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Salon Asks for Help 797

Posted by michael
from the alms-for-the-poor dept.
Henry V .009 writes "Salon.com is appealing to the community for help. They haven't been able to pay the rent since December. To date, they've lost about $80 million dollars. A cause of rejoicing for some. But their many readers are understandably sorry to see them in such desperate straits. Personally I hope they stick around, I think they are one of the best sources of independant journalism on the web--even if I happen to agree with less than 10% of what they have to say. I also think that it would be a shame for them to close now that they've finally created an advertising scheme that has a snowball's chance in hell of working on the web. I can actually recall some of the adverts I've seen on Salon--what other web site can you say that about? Salon says that if they get another 50,000 subscriptions (they currently have 50,000) they'll break even for the year." In the old role-playing game "Paranoia", there was a nice quote about what would happen when the player characters (who had never been outside of their enclosed city complex) made an attempt to swim in water over their heads: "delaying drowning".
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Salon Asks for Help

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  • by yakly (123022) on Sunday February 23, 2003 @05:12PM (#5366625)
    I think worthless executives and overpaid contractors have milked this one dry, better to let Salon die than to keep dumping money into this greed-surrounded cesspool.
    • Indeed. I'm afraid I have little sympathy for a company which has burned that much cold, hard cash -- maybe they shouldn't be asking the community for yet more cash to fuel the office heaters, but instead examining their revenue models.

      I mean, come on, it doesn't take $80M to run a server farm and pay a few journos...

      • by rkent (73434) <rkent@@@post...harvard...edu> on Monday February 24, 2003 @12:25AM (#5368584)
        I have little sympathy ... I mean, come on, it doesn't take $80M to run a server farm and pay a few journos...

        First of all, that $80M is the total they lost, ever. Of course it's a lot of money, but others did way WAY worse. Even amazon, who we regard as somewhat successful, was losing between 25%-125% of that amount per quarter until just 6 months ago*. And, as many others have pointed out, one of the reasons that they still have ongoing losses is the digs in downtown SF, with a lease negotiated in the halcyon days of the late 90s when it seemed like a good idea.

        What I don't understand is how everyone refuses to be understanding of the situation. We all know, times were good, now times are bad; why dance on Salon's grave before the body's even cold? Even if you disagree with its political slant, Salon has had tons of insightful articles by a wide array of interesting columnists, and they're flogging a business model we'd all love to see succeed: the pureplay online publication. Salon's a great thing caught in a bad place -- be careful wishing for them to fail spectacularly, because that implies lots of other imminent failures you may not like so much.

        That said, if the primary reason they're in such a tight spot is that horrible lease, then this is exactly the kind of situation that bankruptcy protection was designed for. I for one would LOVE to see Salon file for bankruptcy and reorganize, not because it would be a sign of failure, but precisely the opposite. This is a financial committment that could very realistically stop them from operating. They shouldn't be in that expensive location any more, and the landlord will most likely not ever see the money anyway. So why sink the ship along the way?

        THAT said, the fact that they're still floundering with no plan is the reason I haven't subscribed yet. Times are tight; I could certainly afford $20 a year, but I'd rather not spend $20 for 1 month or possibly 2. If 50,000 of us all signed up at once, they may have enough revenue to continue indefinitely, but no one signup is going to save them. The information I'd like to see from a "fellow prisoner" is what Salon's going to do to make sure they stick around a while - I think bankruptcy could be key.

        Notes:
        * According to EDGAR online via yahoo financial [yahoo.com]
        • by bungo (50628) on Monday February 24, 2003 @01:51AM (#5368898)
          Really, you can't honestly compare Amazon and Salon.

          Take away Amazon's web site, and what do you have? A *huge* company with buildings, supply chains, delivery systems, etc... If they had a physical shop you could walk into, you wouldn't think that they're anything different than any new mega-chain spending money putting up shops and building market share.

          The only thing with Amazon is that they are a web-based only catalogue ordering company. I know that there are alot of other companies in the US that are catalogue-only. That's what you should be comparing them to.

          Salon is a web magazine site. No big inventory, no supply and distribution chains. All you need is a webserver, a co-lo, an editorial team, and some freelance writers. There is nothing forcing them to spend alot of money on fancy offices, marketing executives and coke habits. Sure, they wouldn't be as big, but they would probably stil be around.

    • by Slackrat (128095) on Sunday February 23, 2003 @05:36PM (#5366786)

      [Salon] took out a 10-year lease on pricey but prestigious offices in downtown San Francisco. It seemed not to matter then that to be at the epicentre of the Internet revolution meant paying some of the most expensive rents in North America.

      With seven years left on the lease, Salon is struggling to get out of the deal. It already missed a $200,000 payment to its landlord in December. (The company is also trying to get out of a less pricey lease on office space it maintains in New York.)

      Yeah... that'll get you. Plus, they still have to pay people to create all that content in the first place... and those people need bean-bag chairs and little scooters. It's a vicious cycle.

      • by leviramsey (248057) on Sunday February 23, 2003 @05:47PM (#5366852) Journal

        I've said it before, and I'll say it again:

        The biggest thing that killed the dot-com boom was the exorbitant cost structure the companies put in place, especially in real estate.

        Let's look at the major epicenters of dot-com activity: Boston, Manhattan, San Francisco, and Seattle. What do those cities have in common? Some of the highest rents in the country (as well as inflated costs of living, which required higher salaries).

        The great benefit the Internet was supposed to bring was the complete de-emphasis of physical location. Salon could have found a home in, say, Springfield, Mass., where rents are cheap, there's a strong supply of intellectuals (the Five Colleges in Hampshire County), New York and Boston are close at hand, and the cost-of-living is lower.

        The fact that sites which avoided getting the priciest digs (I'm looking at you, Kuro5hin) have survived and maybe even thrived is a testament to the folly of Salon, Inside, Slate, and all the other online media startups.

        • Seattle is not in the same league as those others. Seattle's cost of living is about 10% over the national average. Boston and New York is twice that at 120%, San Francisco's even more, at about 140% of the national average.

        • by kfg (145172) on Sunday February 23, 2003 @06:48PM (#5367156)
          What's more, in Springfield you have huuuuuge. . . tracts of land begging for tenants.

          Being able to large facilities for a buck a squared foot isn't unheard of.

          Here in upstate NY my last business had 3000 square feet. I payed $350 month *with* electric/heat/air.

          Now that I'm more aware of the situation I'm actually *less* inclined to subscribe. They were idiots who didn't know enough to make desks out of orange crates and boards until they got on their feet and now want me to bail out their overextragance.

