The death of Dr Dobb’s

It seems that Dr Dobb’s has come to the end of its useful life – and is to be, in effect, placed in an online casket.

To be honest it is some time since I read it – I used to like the magazines as they were something that you could take out at any time and flick through – you just cannot do that with online media.

Like Byte before it Dr Dobbs was a magazine for those who had an interest in computing that stretched beyond what one operating system on one sort of computer could do. And like Byte before it, it seems it has been brought to its knees by the disruptive technology it for so long championed.

The statement about the “sunset” of Dr Dobb’s contains a warning for all those who say that publications should just face the facts and go online:

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. While some of this drop is undoubtedly due to turnover in our sales staff, even if the staff had been stable and executed perfectly, revenue would be much the same and future prospects would surely point to upcoming losses. 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.

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