Ars Technica (/ˌɑːrz ˈtɛknɪkə/; Latin-derived for the "art of
technology") is a website covering news and opinions in technology,
science, politics, and society, created by Ken Fisher and Jon Stokes
in 1998. It publishes news, reviews, and guides on issues such as
computer hardware and software, science, technology policy, and video
games. Many of the site's writers are postgraduates and some work for
research institutions. Articles on the website are written in a
less-formal tone than those in traditional journals.
Ars Technica was privately owned until May 2008, when it was sold to
Condé Nast Digital, the online division of
Condé Nast Publications.
Condé Nast purchased the site, along with two others, for $25 million
and added it to the company's Wired Digital group, which also includes
Wired and, formerly, Reddit. The staff mostly works from home and has
offices in Boston, Chicago, London, New York City, and San Francisco.
The operations of
Ars Technica are funded primarily by online
advertising, and it has offered a paid subscription service since
2001. The website generated controversy in 2010, when it
experimentally prevented readers who used advertisement-blocking
software from viewing the site.
4.1 Advertisement block
5 See also
8 External links
9 Further reading
Ken Fisher and Jon Stokes created the
Ars Technica website and limited
liability company in 1998. Its purpose was to publish computer
hardware- and software-related news articles and guides; in their
words, "the best multi-OS, PC hardware, and tech coverage possible
while ... having fun, being productive, and being as informative
and as accurate as possible". "Ars technica" is a
Latin phrase that
translates to "technological art". The website published news,
reviews, guides, and other content of interest to computer
enthusiasts. Writers for
Ars Technica were geographically distributed
across the United States at the time; Fisher lived in his parents'
house in Boston, Massachusetts, Stokes in Chicago, Illinois, and the
other writers in their respective cities.
On May 19, 2008,
Ars Technica was sold to
Condé Nast Digital, the
online division of
Condé Nast Publications.[a] The sale was part of a
Condé Nast Digital of three unaffiliated websites costing
$25 million in total: Ars Technica, Webmonkey, and HotWired. Ars
Technica was added to the company's Wired Digital group, which
included Wired and Reddit. In an interview with The New York Times,
Fisher said other companies offered to buy
Ars Technica and the site's
writers agreed to a deal with
Condé Nast because they felt it offered
them the best chance to turn their "hobby" into a business. Fisher,
Stokes, and the eight other writers at the time were employed by
Condé Nast, with Fisher as editor-in-chief. Layoffs at Condé
Nast in November 2008 affected websites owned by the company "across
the board", including Ars Technica.
On May 5, 2015,
Ars Technica launched its United Kingdom site to
expand its coverage of issues related to the UK and Europe. The UK
site began with around 500,000 readers and had reached roughly 1.4
million readers a year after its launch. In September 2017, Condé
Nast announced that it was significantly downsizing its Ars Technica
UK arm, and laid off all but one member of its permanent editorial
The content of articles published by
Ars Technica has generally
remained the same since its creation in 1998 and are categorized by
four types: news, guides, reviews, and features. News articles relay
Ars Technica also hosts OpenForum, a free Internet
forum for the discussion of a variety of topics.
Originally, most news articles published by the website were relayed
from other technology-related websites.
Ars Technica provided short
commentary on the news, generally a few paragraphs, and a link to the
original source. After being purchased by Condé Nast, Ars Technica
began publishing more original news, investigating topics, and
interviewing sources themselves. A significant portion of the news
articles published there now are original. Relayed news is still
published on the website, ranging from one or two sentences to a few
Ars Technica's features are long articles that go into great depth on
their subject. For example, the site published a guide on CPU
architecture in 1998 named "Understanding CPU caching and
performance". An article in 2009 discussed in detail the theory,
physics, mathematical proofs, and applications of quantum
computers. The website's 18,000-word review of Apple Inc.'s iPad
described everything from the product's packaging to the specific type
of integrated circuits it uses.
Ars Technica is written in a less-formal tone than that found in a
traditional journal. Many of the website's regular writers
have postgraduate degrees, and many work for academic or private
Website cofounder Jon Stokes published the
computer architecture textbook Inside The Machine in 2007; John
Timmer performed postdoctoral research in developmental
neurobiology; Timothy Lee is a scholar at the Cato Institute, a
public-policy institute, which has republished
Ars Technica articles
by him. Biology journal Disease Models & Mechanisms called
Ars Technica a "conduit between researchers and the public" in
On September 12, 2012,
Ars Technica recorded its highest daily traffic
ever with its iPhone 5 event coverage. It recorded 15.3 million page
views, 13.2 million of which came from its live blog platform of the
John Timmer is the science editor for Ars. He also teaches
scientific writing and science journalism at Stony Brook University
and Weill Cornell Medical College.
He earned his undergraduate degree from
Columbia University and his
University of California, Berkeley
University of California, Berkeley and worked as a postdoc at
Memorial Sloan Kettering. During his postdoc, he started
losing interest in practicing science, and started writing freelance
articles about science, including for Ars. In 2008, when Conde
Nast bought Ars, he became the site's full-time science editor.
The cost of operating
Ars Technica has always been funded primarily by
online advertising. Originally handled by Federated Media
Publishing, selling advertising space on the website is now managed by
Condé Nast. In addition to online advertising,
Ars Technica has
sold subscriptions to the website since 2001, now named Ars Premier
subscriptions. Subscribers are not shown advertisements, and receive
benefits including the ability to see exclusive articles, post in
certain areas of the
Ars Technica forum, and participate in live chat
rooms with notable people in the computer industry. To a lesser
extent, revenue is also collected from content sponsorship. A series
of articles about the future of collaboration was sponsored by
IBM, and the site's Exploring Datacenters section is sponsored by
data-management company NetApp. In the past,
Ars Technica collected
shared revenue from affiliate marketing by advertising deals and
discounts from online retailers, and from the sale of Ars
On March 5, 2010,
Ars Technica experimentally blocked readers who used
Adblock Plus—one of several computer programs that stop
advertisements from being displayed in a web browser—from viewing
the website. Fisher estimated 40% of the website's readers had the
software installed at the time. The next day, the block was lifted,
and the article "Why Ad Blocking is devastating to the sites you love"
was published on Ars Technica, persuading readers not to use the
software on websites they care about:
... blocking ads can be devastating to the sites you love. I am
not making an argument that blocking ads is a form of stealing, or is
immoral, or unethical ... It can result in people losing their
jobs, it can result in less content on any given site, and it
definitely can affect the quality of content. It can also put sites
into a real advertising death spin.
The block and article were controversial, generating articles on other
websites about them, and the broader issue of advertising
ethics. Readers of
Ars Technica generally followed Fisher's
persuasion; the day after his article was published, 25,000 readers
who used the software had allowed the display of advertisements on Ars
Technica in their browser, and 200 readers had subscribed to Ars
In February 2016, Fisher noted, "That article lowered the ad-block
rate by 12 percent, and what we found was that the majority of people
blocking ads on our site were doing it because other sites were
irritating them." In response to an increasing use of ad blockers, Ars
Technica intends to[update] identify readers who filter out
advertisements and ask them to support the site by several means.
Video game journalism
Condé Nast Digital was named CondéNet at the time.
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Official United Kingdom website
Yong, Ed (29 July 2010). "On the Origin of Science Writers". National
Geographic Phenomena Blog.
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