NEW YORK: Although securing coverage on Gigaom was considered a top triumph by tech PR pros, they say the blog’s abrupt shut down this week has done little to alter the dense tech media landscape.
The outlet, which wrote in a blog post Monday night that it was closing due to an inability to pay its creditors, was considered unique when it first launched in 2001. However, today, with the economy driven by technology, an abundance of tech-centric blogs and journals exist.
"Whenever we would talk to a client, Gigaom would be at the top of their list for key publications that had significant influence," said Derek Lyons, Shift’s VP of technology business development. "If you were a West Coast company, being at Gigaom was a sign that you had arrived."
Even so, because of the intense competition of other outlets, such as TechCrunch, Mashable, and Re/code, a shake-out was bound to happen, according to Brendan Lewis, global head of comms for music-identification app Shazam.
"There are so many legacy or resonant media outlets that specifically focus on tech or now have tech specific sections," Lewis explained. "The tech media landscape has become a crowded space, which is great for companies that want to get coverage."
Gigaom had actually been "losing its mojo" to other tech outlets such as Re/code since founder Om Malik stepped down to become a partner with True Ventures last February, according to W2O Group MD Aaron Strout.
"It is always difficult when an alpha tech outpost like Gigaom loses one of its key founders and inspirations," Strout said. "It would be like Pete Cashmore leaving Mashable."
Lyons added that although there are a number of high quality technology publications still in existence, Gigaom had a reputation for hiring especially insightful, talented reporters who understood their beats inside and out. He noted that this is a rarity in journalism today.
"Given financial dynamics and the way that publications are going online, reporters have more pressure, more beats, and can’t focus as much," he said. "Tech reporters can’t understand the beats they are in as well as they used to, but Gigaom’s reporters did."
Pramana cofounder and partner Brian O'Shaughnessy added that Gigaom was "one of the few resources" that had broad industry reach and understanding.
"Over time, Gigaom developed deeply targeted people and events that suited many of our clients' interests," O'Shaughnessy said.
One of Gigaom’s events, its Structure Data conference, was an important platform for Foursquare, explained Lewis, who was formerly the company’s director of corporate communications.
"At that conference, we were able to talk about the data that went behind making Foursquare the really great app that it is, so there is something to be lost there," he added.
In terms of Gigaom’s staffers, Lyons said he’s confident that its writers, such as Barb Darrow and Derrick Harris, who he says were known for being the go-to for big data, will quickly land new positions.
Similarly, Linsey McNew, director of media and engagement for WCG World, said, "While [Gigaom’s closure] gives other outlets the opportunity to step-up to the plate, we are also very much looking forward to seeing where our Gigaom journalists land next in what I assume will be long, successful careers to continue the standard Gigaom got so good at preserving."
Lewis noted, however, that if a powerhouse such as Gigaom ceased publication so quickly, then it doesn’t rule out that others could follow a similar path.
PR pros react on Twitter to Gigaom’s shutdown:
It's sad to see Gigaom go. They were of the few that challenged readers to think beyond basics/PR and think about why news mattered.— Andrew Kam (@AndrewKam) March 10, 2015