          Frankly, I think they owe *me* money. Lord knows I don't have it as good as they have.

          KFG
        • The great benefit the Internet was supposed to bring was the complete de-emphasis of physical location.

          I'll tell you that's simply not the case because of all the things that do depend on physical location. The biggest example is taxes. I'm the co-founder of a small company that runs an online RPG, Meridian 59 [meridian-59.com]. We're a "virtual" company with people that live in both California (specifically the Bay Area) and Connecticut. Because of this arrangement, I get to do over twice the amount of paperwork for taxes. Since we pay people wages, we have to register in both states for various payroll tax reporting. On top of this, since we have workers in both states, we're considered to be "doing business" in both states, so we're subject to the Sales and Use taxes for each state. When we sold some CDs containing the installation of our game, we had to report total sales and break down the sales that happened in each state in order to pay the proper taxes on them. As CFO, this took a non-trivial amount of my time to collect and organize this information, and to fill out the appropriate form. Finally, there's no substitute for face-to-face contact. Building a small business is about building relationships with people; there's only so much you can do over Trillian or even a phone call. As for the SF Bay Area, it's not so simple. Yes, it's stupid expensive to live out here. But, when you consider that there are two major cities, one of which is known to be one of the few cultural centers in the US, you realize what you are paying for. Also, there's a strong concentration of truly clueful technical people out here, especially ones that have the required skills for game development. Two of the people that are working with us (on the cheap, I might add) I met around here due to our shared interests. Some insight on the matter,

          • Uh.. that's because you're spread out over multiple locations, not because "location matters". You're comparing your own business, with spread-out employees, and a company that centralized in a horribly overpriced city.

            The point was that they should've rented something out in a remote location instead of frittering away their money on an overinflated standard of living. You don't think they money they'd save by doing this would make up for the extra paperwork? Get real.
        • by greenhide (597777) <jordanslashdot@P ... .com minus punct> on Sunday February 23, 2003 @06:51PM (#5367167)
          Part of the problem is that to get financing, you must look like you already have money.

          This is why a lot of dot-coms had to get offices in places that were expensive.

          While it might be cost effective to have a server farm and offices in the middle of Iowa or something, it would have done damage to their image.

          That being said, this might be the lesson of the whole dot-com (and even post-dot-com) world. Not necessarily that you have to be financially solvent from the get go (look at Amazon, for example), but rather that it may make more sense to ignore the financing world entirely.

          If they had started with cheaper digs and had begun early on with a subscription model, they may have not gotten as large of an initial audience, but they would have developed a subscribership much earlier on. They also might have done well actually trying to start out as a non-profit entity. The truth is that a lot of business are effectively non-profit (all of the revenues generally go towards salary and operating costs). Had they gone non-profit, they could have easily wrangled the grants and donations necessary to survive, especially since becoming a member would be tantamount to a charitable contribution.

          Trying to build one *after* the bubble burst was harder because no one trusted dot-coms to stick around anymore anyway.

          I'd love to finance Salon.com. There are a *lot* of things I'd like to help out, if I had the money (and even though I'm a geek, I don't. Times are tough). The problem is that right now Salon really isn't at the top of the list.
          • That being said, this might be the lesson of the whole dot-com (and even post-dot-com) world. Not necessarily that you have to be financially solvent from the get go (look at Amazon, for example), but rather that it may make more sense to ignore the financing world entirely.

            Wall Street has tended to fuck up businesses on a regular basis. If I were to start a company, I would make going public a last resort. A privately owned company will almost always be more intelligently managed and by not having to worry about pleasing thousands of shareholders, more efficient.

          • Part of the problem is that to get financing, you must look like you already have money.

            That's easy to fix: Don't go on the stock market. Lemme repeat that: DON'T GO ON THE STOCK MARKET! The single biggest cause of the downfall of all of the dot-com busts: Going public. Within a year of going public, their shares go up and down and up and down and crash and $0.00. If you don't go public, you don't risk losing your entire finacial structure.
            • If you're not willing to go public or be acquired, you're not going to get venture money.

              And without access to capital of some kind or another, you're not going to get massive growth rates.

              Going public is not a death sentence for a company by any means. The capital from the public markets is useful to continue to grow your business, along with the credibility you get with customers. Going public without knowing damn well what your revenues are going to be for the next several years, though.. that's stupid.
        • by Compuser (14899) on Sunday February 23, 2003 @08:27PM (#5367699)
          Why should I support Salon? If the poster is right
          and they have figured out a half-promising ad model
          then they should declare Chapter 11. Not Chapter 7,
          just Chapter 11. Get out of onerous contracts like
          that lease that suffocates them now and reorganize,
          maybe even move to a cheaper city or burb. Why
          should I pay for their lack of finacial advice?
        • by kuro5hin (8501) on Sunday February 23, 2003 @11:27PM (#5368394) Homepage
          The fact that sites which avoided getting the priciest digs (I'm looking at you, Kuro5hin) have survived

          I got a creepy little jolt of surprise reading that. It's like you were watching me. :-)

          It's true, though the comparison is way too strained. I've been to Salon's offices, and even at the height of the 'net boom, they were silly exhorbitant. Even for San Francisco they were over the top. Not to mention all the cash they spent developing their own CMS (yeah, they really did). I would like to see Salon survive, but every time I try to scrape up a little sympathy, I think of those offices, and I just can't.

          I wish them the best, and hope they get out of their lease and learn a little thrift. I know they're already practicing a lot of thrift when it comes to paying their writers (they mostly don't). But some lessons are just learned too late.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 23, 2003 @06:12PM (#5366981)
      Easy, 6 of the top honchos each make more than $150,000, bennies on top of that.

      This magazine spends money like a bunch of drunken social workers.

      And for what, a prime real estate location? What does that get them? Considering that thoughtful columnists like Paglia and Coulter get only a few thou for an article, why the hell spend money on executives?

      Because it's the way of the media, print, music, video, all of it. Wasteful extravagance on nothing is what it's all about.

      Die, fucking die, Salon.
    • I was a huge Salon fan back in the 90s.

      One time they re designed the site and when I emailed something to an author with a salon email address, well Salon then automagically signed me up for like 3 mailing lists without my opting in or any indication this was going to happen.

      I emailed thier technical services people nicely and get really snotty responses from them.

      Then around the 2000 election nightmare I found previously middle of the road left outlooking becoming more and more shrill with the most wildly asinine writers being the ones that stuck around as the bubble burst.

