There are (and were) several print publications focusing on eCommerce and trends in the marketplace. Most were loaded with pieces on technology that were over the average store owner’s head or were stuffed with articles based around the advertisers. None really did a good job at giving real-world, practical advice to the small business owner who relies upon their couple-hundred-item eCommerce store to feed their family.
When I and Joe Palko founded Solid Cactus in 2001, our goal was to serve small businesses with products and services that they could afford, would make them money and put them on par with larger merchants. Being entrepreneurs since the day we got out of college, we knew what issues impacted small businesses, and how challenging it could be at times to make a go of an online venture. We made it our goal to help others succeed at eCommerce.
In early 2007, I set out to create a publication that was geared towards this unique audience – the eCommerce entrepreneur. Drawing upon the skill set of the 100+ employees at Solid Cactus, I had a house full of experts ready to write articles and provide practical advice to the masses.
eBiz Insider was born.
The first issue was published in May 2007 and was distributed to over 15,000 small business owners in the Solid Cactus database – at no charge! The monthly publication immediately got rave reviews from readers who looked forward to taking some of the tips and techniques and incorporating it into their own business.
eBiz Insider covered topics ranging from how to set up a product photoshoot, to introducing store owners to the new-at-the-time social media sites, Twitter and Facebook. Other articles included tips on DIY pay-per-click advertising, how to write effective product copy, even how to terminate a difficult employee.
There was no other magazine like it. Here we are, a web design and Internet marketing company publishing a full-color, full-scale magazine each month that was equal to the quality of any other Internet magazine out there. We did what no other company in our space could do, or would do. It was another way we broke the mold and it made us unique.
Each issue featured a “From the Editor” written by myself and I also contributed with an in-depth article based on my own eCommerce experience in each issue as well.
Following the acquisition of Solid Cactus by the Web.com Group in April 2009, eBiz Insider moved to a bi-monthly production schedule until it ceased publication with the March/April 2010 issue. Web’s Chief Marketing Officer at the time, who I often battled with, could not see past the labor and printing costs and was blind towards the monthly ROI and good-will it contributed.
They tried to keep it as a resource after the final print edition came off the press by turning it into a digital-only version. Lack of the digital version’s readership and complaints from clients about the format led to its demise shortly thereafter.
Was I sad to see it stop being published? Absolutely. But putting a magazine together takes a lot of time, effort and money. A lot of publications switched from print to digital because of the cost factors and the ability to reach a much larger audience with a digital product. We merely followed in their footsteps, but poor execution and a pull-back of resources due to budget was the nail in the coffin.
Yes, I still have a few copies of each edition safely tucked away!
I also managed to archive all the editions and have made them available digitally for you to enjoy and marvel at how far the Internet and eCommerce has come since the first issue in 2007.