PaidContent brand to be subsumed into GigaOM

Stand-alone brand will soon be no more

The PaidContent brand will soon be no more.

This week, the online publication that covers the content industry as well as anyone, announced it was being combined into GigaOm's media coverage. The move makes sense to have a single brand view, but it's sad to see the end of one of the first successful blogging brands.

It's worth noting that I have a soft spot for PaidContent. Its founder Rafat Ali, who long ago left the online publication, was the person who got me blogging back in 2003 when we met a the Boston Blogging Conference. As I wrote in my very first blog entry:

"While at the conference, I met Rafat Ali, owner, publisher, editor and chief bottle washer at Rafat is the prototypical blog publisher. Working alone in his apartment, he produces meaningful news on the paid content industry, an area I also cover extensively as a freelancer working for EContent Magazine. Rafat has freed himself from the constraints of typical corporate publishing by creating a publication where he is only answerable to himself and his readers. He has managed to cobble together a living in this fashion using the old-fashioned advertising model. I greatly admire his approach."

As you can tell, I was impressed by the notion of having an outlet for self publishing unencumbered by a publication infrastructure--just a man in his living room with his laptop--and Ali built a successful business from that. He eventually sold it for an astonishing $30 million to The Guardian

Then, in February of last year, GigaOm announced it was buying ContentNext, the umbrella brand under which PaidConent lived, from the Guardian Media Group. It was a good match, but we who read the publication regularly started to see GigaOm's brand creep into the publication more and more. This wasn't a bad thing. In fact, it made perfect sense.

And now, the PaidContent brand goes away. Times change. Business needs change and a single approach is probably the best way forward to avoid confusion. But having seen it develop and grow, a part of me will miss seeing that PaidContent newsletter in my email every day.

GigaOm is a great publication and I enjoy reading it, but I will feel a tinge of sadness as I watch the PaidContent brand leave the stage.

For more information:
- see the article announcing the change

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