Dr. Dobb's Journal closing after 38 years

December 17, 2014 | 12:17

Tags: #advertising #closure #publishing #revenue #software-development

Companies: #united-business-media

Dr. Dobb's, one of the longest-running software development publications, is to close its doors amid a precipitous decline in advertising revenue for its website.

Launched by in 1975, Dr. Dobb's Journal was the first regularly-published periodical for the burgeoning software development community. Although earlier publications existed, they largely concentrated on hardware where Dr. Dobb's - originally titled 'Dr. Dobb's Journal of Tiny BASIC Calisthenics [sic] & Orthodontia' before being renamed 'Dr. Dobb's Journal of Computer Calisthenics & Orthodontia' - concentrated purely on software and its development. Its print run ended in 2009, and was reborn as a digital magazine in 2011 along with its long-running website.

Sadly, Dr. Dobb's is no more. In an article by editor Andrew Binstock, the magazine and site have been formally retired by publisher United Business Media. '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,' Binstock explained. '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.

'Why would a well-known site, dearly loved by its readers and coming off a year of record page views, be sunset by its owner? In one word, revenue. Four years ago, when I came to Dr. Dobb's, we had healthy profits and revenue, almost all of it from advertising. Despite our excellent growth on the editorial side, our revenue declined such that today it's barely 30% of what it was when I started. This is because in the last 18 months, there has been a marked shift in how vendors value website advertising. They've come to realize that website ads tend to be less effective than they once were. Given that I've never bought a single item by clicking on an ad on a website, this conclusion seems correct in the small.

The site's existing content will continue to be accessible at DrDobbs.com for the foreseeable future.
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