event, was anything but. Maybe the backstory will make sense of today’s closure. For surely an operation with news, research, and events doesn’t evaporate suddenly. The greater concern is resurrection as something less, with menial staff, and focus on posting for pageviews. 

I express such sentiment because of the notice posted announcing the closure:

A brief note on our company: Gigaom recently became unable to pay its creditors in full at this time. As a result, the company is working with its creditors that have rights to all of the company’s assets as their collateral. All operations have ceased. We do not know at this time what the lenders intend to do with the assets or if there will be any future operations using those assets. The company does not currently intend to file bankruptcy. We would like to take a moment and thank our readers and our community for supporting us all along. Gigaom management.

The possibility of future operations are possible, which the no-bankruptcy intentions could mean. All those incoming links are worth something to someone. They are an asset. According to $, domain, which is hosted with Automattic (e.g., appraises at $980,205. My point: The assets are much bigger than tangibles.

Whatever is the backstory or the remnants’ future, a great team of writers is disbanded. Funny thing, recently I had considered contacting Gigaom about contributing to the site. Few tech news blogs consistently command my respect, and I saw in the research arm a disruptive force that could upend the consulting business status quo that analyst firms like Gartner or IDC represent.

The first telling of Gigaom’s demise is the cost of quality journalism—that herein lies a morality tale for anyone trying to report responsibly when aggregation posts, rumors, and other forms of clickbaiting command pageviews and advertising revenue. But the final telling is about the backstory and whether or not mismanagement or something else contributed to the site’s ending “all operations”. I dunno.

For now, I mourn with my journalist colleagues and other daily Gigaom readers an unexpected end. There’s a hole in my RSS feeds that won’t easily fill. To the Gigaom Team, I wish Godspeed and safe travels to your new destinations. If you take your good reporting habits to many different blogs or news sites, great good can come to online journalism because of you. Let that be small, but meaningful, consolation.

Photo Credit: Gybsteria