      They've gone from being my start page in my browsers to something I go to once every two weeks.

      I'd subscribed when they first had subscripts but the writing is on the decline and thier attempts to become more and more radical keep me from resubscribing.

      I can't understand how they are spending all that money quarter after quarter.

      I already pissed away money on dot-coms in 99-00, I learned my lesson, not a penny is going to Salon.

      They can go away, it's no big loss.
  • by cranos (592602) on Sunday February 23, 2003 @05:12PM (#5366628) Homepage Journal
    I can actually recall some of the adverts I've seen on Salon--what other web site can you say that about?

    How about adds for MS Visual Studio on Slashdot? Especially on articles that say that MS bites the big one.
  • Then BYE. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by josh crawley (537561) on Sunday February 23, 2003 @05:13PM (#5366634)
    If I couldnt pay rent, I dont stay there. If I cant pay for food, I starve. If I dont pay... I DONT GET. If they want to create a pay site, fine. Elsewise they DIE.

    ANyways, the only orginazation which can "die and keep on living" is the government. There's ono limits how much they can take away.
    • If I couldnt pay rent, I dont stay there. If I cant pay for food, I starve. If I dont pay... I DONT GET. If they want to create a pay site, fine. Elsewise they DIE.

      They are simply asking for folks to sign up, saying they will not survive if the present state of things continues. This is no different than public radio or television holding their fund raisers. If people did not support public radio/television they too would go away. Of course, Salon is not public radio or television but they could be public internet news....

      • Re:Then BYE. (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Pharmboy (216950)
        Of course, Salon is not public radio or television but they could be public internet news....

        There is a certain amount of redundancy there, since the majority of news sites are free, just with annoying ads, and most are either politically neutral or liberal leaning. Being conservative myself, I never found any reason to read anything at Salon. This doesn't mean that there isn't anything of value, its just there are no shortages of liberal web sites for me to get that perspective.

        On the other hand, I pay $45 a year for Rush Limbaugh 24/7 membership, so I can listen to show anytime 24/7, get his newsletter, and have full access to the premium content on his site. I just re-upped for two years.
        • Re:Then BYE. (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Forgotten (225254) on Sunday February 23, 2003 @07:08PM (#5367288)

          and most are either politically neutral or liberal leaning.

          I don't believe this is true. The reason most conservatives think the media leans left and most liberals think it leans right is simple Psych 100 observer bias. Stuff within your comfort zone makes less of an impact on your awareness than that which offends you a wee bit (or a lot). Insofar as anything can be said to be "right" or "left" wing (or "liberal" vs. "conservative") anymore, Salon was somewhat left of centre (and for whatever reason, intentional or otherwise, most of the rightish commentary was by real raving loons like Sullivan or Horowitz). But there is as much right-wing commentary (and as many sites) on the web as left-wing, simply because those factions are rather balanced in society at the moment. People will argue about the 2000 US presidential election for all time, but the whole reason there's an argument is that it was so close. The real distribution on the web closely mirrors the constituency. At the moment I'd actually say that leans a bit right because of the still-popular terrorism stuff, but it'll swing back to the centre (probably as a result of backlash against the Robespierre-like terror of terror warnings).

          You could even make an argument that everything will eventually swing back and forth 'til it reaches neutrality, if only because neutrality is constantly redefined and thus drifts itself to the current 50% mark. The entire concept of left and right wing is largely a product of media creation of target demographics. You have to align people first before you can sell them subscriptions in a world with such diverse opinions. There are still lots of right-wing people who are essentially 19th century conservatives (especially of late), and they're weirdly in bed with libertarians largely because of the convenient spectrum the media has defined. And the media very consciously does this, because each publication needs a large enough readership to stay in business. The trick is that if you waffle too much and actually try and be balanced - which for a short time Salon seemed to be doing - you offend everybody and you're toast. It's the biggest irony of political journalism.

          So people generally want to read stuff they mostly agree with, but because that doesn't challenge them, they rarely remember it much. The media really is pretty balanced, and even when it isn't, equilibrium forces push it back that way.

          Or so I believe. You may of course wish to write me off as a raving lefty academic postmodern deconstructing RELATIVIST, the worst of all equivocators. ;) But you will still have to account for observer bias (yours, mine, and everyone's), a phenomenon which is practically always one step more powerful than one thinks it is.

  • by sakusha (441986) on Sunday February 23, 2003 @05:14PM (#5366639)
    Salon committed suicide by alienating its core readership of liberals, when they brought on hyperconservatives like Sullivan and Horowitz. Note to editors: if you don't want to lose your subscribers, don't print essays that call them treasonous and anti-american.
    You could see the writing on the wall when Salon hooked up with notorious blowhard Dave Winer. I bet they threw $200k down the Userland rathole, that would have been enough to pay the rent.
    • by Mike Buddha (10734) on Sunday February 23, 2003 @05:22PM (#5366693)
      Oddly enough, I dropped my subscription a year ago because the liberal BS was getting a might bit thick for my tastes. A well spoken liberal thesis is interesting to read, but a lot of the crap they were slinging was along the lines of "conservatives are so stupid", something I'm not willing to pay for.
      • by leviramsey (248057) on Sunday February 23, 2003 @05:26PM (#5366720) Journal
        Oddly enough, I dropped my subscription a year ago because the liberal BS was getting a might bit thick for my tastes. A well spoken liberal thesis is interesting to read, but a lot of the crap they were slinging was along the lines of "conservatives are so stupid", something I'm not willing to pay for.

        Exactly.

        Salon's staff is amateurish to the point that they make K5 look professional.

        The New Yorker, which essentially publishes the same sort of stuff that Salon does, manages to, by actually hiring people who know how to write, make the lefty stuff[/garbage] seem reasonable and well thought-out.

      • by screwballicus (313964) on Sunday February 23, 2003 @06:43PM (#5367121)
        While I don't myself overtly and decisively oppose either "conservatives" or "liberals," I do emphatically oppose the use of those terms. And I realise it's absolutely rife.

        The use of these categories, liberal and conservative, in American politics has always confounded me. As a Canadian, I just don't know what they are supposed to mean, although I understand their rhetorical purpose. I don't think they mean much, really. We've got a Liberal Party and a Conservative Party in Canada, but those are just names for parties. They don't mean anything literal. Interestingly, I've virtually never heard the words "liberal" and "conservative" used in that way by political scientists. I think that's due, frankly, to their inherent uselessness. The idea of throwing everyone in the country into one of only two categories seems ludicrous. The number of Canadians who will consistently vote for only one party is minute. There's an old law of Canadian politics that goes that the province of Ontario will only elect a provincial Liberal Party government if the national Conservative Party is in power and will only elect a provincial Conservative Party government if the national Liberal Party is in power. And this has held true for government after government. People aren't one of two things. And they don't stay as such from one government to the next. And I don't see why it should be asserted that Americans do. Even if they DO vote for one party consistently, the suggestion that all voters for that party have one way of thinking is one to which I object.

