A Trip Down Memory Lane


“There’s not much money in the me-zine so far. In February, Amazon.com began a voluntary payment system that allows readers to put their money where their mouse is. By early April, Sullivan had taken in nearly $9,000 through the Amazon system and direct contributions. Kaus had just over $1,000 through Amazon; Postrel netted $630 through Amazon and $100 through PayPal, another payment system she uses; Marshall, the last of the group to add the pay feature, had less than $1,000. “Right now we’re a joke from a business standpoint,” says Sullivan. Two days after saying that, though, he met with his partner in New York to discuss “the next phase.” An archive of Sullivan’s book reviews is in the works, and perhaps an interactive book club. His site got 120,000 unique visitors in March. Soon, Sullivan says, he will try to tempt a sponsor,” – Brent Cunningham, Columbia Journalism Review, January 2002.

In the end, we got 30,000 of you.

If you click on the link, it will take you to a PDF file of all the early press on the Dish in the very first year or two. Robert Cameron, who helped me set this up at the turn of the century, found it in his files. It’s a time-capsule in many ways. Here’s a flavor:

Mr Sullivan is a “blogger” (short for web logger): one of the tens of thousands of individuals and small groups who publish such online diaries. The vast majority of web logs are little more than regularly updated letters to friends with rambling accounts of day-to-day life. Many see them as the latest incarnation of the personal website with family photos and holiday greetings that was briefly popular in the late 1990s. But a few dozen bloggers with broader interests, Mr Sullivan among them, have begun to attract much wider audiences.


Maybe in six months these me-zines will be dead. But maybe not. Maybe big media will scoop up the best ones. Maybe a group of writers will contribute to a single site, theoretically making it easier to sell ads and find sponsors. Maybe some will get popular enough on their own to have sponsors. “It’s a terrific forum,” says [Joanne] Jacobs. “The question is, Can it be sustained?”

I guess some things never change, do they?

(Photos of Dish readers used with their permission)