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@Geoff - I think it far easier to start a company on the right track, than to change the practices of established businesses. Then again, if the subject matter is similar enough and the community is strong enough, who knows?

@Bruce - it may be part of the old way of doing business, where distance from customers meant more credibility and seriousness about one's work. Changing direction is a concern for established businesses. A product is not the future of your business, but you've got "x" customers who are buying it now. You don't want to upset things with them, esp. if margins are still good, you've got a cash cow. Then again, you don't innovate, you die. There is also the conversation around short term profit and management by quarters... you bring a good example.

Valeria,

You are right (again :) ) in regards to the print publications. I consider myself a loyal customer but not part of a community. The loyalty is also in question as the WSJ makes impulsive moves based on ownership changes/beliefs as opposed to the readers.

The WSJ has continuously evolved and improved but recent changes appear to go against long term directions. This may lead to higher profits/more newstand sales but not towards customer loyalty/community.

What will be interesting to see is if Ars Technica can deploy best practices across Conde Nast...

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