        My point is, the enmity between "conservatives" and "liberals" here is silly, most of the time. There are more than two ways of thinking. If I were discussing American politics, I might refer to Republicans and Democrats, but Christian Conservatives, Christian Progressives, Social Libertarians, Anti-Federalists and whatever other categories you want to add absolutely do not fit into two categories.
    • Most liberals I know (including myself) find it very valuable to learn what the other side is thinking. In fact, the further to the left you go, the more respect you are likely to find for intelligent debate. As Jack Ryan said in "Red October, "It is wise to know the ways of one's enemy." Accusing us of traitorous and anti-american behavior, in fact, probably causes MORE liberals to read. Having said that, throwing a $200k salary at anybody is a bad idea when you can't pay the rent.
    • by Brian_Ellenberger (308720) on Sunday February 23, 2003 @06:14PM (#5366992)
      If you think Andrew Sullivan is a "hyperconservative" it shows how skewed your view of the political landscape is. If you have ever read any of Mr. Sullivan's works you would know that he is socially liberal on many positions. Most "hyperconservatives" don't support abortion, gay marriage, and sex outside marriage.

      One of the problems with political debate in this country is that we are all too quick to label and catagorize people instead of listening to their opinions. It is all too easy for a liberal to label someone like Andrew Sullivan as an "EVIL SUPER HYPERCONSERVATIVE" and then ignore his writings instead of reading them and giving them a chance to enlighten yourself or change your viewpoint. Likewise it is too easy for a conservative to label him as "EVIL CORRUPT HOMOSEXUAL" as do the same. The problem is that he does not fit into nice predefined catagories. This is one of the reasons I enjoy reading is articles so much. I don't agree with everything he says but I still gain understanding from his insitefulness. Much more than I would gain if I just read someone I agreed with 100%.

      Just a tip. If you are only reading articles you agree with 100% you are doing something wrong. Challenge yourself sometime by reading people who you don't agree with and try understanding the world from their viewpoint. It will make you a much wiser and better person. If more people did that we could get away from childish namecalling and maybe have a reasonable debate sometime.

      Brian Ellenberger
  • Subscription (Score:5, Interesting)

    by The Bungi (221687) <thebungi@gmail.com> on Sunday February 23, 2003 @05:14PM (#5366640) Homepage
    I got a subscription to Salon this year (actually, after another /. story highlighted the fact that they were in trouble).

    I think it was worth it. Salon sometimes is a bit too liberal for my taste, but even if you don't agree with some of their politics, the enormous amount of content you get is certainly good. If you subscribe you get a free dead-tree subscription to Utne Reader (uck) and Mother Jones (yeah). Some interesting audio downloads, among other things. And no ads.

    All in all, I enjoy reading Salon. If you do, consider plunking a few bucks for them.

    • by gad_zuki! (70830) on Sunday February 23, 2003 @05:49PM (#5366871)
      >Utne Reader (uck) and Mother Jones (yeah).

      Or on The Nation [thenation.com] or Harpers [harpers.org]. They come in dead tree format so no more wireless laptops in the bathroom. There's a decent essay out there of how Salon spends its money (giant office spaces, high living, etc) that makes me not want to help them, especially when some very decent papers like MaJones or The Nation do what salon does a lot better.

      What bothers me most is the assumption that there is no room for liberal media and people using salon as proof. Salon is just a badly run company ready to join its dot com brethrens at fuckedcompany. They simply failed to compete against more established and better left-leaning news outlets.
  • by John Miles (108215) on Sunday February 23, 2003 @05:14PM (#5366645) Homepage Journal
    Shyeah. Like I'm going to subscribe to a magazine that I suspect is going to expire before my subscription does.

    It's hard to feel too sympathetic for Salon. With all of their moaning and groaning about overhead, you'd think they had to cut down dead trees, slice them up and cover them with ink, and mail them, or something. ("Oh, wait. You mean like every other magazine in the history of journalism?")

    Dr. Darwin called -- he wants to cancel his subscription.
    • Salon.com is very cheap to subscribe to. $20 for a year, that's really good. The quality and quanity of output from the magazine is far greater than any monthly magazine you'd be paying $12-30 a year for.

      The big problem with cutting trying to save money, is that they got a 10 year lease on a place in SF. They are locked into it, so they can't very easily go "well, we need to cut costs a bit, so we are moving into my basement." It's very unfortunate.
      • What's the penalty on breaking the lease? If they're paying $500k/month on a place, and breaking the least costs them 3 million, and they can get by with a place that costs 75k/month (keep key staff in the office, journalists can work from home), what not break it? The $475k/month savings would pay for the breaking of the lease in less than a year. I'm just picking numbers out of the air, but who knows...
  • Fuck Salon. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 23, 2003 @05:15PM (#5366653)
    Poor Salon, the poor, "New Media" company that was supposed to eat 'old media' and own the world in 5 years. It's so sad to see a public corporation fail, oh, I'm sorry, "the dream die. " Frankly, I don't think people should continue to support them thru what is their death throes. They've pissed away EIGHTY MILLION dollars and they're still spending money on creature comforts (200k a _month_ for rent? Are their offices solid gold with cocaine on tap?), while cutting the actual _production_ staff (writers, et al) left and right? Fuck That. Free market economy means that it's fine for people to pull stupid shit like this, but it also means that they are free to fail horribly.
    • by aftk2 (556992)
      Poor Salon, the poor, "New Media" company that was supposed to eat 'old media' and own the world in 5 years...Fuck That.

      Heh, you bought them when they were trading at $15 a share, didn't you?
  • How? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DeadBugs (546475) on Sunday February 23, 2003 @05:21PM (#5366686) Homepage
    How does an online magazine blow $80 million?

    I have a feeling they were caught up in the dot-com frenzy and were spending money like it came out of the copier. I am all in support of online journalism but I don't think asking the "community" to pick up the check for their party is a fair deal.
    • I believe the answer is spelled P-O-R-S-C-H-E.

      Rinse and repeat several times.

      I could be wrong of course, but I tend not to think so.

