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October 10, 2005



Good points Jonathan. I agree wholeheartedly about the format -- it's good to see a print mag go online but aside from issues related to search engine placement and advertising, there are other issues that said option doesn't address either.

I discussed some of these on an entry on my site last night. Like accessibility, usability, and other computer-friendly items that could work to MBA's advantage. Personally, one of my local papers uses a similar system and I tried it for about a week before deciding that I'd rather read the real thing than a digital reproduction of it...

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I find it rather strange that they didn't take the opportunity to go ouside the boundaries of print media. You are correct in pointing out Dirt Rag as a great example of using the format to create a "community". They have their own forums, and on-line specific media. You don't get the print version on the web, and you don't get the web version in print. It makes sense, and MBA really missed an opportunity here to expand, or even re-invent themselves. Something that is long overdue!


Personally, I don't see the draw of the digital magazine. The purpose of a magazine like MBA is two fold. Bike porn combined with mountain bike content. The ogling of components, bikes, and scenerio is diminished some with the lose of tactile connection of glossy paper. And you don't have the ability to turn the pages at all angles like a centerfold.

I agree wholeheartedly that they are missing the boat completely by not taking more of their content and making it accessible online for free. Their current web page is woefully outdated, but even so there are tons of golden nuggets of information in the letters pages, which do come up on google searches. The cycling public is information hungry. We want constant flow of content. Yet at the same time with all the cycling information resources available on the net, one of my favortite places is the bookstore with the largest selection of bicycling magazine.

MBA has lost a lot over the years but they have a lot of history and still cater a little to the XC racer where few others still tread. I wish they'd make create a BLOG like sight that is updated on a regular basis. It would give them much more credibility and I'd still read the magazine.


The NY Times recently put its Op-Ed content behind a subscriber wall, and it seems to have dampened the buzz: http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2005/10/11/154544/44

Seems like you'd want to put value-added stuff behind the wall--routes, diets, detailed technical articles--and keep the reviews and features out front for free.

Another thing about online content, you have to fight against the Search Engine Optimized crap that's being produced by trained monkeys. Anything online had better be blog-friendly or it's going to get lost behind a sea of cruft.


There's a substantial benefit in online publishing for foreign subscribers, who would no longer have to pay freight, which tends to significantly bump up subscription costs.
Then of course there's the immediate delivery, rather than waiting weeks/months for arrival.


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