How on earth could Randall Rothenberg refer to CBS MarketWatch.com as a magazine ("Tough lessons for magazines in tough times for Web zines," Viewpoint, AA, June 19)? I can understand why magazines don't work on the Internet. Why would people prefer to read magazine content on the Internet when they can get it in a nice layout, easy to read, glossy format?
But real-time market data are anything but magazinelike. Many businesses, including Bloomberg, Bridge, Telerate and dozens of others, survived and even thrived delivering real-time financial news and data over an Internet-like device--on a network.
Because financial news has a short shelf life, reading it now is much more valuable than reading it later. Bringing the ability to get financial news on a real-time basis to the general public, for free, is an entirely new, and welcome, proposition.
MarketWatch.com, even with its stock depressed, sits at 50% over its IPO offering price 15 months ago, which in traditional financial standards is a home run. The fact that our stock has been knocked way up and way down in the Internet mania is not something we controlled--in either direction. As a company, we hit and exceeded every financial milepost we set out for investors. . . .
How does that put us into a category of APBNews, which closed down because it didn't meet objectives, and Salon, which is trading [at] about 20% of its offering price and has warned that it couldn't meet revenue expectations? His comments comparing us to these entities are extremely inaccurate and damaging to us.
Finally, how can he classify us as a "stand-alone" company when we have CBS' name on us, and we are 34% owned each by CBS and The Financial Times? Or did he even know that?
I enjoyed Randall Rothenberg's recent column on "Tough lessons for magazines in tough times for Web zines." He made some very astute points . . .
We in new business media surely do need to provide a unique value proposition to sustain ourselves. Without question we cannot take our success for granted. However, if you ask one of our 320,000 paid readers (400,000 by the end of the year), they will tell you that there is a real reason why they read Red Herring in preference to traditional business media. Today business is dramatically influenced by technology and entrepreneurialism--far more so than ever in the past--so business leaders are flocking to publications that deliver insight on these areas.
Fortune's claim that this category has weak circ was clearly competitive sour grapes--and strange given they just launched a competitor in this space. While I can't speak for the other magazines in this category . . . our circulation growth (at an average of $34/sub), has been tremendous. We've nearly doubled in the last six months alone, while showing stronger demographics (for such things as household income or job title) than any of the new or traditional business pubs.
In terms of advertising, he again made a good point, but not a complete one. True, we've all benefited much more so than traditional media from dot-com advertising . . . But this category accounts for well less than half of our total advertising, and, while the traditional pubs may not like to admit it, much of our growth has come from the same types of advertisers--from business services to luxury goods--that have been their mainstays.
Christopher J. Alden
CEO and Co-Founder
Red Herring Communications
Corrections and clarifications
* In "Golden Arches flash pearly whites in ads" (July 3, P. 1), DDB Needham Worldwide, Chicago, is lead agency on the McDonald's Corp. "We love to see you smile" campaign but the TV frames shown are from an African-American market ad by McDonald's agency Burrell Communications.
* In "Energy drink effort stars slugger Sosa" (July 3, P. 10), the name of Hansen Beverage Co. Chairman-CEO Rodney Sacks was misspelled.
* Regarding "Top Net magazines lose dot-com bucks in advertiser shift" (June 26, P. 2), The Industry Standard said it instituted a policy in the second quarter of 2000 to restrict ad pages so its advertising-to-editorial ratio is at least 40% editorial/60% advertising in each issue.