      KFG
    • by TopShelf (92521)
      If they want money, let 'em put up some of the pricy stuff for auction - I'll take an Aeron chair off thier hands, for charity's sake!
    • Re:How? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Fencepost (107992)
      How does an online magazine blow $80 million?

      Some possible options:

      • Paying columnists
      • Paying reporters
      • Paying editors
      • Paying support/admin staff
      • Paying expenses to have reporters travel to cover stories
      • Bandwidth for a high-traffic site starting in the mid-90s
      • Paying rent for offices in NYC and SanFran
      • The assorted overhead of running a business.
      Overall, over the course of 8 years they've had an average burn rate of $10 million a year (more at times, less now), while producing almost as much content each week as a "major" news magazine (Time, Newsweek, U.S. News).

      That last may sound wrong at first, but keep in mind that particularly at its peak Salon was producing 1-2 full-length stories a day, and updating daily! Going back through, I wouldn't be surprised if during their peak they actually exceeded the content of most of the news magazines.

      Sure they could've moved to cheaper offices once they got started - maybe around '98-'99. After all, it was obvious to all of you fully-employed readers even then that the bottom was going to drop out of the technology boom and Salon should've seen the same things you did, right?

      In all honesty, I'm sure there are things that in looking back could've (should've?) been done differently, but I'm also sure that at the time the decisions were made there were also perfectly good and clear reasons why they should be made as they were.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 23, 2003 @05:22PM (#5366691)
    BSD is dying, I mean, Mandrake is dying, I mean Salon is dying, I mean MicroBSD is dying, I mean...
  • by leviramsey (248057) on Sunday February 23, 2003 @05:22PM (#5366696) Journal

    Salon's fundamental problem is that it doesn't have enough quality content to justify the overhead.

    The New Yorker, along with a couple of other dead-tree publications (Details, a sibling of TNY under Newhouse's Advance Publications banner) has vastly more content (with commensurately greater overhead) and can justify higher prices.

    Kuro5hin has very nearly the same level of quality, is far more interactive, and orders of magnitude less overhead (the fact that Rusty only needs $70,000 a year to keep it going bears this out... It would take K5 over 1000 years (even assuming a decent rate of inflation) to burn through $81 million).

    Compared to its competition, Salon fails to deliver anything near competitive value.

  • It's too bad... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rinks (641298) on Sunday February 23, 2003 @05:22PM (#5366699)
    Considering more and more people in this country seem to be getting their "fair and balanced" news from Fox, this nation should be completely ignorant of everything that isn't waving an American flag within five years.. I enjoy Salon, I just subscribed to it. It's going to be sad when the only way to get information about your own country is to ready another country's newspapers.
    • Re:It's too bad... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by StuDude (627980)
      You showing exactly the sort of pompus intellectual superiority that causes many people to not wish to read salon.

      The fact that Fox news has become so popular shows how far off the likes of CNN were from the "joe average" american feelings about topics.
      • Re:It's too bad... (Score:4, Insightful)

        by SpryGuy (206254) on Sunday February 23, 2003 @06:29PM (#5367058)
        Sorry, but Fox News is about the least 'fair and balanced' news source out there. If you think otherwise, you're not being a "pompus intellectually superior" person, you're just being rational and sane.

        Sorry, but bombast, sensationalism, and spewing hate sells. That doesn't make it right, and it doesn't make it accurate news reporting. It's show business and it's about ratings and entertainment.

        Besides, the fact that 'joe average' is rather uneducated isn't a shock to anyone with any awareness. But rather than pandering to the ignorance and prejudices of the masses, I'd rather more news outlets actually tried to inform and educate them. But again, where's the money in that? It's a vicious spiral down...

        Salon has the advantage of showing various sides and other voices that the 'mass media' doesn't always carry. By providing more view points, a reader is able to more fully understand all the various sides and views on any given issue. I certainly don't agree with a lot of the stuff published on Salon (or Fox News), but knowing the other points of view helps round out my own opinions.

        Alas, thinking in 'black and white' is simpler and takes a lot less effort than understanding all the complexities and shades of gray that exist in the real world, on every issue imaginable. Thus the popularity of Fox News and its ilk, which simply spoon-feed the "right answers" (pun intended) to the viewer.
  • Damn Good (Score:4, Funny)

    by SomeOtherGuy (179082) on Sunday February 23, 2003 @05:23PM (#5366703) Journal
    Wow. Between the starving gold rock stars making a measlly 40K a year -- and a web site that pisses through 80 Million and can't find a way to keep the lights on, my heart just goes out to all these "poor" folks.

    Maybe if I have any "compassion" left I will send a nickel to the evening news and a dime to the local newspaper -- they must be losing money to.
    • Re:Damn Good (Score:3, Insightful)

      by MikeFM (12491)
      Hell, if you can buy healthy food, a decent place to live, and keep your utilities on your doing better than majority of people in this world. You should certainly be paid for your work and good use of your talents but really do we need to make hundreds of thousands (or millions) per year to be successful and happy? Worse how do you take millions of dollars and throw it all away?

      Domain name and dns hosting: $20/year.
      A decent web and email server: $15/month.
      Artwork for your website: $500.
      Home PC w/ monitor and printer: $600.
      Internet connection: $20/month.
      Electric bill: $100/month.
      Office desk: $100.
      Pay to self: $40,000/year.
      Advertising: $40,000/year.
      Write'n skillz: priceless.

      How do you spend $80mil? Seriously even with a few guys on staff and the increasing cost of server space as bandwidth usage went up it'd take a lot of work to blow that kind of money. They didn't notice the approaching redline in time to change their ways?
  • by sholden (12227) on Sunday February 23, 2003 @05:25PM (#5366714) Homepage
    From the salon article:
    If every one of our 53,000 subscribers brings in just ONE additional subscription, Salon will finally break even this year
    That sounds like they're stuffed to me.

    If they double their subscription base, they will break even. Not make a profit. Break even.

    I guess they might be factoring in the 33% discount on "gifts", so maybe they only need a 66% increase in their subscriber base. Even so, that doesn't sound promising to me.

    There's also the definition of 'this'. The financial year in the US starts on April 1, right? So maybe they mean if in the last month of the financial year, they earn as much money in subscriptions as for the other 11 months combined, they'll break even. If so that bodes even worse for the next year...
  • cyberbegging (Score:5, Insightful)

    by LuxFX (220822) on Sunday February 23, 2003 @05:30PM (#5366750) Homepage Journal
    In other news, CNN.com had a piece last week on the explosion of cyberbegging [cnn.com].

