Web publisher takes step back to the future
Jim McCarthy is an old-fashioned kind
of guy. He likes the feel of a printed newspaper
in his hands, the way the words and
the photos work together on a piece of
newsprint, the way he can pass a newspaper
along to a friend.
Nothing unusual about that? Try this:
McCarthy is publisher of a Reno-based
Web site, a fellow who made a nice side
income from the Web during the glorious
days of the dot-com boom.
Today, he’s launched a print version of
his Web product, and he sees much of the
future of his business in old-fashioned inkon-
paper rather than the Web.
Pocket Anywhere PDF Journal marks
the 29-year-old McCarthy’s first step into
moving his Web site into a print format.
Users of his Web site pocketanywhere.com
can download a free PDF version of the
journal after providing only some modest
registration information their names and
their e-mail addresses.
The publication they print from that
PDF file is a four-page, legal-sized
newsletter filled with articles for users of
personal digital assistants reviews of new
products, handy tips, do-it-yourself projects.
In all, it’s quite a bit like the Web content
of pocketanywhere.com. But
McCarthy thinks the financial future lies
with print products rather than Web sites
in part because he believes advertisers
and writers alike find more credibility in
“Advertisers feel more comfortable with
print,” he said.
Pocketanywhere.com known as
PalmGuru.com until the maker of Palm
personal digital assistants demanded a
license fee for use of the name made
some decent money from advertising before
the dot-com bust.
But even during the euphoria,
McCarthy worried that advertisers had
unrealistic expectations about Web advertising.
And now that expectations are down to
earth, he said, advertisers want the sort of
accountability they get from print products.
At the same time, McCarthy said, the
writers he wants to attract to his publication
tend to take their work for print more
seriously than their Web-based work.
(The first print editions of Pocket
Anywhere PDF Journal feature two
bylines. McCarthy is joined by Adam
Purcell who, McCarthy acknowledged, is
actually McCarthy writing under a pen
name. It wouldn’t look right, he said, for all
the stories to appear under the same
The PDF version of the publication
doesn’t cost much about 80 hours of
McCarthy’s free time and about $100 to
copy and mail the publication to some
Even so, the first editions drew about
3,000 registered readers. That’s a figure that
McCarthy thinks he can grow, and he
hopes to move to a publication in a traditional
newspaper format by early next year.
“Definitely, I want it to have the feel of
a newspaper,” he said. “I like the Web, but I
think people like to have something in
He said that’s particularly important as
his publication targets an average user of a
PDA rather than the hard-core, technologically
savvy users who frequent Web sites.
That doesn’t mean he’s going to give up
the Web entirely. He sees the Web as a
good vehicle for discussion groups, for journals
and for the sort of detailed background
that won’t fit into a newspaper’s pages.
His Web site draws about 30,000
unique visitors a month 10 times the
number that have signed up for the PDF
Whether the publication is in print or
on the Web, McCarthy is quite a ways
from quitting his day job as a Web developer
for the state university and community
The first editions of the PDF journal
include only a couple of ads at $20 each,
and one of them comes from a software
company that McCarthy runs. That’s not
enough to support a wife and two children,
with another child on the way.
But McCarthy, who bubbles over with
possibilities for the publication, is confident
he can publish and profitably distribute
10,000 copies a month by early next year
and grow his distribution by 10,000 copies
After all, he said, “This is serious. This
isn’t just a way to get free software programs.”
The governor’s newest directive opens the door for live sports, entertainment and events to begin, though with restricted capacity. It also sets a 1,000-person capacity limit on trade shows, business conventions and other conferences.