The blogosphere exploded today at the news that .net magazine, the publication that many of us began our careers reading, has pulled the plug on its online offering.
The print magazine will continue to publish, but netmagazine.com is no more.
From now on, much of .net's news will be published via Creativebloq.com, a site just a year old (and owned by the publishers of .net, Computer Arts and 3D World).
Established in 1994, .net has been running online since 2010 and it's unclear exactly what has prompted this move. We know that a variety of newspapers have declared online publishing unviable and moved their content behind paywalls. Whilst we have no way of confirming, it seems highly likely that .net was losing paper sales to its online offering.
Whether .net can be successful in its new home remains to be seen. And it seems strange, given their relative brand values, that creativebloq should absorb .net, rather than the other way around.
According to .net's twitter account, it was simply no longer viable to keep running:
Reality check: @netmag is run by 5 people and @creativebloq has 6. We are moving over as much as we can, but also do print, digital, confs..
500 .net articles have been transplanted to their new home, but that is less than 5% of the articles netmagazine.com was previously hosting.
So what does this mean? Well, for readers, you'll no longer have access to 95% of the archive of .net articles; for anyone who has ever linked to a .net article, your link is now broken, unless you were linking to one of the lucky 5%; and for anyone who ever wrote for .net, your article is probably gone — hopefully you kept a print copy.
The ultimate irony is that in the end, a magazine that has spent twenty years devoted to the web, was unable to make it work.
Do magazine's have a place online or is print best? Will .net prosper, or fade away? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.