    I have nothing against Salon, but why should we get all weepy when their business plan fails? More to the point, why is Slashdot giving them free advertising? Funny how my site wasn't slashdotted when I really needed some sales.

  • by jlev (590861) on Sunday February 23, 2003 @05:34PM (#5366766) Homepage
    Even if you don't agree with all of the views expressed there, you have to agree that Salon, like Slashdot, is one of the few truly independent news sources out there. Unfortunately, not everything on the internet can be entirely free. It costs money for Talbot and his crew to write; it is only fair that we pay to read. I'm a Premium Member, and just purchased a "Make A Difference" subscription so someone else can experience the wonder of independent media. In a world where the major news sources resort to fear-mongering to sell themselves, Salon and those similar to it are a last refuge of sanity. You have to remember, the sole purpose of television news is to keep you watching between commercials. CNN, MSNBC, and Fox aren't interested in presenting the truth, only something entertaining, or scary enough to keep you from changing the channel. Salon and Slasdot are different; the two communities should support each other. Do your part to keep Salon alive, buy a subscription, it's only $30, or $18.50 with ads. In the long run, that amount is negligible, even for the pimply faced teens. This probably sounds like an NPR fund drive, and it kind of is, but this vital source of information and commentary is going to die unless we do something about it. If one tenth of the ~600,000 registered Slashdot users help support Salon, we will double the number of Premium subscribers. This is doable, even if stopping the war, or overturning the DMCA isn't.
  • by socratic method (15936) on Sunday February 23, 2003 @05:34PM (#5366773)
    Even if you only occasionally enjoy reading a Salon article or disagree with the politics of some (or all) of its writers, I urge you to strongly consider a $30 yearly subscription. Slashdot readers are surely aware that the big press in America is beholden to special interests. We have no BBC or CBC here, just mediocre and sensationalist networks run by the likes of AOL and Rupert Murdoch.

    Just as free speech is meaningless to the American poor, so too is free press when owned and controlled by billionaires. I have found Salon to be a great source for thoughtful and challenging articles. Supporting it is supporting democracy.

    sm
    • so in other words if I don't pony up for a Salon subscription the terrorists have already won?
    • by jpetts (208163) on Sunday February 23, 2003 @06:16PM (#5366998)
      We have no BBC or CBC here

      I am an expat Brit living in Redmond, WA, and before I got broadband the lack of news here used to drive me CRAZY. I just didn't understand how people could be so incurious about the rest of the world, and how crap and banal is what little news there is which mentioned anything outside western Washington, or, Bog forbid, the USA. Hell, we don't even get any news from Vancouver or Portland most weeks!

      Anyway, enough ranting: I just wanted to say that I preserved my sanity by going to the BBC radio web site [bbc.co.uk] where there is a round-the-clock stream of virtually all the BBC's radio output. For news in English, Radio 4 [bbc.co.uk] is probably best, though the World Service [bbc.co.uk] is also excellent, and also available in (currently) 43 languages.
  • by Otter (3800) on Sunday February 23, 2003 @05:43PM (#5366827) Journal
    1) What they did to Henry Hyde

    2) Scott Rosenberg was yapping two days ago [salon.com] ridiculing how "The media vultures continue to circle over Salon, hoping, for whatever schadenfreude-fueled reasons, that all the noise about our imminent demise might actually be true this time around." (No, I'm not some crazed Salon stalker -- the post was linked on Instapundit yesterday for its main content.)

    3) They approvingly quote Mark E. Michael's plea "And we cannot let right-wing voices be the only ones heard. There are elements in the government that wish to silence dissent and do it permanently. There will be no marketplace of ideas, only the authorized, approved one." Uh, yeah, Mark. The failure to make Salon profitable is a government conspiracy to silence dissent. It reminds me of my grandmother's stories of Kristallnacht.

    Well, those are the three taht jump to mind. What can the rest of you come up with?

    • 1) What they did to Henry Hyde

      And what was that, exactly? Call attention to the fact that the man who tried to overthrow a democratically elected President was a bloody hypocrite?

      2) Scott Rosenberg was yapping two days ago [salon.com] ridiculing how "The media vultures continue to circle over Salon, hoping, for whatever schadenfreude-fueled reasons, that all the noise about our imminent demise might actually be true this time around." (No, I'm not some crazed Salon stalker -- the post was linked on Instapundit yesterday for its main content.)

      Well, you seem to be. So does the Wall Street Journal.

      Three reasons to detest Salon (Score:1) by Otter (3800) on Sunday February 23, @05:43PM (#5366827) 1) What they did to Henry Hyde 2) Scott Rosenberg was yapping two days ago [salon.com] ridiculing how "The media vultures continue to circle over Salon, hoping, for whatever schadenfreude-fueled reasons, that all the noise about our imminent demise might actually be true this time around." (No, I'm not some crazed Salon stalker -- the post was linked on Instapundit yesterday for its main content.) 3) They approvingly quote Mark E. Michael's plea "And we cannot let right-wing voices be the only ones heard. There are elements in the government that wish to silence dissent and do it permanently. There will be no marketplace of ideas, only the authorized, approved one." Uh, yeah, Mark. The failure to make Salon profitable is a government conspiracy to silence dissent. It reminds me of my grandmother's stories of Kristallnacht.

      So you admit they didn't actually say that, just quoted someone else who did. Oh, but they did it "approvingly". How exactly does that work?
  • by seldolivaw (179178) <me&seldo,com> on Sunday February 23, 2003 @05:43PM (#5366833) Homepage
    I've just bought a subscription. It's only about £12, and the body of content is absolutely enormous. Whether or not I respect their financial management, I think their magazine is worth the price they charge for it, and that's all that matters.

    Mind you, I don't have a Slashdot subscription... :-)
  • by mutzinator (156030) on Sunday February 23, 2003 @05:48PM (#5366858)

    Over the last few years, I have consistently been impressed with the quality of journalism found in Salon's pages. To all those of you that have enjoyed some of salon's work over the years, please consider subscribing.

    Try this: Go to the Slashdot search page and search for "Salon". I get over a hundred results in the last year alone. And these are not just links to AP newswire stories hosted at Salon, these are original content, bankrolled by them. For all you out there bitching about "how can a website spend 80 million dollars?" that's how. They spend that much by funding the production of original, quality content.

