From Guy English’s “Fireballed” article from the first issue of Marco Arment’s new project, The Magazine:
So, here we are. Marco’s New Thing. It’s something old and something new.
It’s old in that it follows a very traditional incentive model for authors: they get paid. It’s new in that it offers writers a way of making money off their work without the pressures of either the Page View model or the Fireball Format.
How Did You Hear About The Magazine?
Guy is right, The Magazine offers a new way for writers to make money off their work and it provides an alternative to the types of posts that usually come out of the current page view model, but is it a viable concept without the Fireball Format? While some likely found out about The Magazine through Marco’s official announcement, most of us heard about it through a link of one kind or another.
And For The Two Of You Who Haven’t Heard About It…
The Magazine is an impressive project, a simplification of what a magazine can be on a tablet. It surprised us all by giving a reason to dust off our Newsstand folders (most of the publication’s audience hid it in a folder on some distant page on our iPhone or iPad over a year ago), it builds on the work Aaron Mahnke has done with Read & Trust to encourage long-form articles from geeky writers and it has the potential to help shape the way traditional magazines approach their mobile strategy.
But Here Are The Questions I Can’t Stop Thinking About…
Would this project have been able to get the traction it did without a combination of linked list posts, traditional posts with little more than a call-to-action to check out The Magazine, as well as tweets directing people right to it? While this certainly isn’t something new, just how important have linkblogs and sites like them become to new product launches, both within and beyond the geek community?
There’s been a lot of talk about the format, about the model, the content, the technology and about Marco, but I keep finding myself thinking about the launch and the speed at which short posts drove customers to a long-form project. There’s no doubt Marco’s cachet and the reputation of Instapaper alone make The Magazine something worth checking out, it’s also clear that Marco was in a unique position to bring this project to life but the impact of being Fireballed by the entirety of the geek web was staggering (or at least it felt that way).
Is It Really Old or New?
Guy suggests that The Magazine alleviates some of the pressures of the Fireball Format, but it mostly does so by building on top of it. When you really look at how the product launched, isn’t one just an extension of the other?
So I guess what I’m really asking is this: is The Magazine the only success story here or is it also the latest example of the growing importance of the linkblog economy?
This post includes affiliate links, because I’m shameless and because I think you’ll like the things I’m linking to.
Update: This post has been updated to reflect the unique position that Marco was in to make The Magazine a reality. The change is based on a this back and forth with Marcelo Somers.