Let us now gather to mourn Business 2.0, a terminal patient who lived way beyond all professional predictions before meeting her inevitable end.
Usually when you see your magazine wrapped in paper that says "This is your last issue," it's because you failed to pay the bill, whether by negligence or apathy. In this case, B2.0 obviously failed to pay their bills.
This is your last issue of Business 2.0 magazine.
We're writing to inform you that Business 2.0 magazine will no longer be published in print form.
And on it goes. Since Time Warner had assumed publication of B2.0 following the dot-bomb apocalypse, we'll be getting an issue of Fortune for every 2 issues of B2.0 left on our subscriptions, which is ass-backwards since Fortune is a bi-weekly. But whatcha gonna do?
Survivors of the Web 1.0 Bubble remember B2.0 as one of the great purveyors of dot-com bullshit. Each issue was packed with visual explanations of profitless business models, vivid descriptions of serial or concurrent entrepreneurship with six-month exit strategies, unaccountable projections and speculative charts, and columnists who declared that the whole Fortune 500 of 1998 would be dead and gone by 2005. In other words, it was essential reading. And it was fucking great.
Oy, and the ads! At its late-'90s peak, B2.0 would literally crash your inbox with 400+ pages of four-color ads for web services. It was like Modern Bride for nerds with VC funding.
The magazine had some good issues after the Time Warner revival, but it had lost its way the past few years, with fluffy repeating cover features like "The 101 Dumbest Moments in Business," which primarily consisted of random criminality and Fark like a kindergarten teacher moonlighting as a stripper. In 2005, B2.0 also ran a cover feature on "The CEOs' secret handbook," which actually turned out to be pure plagiarism of a book published in 1944. More recently, B2.0 celebrated domain-parking and spam-blogging as great businesses to get in on.
So it was clearly time for B2.0 to go. And perhaps nothing said it better than the cover of their anorexic final issue, now available on newsstands and my upstairs bathroom. (Click below to see it.)
This cover is like Roger Clemens announcing he's pitching his last game, and then one-hopping four pitches, farting into a microphone, and heading for the dugout. How to make money in real estate? An egregious web 2.0 namecheck? And the self-declaration as a "collector's item"? Oy. And just to depart with utmost class, an email spam pushing other mags.
Of course, it was undeniably absurd and unsustainable to try to cover the Internet in print; the companies that read and advertise this pub long ago shifted their advertising dollars online. And what exactly is the concept of "business 2.0" anymore; isn't using the Internet just business? Or, as Casey put it: "there’s nothing too 2.0 about stories that suggest you buy low and sell high." Especially when, in the case of real estate, "low" is highly debatable.
But the low point of Business 2.0 (the magazine) was not up for debate. Her time had passed. Now let us bury her.