SourceForge Editor in Chief Discloses LNUX May Not be Profitable for Two Years
"...I work for a 100% online company -- http://sourceforge.com -- and we pull an okay profit from advertising + our ecommerce division ( http://thinkgeek.com ). Our ad revenues are up this year, and were up last year over the year before, too, so obviously money *can* be made delivering news over the Internet.
Now here's something funny for you: Even though we are "successful," our board of directors has consciously decided that we will *not* be profitable for the next few quarters, possibly for as long as the next two years. Rather, we're collectively and corporately working to provide new and better services to our readers/users AND to our advertisers. We're investing in our future, you might say, by expanding and improving. [Emphasis added]
We may even take a whack at local news -- or at least try a group of regional tech news sites, then let them become more granular geographically if it looks like our users would appreciate that -- and it looks like they can generate enough (and targeted enough) traffic to be profitable.
The main thing, though, is we're trying to make experimentation part of our corporate culture. We were getting a little crufty for a while. After having invented citizen journalism, what are now called "blogs," and the first ad-supported online free software development community, plus having built the world's leading (by a HUGE margin) source of Linux and open source news, we were getting a little complacent for a while, and many of our people, including me, were getting a little bored.
Culture. Of. Experimentation.
Say it again.
Reality = that *all* of our successes have come from comparatively low-level people in our company saying, "Hey! It would be cool if we..." and almost all of our failures have been top-down ideas based on market research or other MBA-style "metrics."
No one expects every one of our experiments to succeed. But what we do rationally expect is that enough of them *will* succeed to make the process of constant experimentation worth what it's costing us.
And, so you know, we are hiring. Across the board, from editorial to sales to engineering. But we are so under-the-radar in the world of traditional journalism that the people who are watching mainstream media companies self-destruct neither notice nor care what (successful) small, specialized online companies are doing -- or how we are doing it..."
Posted by: Robin 'Roblimo' Miller | June 28, 2008 at 06:26 PM source: The Feed Blogs.TampaBay.com http://blogs.tampabay.com/media/2008/06/placing-the-bla.html