Maker Faire, Make magazine shut down

Maker Media, the company that gave birth to the popular DIY event and publication, halts operations. Could it bounce back as a nonprofit?

Edward Moyer Senior Editor
Edward Moyer is a senior editor at CNET and a many-year veteran of the writing and editing world. He enjoys taking sentences apart and putting them back together. He also likes making them from scratch. ¶ For nearly a quarter of a century, he's edited and written stories about various aspects of the technology world, from the US National Security Agency's controversial spying techniques to historic NASA space missions to 3D-printed works of fine art. Before that, he wrote about movies, musicians, artists and subcultures.
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Maker Faire 2018

A display at the 2018 Maker Faire in the San Francisco Bay Area exhorts makers of all stripes to get their DIY in gear.

James Martin/CNET

The company behind the Maker Faire and Make magazine has ceased operations and laid off its staff of 22, according to Maker Media founder Dale Dougherty.

"I hope to get control of the assets in a new organization, which might be a nonprofit," Dougherty said in an email Saturday.

Maker Faire captures the DIY spirit in art, science, music and robotics

See all photos

TechCrunch reported the news earlier, and Dougherty told the publication that though the fair and Maker Media's DIY content remain popular, the financial end of things hasn't panned out. "It works for people but it doesn't necessarily work as a business," he told TechCrunch.

Dougherty told the site that some of Maker Media's biggest successes have been in education so shifting to a nonprofit model might make sense. He also said he wants to keep Make's online archive alive and continue letting third parties license the Maker Faire name for affiliated events.

"We're not necessarily going to do everything we did in the past, but I'm committed to keeping the print magazine going and the Maker Faire licensing program," Dougherty told TechCrunch.

The fair kicked off in 2006 in San Mateo, California, and eventually cropped up in nearly 50 countries worldwide. It billed itself as a "family-friendly showcase of invention and creativity that gathers together tech enthusiasts, crafters, educators, tinkerers, food artisans, hobbyists, engineers, science clubs, artists, students and commercial exhibitors."

The magazine, which began a year earlier, catered to a similar do-it-yourself-minded crowd, with tutorials and other features.

In 2017, the various fairs attracted more than 1.5 million people, according to the Make website.