    It's also hilarious to see some of you bitching about how Salon is going out of business by alienating their readership by publishing perspectives that are too liberal or too conservative. While having a liberal slant in general, Salon publishes perspectives that challenge their readers. I disagree with most of what Andrew Sullivan writes, but I appreciate the diversity of perspectives that his writing provides. If I wanted a news medium that always told me what it thought I wanted to hear, I'd just tune into the network news every night.

    Do you want to see this source of independant journalism go out forever? If they don't a big jump in subscriptions, it will. I know lots of you out there are unemployed, but lots of you aren't. the $20 or $30 salon subscription is nothing to you highly paid software engineers.

    I'm not working right now (I'm a student), so money is tight, but I have subscribed and after I write this, I am going to go over and try to extend my subscription. And yes, I have done my best to encourage friends and relatives that read occasionally to subscribe as well (with three successes).

    They are a quality publication that you have all been sporadically enjoying for many years and now they need your help. Please subscribe.

    • For all you out there bitching about "how can a website spend 80 million dollars?" that's how. They spend that much by funding the production of original, quality content.

      OK, let's look at this... Big picture stuff... Server co-location, $1000/month, tops. The rest should go to content production. For $80 million, you could pay 80 writers $100,000 each for 10 years. Now, Salon hasn't been around for nearly 10 years, and they don't have 80 writers (more like 10?). And $100K/year is a nice salary, *especially* for a journalist. So, I'm still asking, where the fuck did their money go to?
    • Do you want to see this source of independant journalism go out forever? If they don't a big jump in subscriptions, it will.

      Salon is one source of independant journalism, not the only source. Their business model was terrible, demonstrated by the fact that they need to double the number of subscribers simply to break even. The best writers will be picked up by other sites and publications, while the mediocre ones will need to find other work. Don't prolong Salon's life, let it die quickly and with some dignity.
  • No Dough For You (Score:5, Interesting)

    by corby (56462) on Sunday February 23, 2003 @05:50PM (#5366874)
    In the summer of 2001, I purchased a two-year subscription to Salon, knowing full well that the subscription term might be longer than the company's existence.

    I knew that Salon had not made perfect business decisions, but they were pioneers in the Internet space, and there was a chance that they had learned from their errors. If a dynamic, independent source of journalism had an opportunity to succeed, then I wanted to do my part to help.

    But now, it is clear that the management team lacks either the skill or the will to make a profitable enterprise out of Salon. They have had nearly two years to balance their budget, and during that team they received another substantial VC infusion. But they are out of money again, and there is no reason to believe at this point that they can manage the company out of this.

    I won't be sending any more bailout money to Salon, because the overwhelming evidence is that it will go directly into the severance packages of unsuccessful managers.
  • by eggboard (315140) on Sunday February 23, 2003 @06:00PM (#5366928) Homepage
    Let's be clear: some of the money they've raised over the year is simply gone, exchanged for stockholder equity: that's investment capital, not lost money. They spent it, the stockholders have stock, the money isn't owed to anyone.

    A very small amount of money in relative terms is actually owed, under a few million I believe, but their operating costs exceed their income and they don't have any sources of stock -> money exchanges.

    It's still ridiculous, of course, to have spent that much, but it's just pissed away not owed.
  • by cartman (18204) on Sunday February 23, 2003 @06:13PM (#5366985)
    Salon's biggest difficulty is the mediocre quality of its content. Salon tries to be an educated, urban, lefty magazine, but it doesn't quite make it. There are other magazines in the same space: The New Yorker, Atlantic Monthly, Mother Jones, Harper's, and so on. Can anyone seriously pretend that Salon's content is the same quality as, say, the Atlantic Monthly? When I saw that Salon wanted ~$30 to subscribe, I thought to myself: "I don't want to read their articles that badly." And I like leftist opinion journals.
  • Fuzzy math? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by moosesocks (264553) on Sunday February 23, 2003 @06:14PM (#5366990) Homepage
    Doing some simple math, there's no way this makes sense.

    80 million owed divided by 50,000 new subscribers = $1600 per subscriber which would be needed to make them break even. That doesn't make any sense
  • by cartman (18204) on Sunday February 23, 2003 @06:28PM (#5367054)
    Alot of ideological publications cannot make it on their own. "The Nation" has never made money. "National Review" (on the right) is supported by WFB's family wealth. NPR takes government subsidies and still tirelessly presses is subscribers for more money!

    There are only two kinds of media that can independently survive in America:

    1. Mass-market outlets that take a "least common denominator" approach to content, trying to appeal to a wide array of people (Fox, Rush Limbaugh, Newsweek, US News, etc).

    2. Outlets which have very high-quality content (Harper's, Granta, etc), for which a few people will pay a significant amount of money.

    Salon is neither of these. To survive, it will require a subsidy, just like "National Review" and "The Nation."
  • Paranoia (Score:4, Informative)

    by Ratbert42 (452340) on Sunday February 23, 2003 @06:45PM (#5367135)
    In the old role-playing game "Paranoia", ...

    It's only fitting. Most of the business models of companies like Salon read like something right out of Paranoia [crd-sector.com].

    • Paranoia is awesome. (Score:3, Informative)

      by lysander (31017)
      Paranoia (2nd edition) is an absolute wonder of a game. I'm running a session Tuesday, after a bunch of otherwise DnD playing friends begged me to bring it back.

      What's not to love, especially for a Game Master? You get to act proper and fair as the GM, yet get to screw players over arbitrarily as The Computer who runs the world! Set up all sorts of plots only to have everyone kill each others' clones (you get six) and/or die at the hands of

      • enemies,
      • traitors,
      • commies,
      • mutant powers (yours or others),
      • mutant powers that you can't control,
      • poor experimental equipment,
      • poor normal equipment,
      • equipment sabotaged by your fellow players,
      • death-trap missions,
      • death-trap missions that your secret society explictly tells you must fail, and
      • confusing and self-contradicting mission objectives!
      In all seriousness, find a copy of the Paranoia manual! It's hilarious reading, and running it is the most fun ever if you have even a few of the right people.
  • Why Salon Sux (Score:3, Insightful)

    by N8F8 (4562) on Sunday February 23, 2003 @07:03PM (#5367267)
    I've said it before and I'll say it again : Reading Salon liberal journalism is like getting punched in the face with your hands tied behind your back.

    I like reading opinions I disagree with but I hate it when there is no real method to rebut. Disagree with a story? Tough luck, no way to contact the author and no forum tied directly to the story.

