RealTime IT News

Internet World's Swan Song

I am the founder of both the Internet World magazine as well as the trade show by the similar name. Both the magazine and the event dominated the high-tech trade business for a number of years in the 1990s. Both properties along with my entire company, Mecklermedia, were sold to Penton Media in November 1998.

Now, the show is a mere shell of what it once was. And, recently, Penton announced the magazine would no longer be published except as a Web publication.

Lots of fond memories have been running through the old noggin. The first issue of what became Internet World was an 8-page newsletter called "Reaseach and Education Networking." This was published in October 1990 and displayed at the Educom Convention in Atlanta. I was prepared to give away 2000 copies of the issue. There were few takers.

By 1992, I had only 200 paid subscribers. But then serendipity struck! I ran a small event called "Electronic Publishing and Networking" in New York in January 1992. Mitch Kapor, founder of Lotus, was the keynote speaker. It was during this event that I realized, after hearing Mitch expound about the possibilities of the Internet, that my newsletter was too academic and needed to reflect possible business and consumer use. Thus, the birth of the Internet World magazine.

The first issue was a roaring success on the newsstand. Paid circulation jumped and by 1995 we were over 250,000 and growing rapidly. The trade show side was more spectacular. The Internet World show was growing by more than 200 percent every six months.

But enough of the history! The present is a different time with different informational needs and a different economy. I sense the excitement returning to technology through the rocketing growth of 802.11b (WiFi) technology. I see "pay-for-performance" searching as the killer application of the Internet. I see rapidly changing infrastructure at major enterprises -- all caused by the Internet.

Do not look back. The future is bright. Have courage and watch Wi-Fi.