Brian Morrissey writes about the demise of tech news site Recode, which was folded into Vox this week.
Morrissey writes, “Recode raised $10 million in venture funding only to sell to Vox Media after just 18 months, saying it could not compete in a scale era. That was only partially true, since Recode had the makings of a successful boutique business media brand, only the tenor of the times was all about scaling. Recode’s ultimate demise was an inevitability once Mossberg retired in 2017 and Swisher went to The New York Times in 2018. It’s a hard sell that you’re committed to building a brand when you’re writing instead for the Times. Soon enough Recode was subsumed as a confusing, awkward sub-brand of Vox.com.
“Recode probably had the formula correct. It was a lean model that relied on an A roster of talented writers with personality and expertise. All Things D and Recode alums include Peter Kafka, Ina Fried, Arik Hesseldahl, Liz Gannes, Ken Li, Mike Isaac, Nellie Bowles, Jason Delrey, Edmund Lee and many more. And it didn’t need to churn a ton of pageviews with a business model reliant on influence vs reach.
“Why Recode never did subscriptions baffled me. There’s no reason it shouldn’t have been The Information. The main difference is a recurring revenue model of subscriptions beats relying on a conference model, which is difficult to scale. Recode as part of Vox never made much sense to me. Vox was a collection of ad-driven lifestyle assets, while Recode is an influence play more suited for B2B business models that lean on events and subscriptions.”
Read more here.