The Industry Standard Returns

Posted on February 4, 2008

Industry Standard 2008The Industry Standard ceased publicatio in 2001 at a time when many print tech publications were struggling. Today, it is back in a web-only format. TechCrunch reports that the site will showcase outside tech feeds and also hire freelance writers to write short tech articles. The Industry Standard's Derek Butcher compared it to the Huffington Post's online publishing model.
The plan is to bring in news feeds from other sources, and build a reputation for good industry analysis from regular contributors including marketing guru Guy Kawasaki, venture capitalist Fred Wilson, and blogger Matt Marshall. The site will also contract with freelance journalists to write 300-to-500-word posts on Web companies and technology topics. Each contributor will be limited to three posts a week, to make sure no one writer dominates the conversation. "It's like the Huffington Post," says general manager Derek Butcher, "with the key difference that we will actually pay our contributors." Breaking news will be included too, but mostly as feeds from other sources.
The new Inudstry Standard will also offer community predictions or what they are calling a "prediction market." Standard users can place bets or forecasts on hot tech issues using virtual cash. The AP says users who predict better will be given more fake money (Standard Dollars) to bet with.
Aside from tech news, the San Francisco-based site will also feature a "prediction market" where users place virtual "bets" to forecast events in the industry, such as mergers, or how many of a certain gadget might sell by year's end.

For instance, when news breaks that Microsoft wants to acquire Yahoo, betters can begin voting on whether Yahoo will accept the deal.

Users will have profiles and be able to bet against a group of friends or the whole market.

Those with the best track records will accumulate the most net worth and be able to wager more virtual cash on their next bet, Butcher said.
The issue everyone is trying to get a handle on lately is whether or not the Microsoft-Yahoo acquisition will happen. Currently, the Standard's prediction market gives this merger a 50% chance. Betting closes more quickly on some predictions than it does on others.

The Standard's Derek Butcher said, "With a market metaphor, you are enhancing or exaggerating the influence of the people with the most money or most knowledge. The people who are betting correctly more often will have more money to bet with."

That might be true with real markets involving real money. The Standard's prediction market is using virtual money. It's hard to see how these community forecasts will be very reliable but that doesn't mean people won't want to check the forecasts or offer their own predictions. The AP says the Industry Standard is still owned by the International Data Group.