    I could go further and say the liberals running Salon run a budget about as well as the liberals in politics handle budgets. No wonder they are pleading for handouts. Small wonder they aren't blaming the successful websites for their demise and demanding a forced redistribution of the popularity.
  • Move! (Score:3, Redundant)

    by peripatetic_bum (211859) on Sunday February 23, 2003 @07:46PM (#5367485) Homepage Journal
    Hell, they worry about paying rent and they live in SanFrancisco!

    Move!

    They are web-based.

  • by autopr0n (534291) on Sunday February 23, 2003 @08:41PM (#5367758) Homepage Journal
    These guys are raking it in. And they don't even really need to pay rent on their offices, just their servers.

    They are making tens of thousands of dollars a month in subscription fees. More then enough to pay for servers and content. Don't bother donating to their swank offices and David Talbot's $400k salary.
  • by John Murdoch (102085) on Sunday February 23, 2003 @08:47PM (#5367782) Homepage Journal

    MEMO:

    TO: David Talbot
    FROM: John Murdoch, consultant
    RE: Salon Business Plan

    Executive summary: It's the math, stupid.

    Dear Dave:

    I have read of your impending demise on SlashDot, including links to an article on the Globe and Mail site suggesting that you are paying $200,000 per month in rent for space in San Francisco and a smaller--but similarly mind-blowing--amount on space in New York. I also read your plea to readers, saying that if each of your 53,000 subscribers just signed up one additional subscriber, why Salon would be able to break even. America would continue to have a vocally left-wing e-rag; the earth would continue to revolve.

    The business problem
    It's the math, stupid. If your assertion in the editorial plea is correct (that you need an additional 50,000 subscriptions to break even) then your annual budget is in the neighborhood of $3,000,000. But your annual rent ($200,000/month) runs to $2,400,000 a year--leaving $600,000 for staff and editorial content.

    Simply put, you have zero reason to have any office space in San Francisco or New York. You're running a virtual magazine, remember? That's a synonym for website. If Rob Malda and Jeff Bates can run SlashDot from Holland, Michigan, what makes you think you need to be paying $100 per square foot? You need a decent connection to your hosting sites, and a place to keep the handful of full-time employees left on the payroll.

    How you could re-organize
    File for bankruptcy protection under Chapter 11. That protects you from your creditors while you develop a plan for re-organization to submit to a bankruptcy court judge. Yeah--your main money men will take it in the shorts: John Warnock and the Silicon Valley liberals who fronted the $81,000,000 you have pissed away will have to write off their investments. But the big thing Chapter 11 will do is get you out of those, um, burdensome (read: IN-blinking-SANE) leases. No bankruptcy judge in the country will allow you to pay for top-dollar real estate for the purpose of hosting a web site--the leases will be broken. Then you can move on to the rest of your re-organization.

    Re-organization:
    You have 53,000 subscribers--some pay $18.50 per year, but most pay $30 per year to avoid the ads. Let's assume an average subscription of $24, and (round numbers) gross revenue of $1,270,000. Let's figure on 6 full-time equivalent employees at a fully-loaded cost of $60,000 apiece (including salary, taxes, benefits, etc.): that's $360,000 in payroll. 1000 square feet of "office/flex" space in any moderate industrial park will run you approximately $8 per square foot per year--that's $8,000 in rent. Toss in a thousand a month for heat/light/power/telephone, and another thousand for office expenses, furnishings, furniture, and equipment--soup to nuts, your total "SG&A" expenses run to $392,000. Leaving you $880,000 per year for writers and hosting fees. Top-notch editorial doesn't come for free--but almost Nine Hundred Grand buys you a lot of articles at a thousand bucks a pop.

    But don't let that stop you from begging...
    Hey--public broadcasting stations have been threatening their imminent demise for decades. So, for that matter, have dozens of television evangelists. If you're just scamming your subscribers for a bit more cash--hey, it helps the bottom line. Even the politically-correct have to pay the rent....

    But let's be clear about one thing
    Your financial problems are problems of your own making. Paying millions of dollars for glam real estate was "making a statement." It sure was--"we are D-U-M-B!" You have the ability to solve your problems--use the bankruptcy provisions the law allows you. Doing so will keep you in business, and allow you to continue to have a voice in American public discourse. If you fail to do so, your voice will be silenced by your own management failure--not some secret cabal of "voices in the present administration" who might want to silence you.

  • by tlambert (566799) on Sunday February 23, 2003 @09:11PM (#5367867)
    Unsustainable business models are a dime a dozen these days.

    Salon has spent $80M, and has 50,000 subscribers.

    That's a customer acqusition cost of $1,600 per customer.

    Say they get their doubled subscribership numbers; that drops the per customer acquisition cost down to $800 per.

    Effectively, this means that they would have to get $67 a monthly issue in order to recoup costs, if acquisition was for a period of 1 year, which is normally how these things are measured.

    Let's be incredibly generous, and call it 5 years of acquisition. Even so, we are still talking over $13/month/60 issues.

    Does anyone really believe that this is going to happen?

    These people obviously do not understand cost accounting or cash flow. They may or may not be good journalists, but they certainly are *not* good businessmen.

    -- Terry
  • by joshuac (53492) on Sunday February 23, 2003 @10:54PM (#5368291) Journal
    In the grand scheme of things, Salon is just another online newsjournally type site, if they go away, we are not losing anything unique. The Whole Earth 'Lectronic Exchange on the otherhand, has been around since the 80's...I remember having the The WELL on my dial list as I went through my nightly BBS romp.

    Unfortunately, through various twists and turns, The WELL ended up under Salon's ownership. If Salon goes under, does this mean The WELL will also? That would be horrible and ironic end for something as insignificant as Salon to take down a piece of internet history with it...in 10 years (assuming Salon shuts down, which it likely will) few people will remember or miss Salon...but 20 years down the road, The WELL is still remembered for it's place in the early internet, and I know there are plenty of people who will miss it.

    Otoh, maybe more people like Salon than I realize; but somehow I doubt it is the same as The WELL.

    I hope if Salon goes under, that The WELL will somehow be preserved. As for Salon.com, I could care less.
  • by defile (1059) on Monday February 24, 2003 @12:05AM (#5368528) Homepage Journal
    David Talbot, 50
    Chairman, Editor-in-Chief $191K

    Michael O'Donnell, 38
    Pres, CEO, Director 191K

    Robert O'Callahan, 51
    CFO, Treasurer, Sec. 149K

    Patrick Hurley, 40
    Sr. VP, Operations 149K

    Almost $680,000/year in salary for just 4 company executives.

    It seems hypocritical to beg for gift donations when you pay yourself 6-10x more than the average American's income.

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