Peter Kafka

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Portfolio Lives! Sort Of: Web Site Adopted by Condé Nast’s Corporate Cousin.

tales-from-the-cryptNever say never: Condé Nast, which is closing down its Portfolio business magazine, has decided not to turn off the lights at Portfolio.com. Instead, it is shifting control of the Web site–essentially, the Portfolio.com address and a couple years of archived content–over to American City Business Journals, its corporate cousin in the Advance Publications family.

Plans for the move were first reported yesterday by the New York Observer.

The swap is really a testament to the power of Google (GOOG) and the long-tail theory: Even though Condé had been running Portfolio.com with a skeleton crew since the beginning of the year, the site was still generating four to five million page views a month, primarily because of search queries, says Condé Nast Group President David Carey. So that alone made Portfolio.com worth saving.

It will now serve as the central hub for ACBJ, a collection of 40 local business publications (including one I used to work for many moons ago). But it won’t just be an aggregator, insists ACBJ President Tim Bradbury. He intends to rebuild the site’s staff–he’s keeping two of the last Portfolio.com employees and intends to launch with a full-time editorial staff of five, plus freelancers–and pump out new content.

Bradbury says he’d “like to get the old band back together,” but I’m not sure exactly what that means. In the last few months of Portfolio.com’s life, the site was essentially a blogging platform for the excellent duo of Felix Salmon, who covered finance, and Jeff Bercovici, who covered media. But Salmon jumped ship for Reuters prior to the shutdown, so he’s presumably locked up. No word on Bercovici’s plans. But even if Bradbury can’t get those two back on board, I’m guessing there’s no shortage of applicants for full-time and contract slots.

Here’s the release:

New York, NY, May 20, 2009 – Portfolio.com will become part of the American City Business Journal’s bizjournals.com effective in July, it was announced today by Tim Bradbury, President, American City Business Journals, New Media, (ACBJ) and David Carey, Group President, Condé Nast. ACBJ and Condé Nast are units of Advance Publications.

Bizjournals.com will oversee both the editorial and business sides of the site. The Portfolio.com editorial team and sales staff will be based in New York. In addition to newly created content, the site will share content with other Condé Nast sites including Wired.com, GolfDigest.com, and WWD.com, as it did previously. The site will also be the home of the archives of all the popular content published by Portfolio’s print and digital properties over the last two years.

“We are excited about continuing Portfolio.com and including the site in the bizjournals network because we were impressed by Portfolio’s strong web presence, its clean and crisp design, and its voice in the business journalism marketplace,” Tim Bradbury, President, American City Business Journals, New Media said. “We believe our readers will benefit as the re-launched Portfolio.com will have a stronger focus on industry news and a greater mission to offer information relevant to today’s business professionals.”

On top of its existing strengths, Portfolio.com will be able to leverage the collaborative skills and insights of the more than 600 ACBJ business journalists around the country. The site now will have access to local market intelligence and work collaboratively with ACBJ newsrooms across the country, presenting the most important local insights through a national lens and making it unique among national business media.

“We knew that Portfolio.com was a highly valuable asset, with an established digital brand, strong direct navigation by users, and a solid long tail of traffic from content published over the past two years,” David Carey, Group President, Condé Nast said. “We saw ACBJ as a perfect match due to its great editorial resources in the business arena, and view this as a win for both Portfolio.com’s readers and the company.”

Condé Nast Portfolio magazine and its website Portfolio.com, launched in April 2007 and the magazine closed in April 2009. The site provided insight into the day’s top business stories, with analysis from bloggers and columnists. During those two years Portfolio.com grew to 2.8 million monthly uniques and won industry praise with awards such as the MIN:  Best of Web 2008, MIN: Hottest Launch of the Year 2007, WebAward: Outstanding Achievement in Website Development 2007, and Webby nominees in Best Business blog and Financial Services categories.


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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work