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Internet

Web Review makes comeback

After slow advertising sales forced its closure in May, Web Review is back in business.

After slow advertising sales forced its closure in May, Web Review is back in business.

When it ceased publication, Web Review declared that ad sales were insufficient to support the site alone and that it could no longer afford to give away its articles for free to users.

The demise of Web Review--a popular, general-interest Web site that covered news, politics, and technology--resonated deeply with Web publishers, some of whom feared the tradition of free content on the Net might be straining businesses to the breaking point.

Now Web Review's parent company, Songline Studios, has resuscitated the site by forming an alliance with Miller Freeman, a San Francisco-based publisher of trade magazines.

Together the companies hope to pool their marketing, editorial, and sales resources to keep Web Review afloat. Miller Freeman will use Web Review's site to promote its print magazine, called Web Techniques and a trade show for Web developers.

"The combination of what we all do well is much stronger than each of our components," Regina Ridley, a senior vice president of Miller Freeman, said today. "We're used to targeting markets and selling advertising in dedicated markets."

Songline Studios and Miller Freeman will continue to operate as separate companies. Financial terms of the alliance were not disclosed.

The companies plan to focus Web Review more tightly on its audience of Web developers, rather a general interest readership, said David Sims, managing editor of the site.

Although the Web offers new opportunities to publishers, Sims said Web Review's new editorial focus and bolstered ad sales support will be crucial for its survival.

"The Web presents a small barrier to entry for two dedicated hobbyists in a garage," Sims said. "As a business, you find there are the same barriers to entry as in a print publication. You have to edit it and print it and publish, and that all costs money."