The new tech publishing moguls, following in the footsteps of Jason Calacanis' Weblogs Inc. and Nick Denton's Gawker network, are moving fast to expand their networks and coverage. The newly funded Om Malik has added several writers and just launched a new redesign for his GigaOm site, which now has expanded topic coverage. The site now covers Startups, Connected Home, VOIP & Telecom, Mobile, Broadband, Software 2.0, India, Inc. and Online Games.
Today, Crunchmaster Mike Arrington added CrunchGear to the CrunchNetwork. He recently added CrunchBoard job site, and with CrunchGear will compete with Engadget, Gizmodo, CNET.com and other sites covering consumer electronics gear. He even hired John Biggs, formerly of Gizmodo to lead the effort.
Web 2.0 has a parallel Publishing 2.0 (with acknowledgement to Scott Karp), which is becoming increasingly disruptive to the established media players who have been covering tech since it came into fashion 25 years ago. Individual or group blogs were the first step, and now newly established, modestly funded networks of blogs, with lightweight business models, led by entrepreneurial people with editorial chops and vision are planting the seeds of the next generation of publishing. Rafat Ali's PaidContent.org is another pioneering content play. I would include our ZDNet blog network in this trend as well, but unlike Om, Mike or Rafat, we are already part of a large, global Web publishing network with about 120 million unique users a month.
The most likely scenario is that these fledgling, influential startups get acquired by more established media properties, with deep pockets (at least that's what the VCs investing in these properties hope). Like the first Web generation of new publications (the glory days of the Industry Standard and Red Herring, for example), the startups have to hope the bubble doesn't burst a second time. Anything is possible, but the movement of more advertising online, a flatter world, broadband everywhere and the dawn of rich media experiences (podcasts, vloggging, IPTV) puts the odds in their favor if they continue to do what got them to this juncture in the first place.