The H, a site that focused on news of interest to developers, particularly those on the open source community has closed down, citing the impossibility of making enough money to support its own existence.
The news broke this morning with a short post from Editor-in-chief D J Walker-Morgan, who wrote:
Although The H has produced many widely read stories, it has not been possible to effectively monetise that traffic to produce a working business model.
Because of this, after four and a half years as The H and six years online, The H is, sadly, closing its doors. We thank all our readers for their deep interest and engagement. Work is taking place to create an archive to ensure that the content of the site will remain publicly accessible.
By the time the news broke the plug had been pulled, although the site is still accepting comments, the majority of which express sorrow at seeing it shut down.
The first comment was "Wow, did not see this coming" but that is perhaps part of the problem that sites like the H face - its enthusiastic users don't contemplate what is needed for continued existence. The H provided high quality reports and so huge number of visitors could descend on it each time it came up with a popular story. Having lots of visitors is an expensive matter, but having lots of advertising to being in a secure revenue stream would deter visitors. A Catch 22 situation. Adblocker software makes the poor situation even worse.
Comments have suggested considering a subscription option, but establishing such a system would have involved an upfront cost which presumably its parent company, Heise-Medien whose German site www.heise.de is continuing to provide news, albeit in German, would be unwilling to bear especially in the light of how such systems are disliked by users.
Another commenter ask "Have you considered accepting flatter donations?" but while that might work for blog sites, and for perhaps sites as big as Wikipedia, it's not a model likely to be considered appropriate for a site like The H which presumably needed thousands of dollars not the petty cash that flatter produces.
Here at I Programmer we are very sorry to see The H go and would like to put on record our thanks for the great service it provided.