''Salon'' is an American politically progressive
news and opinion website, created by David Talbot
in 1995. It publishes articles on U.S. politics
, culture, and current events.
Content and coverage
''Salon'' covers a variety of topics, including reviews and articles about books, films, and music;
articles about "modern life", including friendships, human sexual behavior, and relationships; and reviews and articles about technology, with a particular focus on the free and open-source software
According to the senior contributing writer for the ''American Journalism Review
'', Paul Farhi, ''Salon'' offers "provocative (if predictably liberal) political commentary and lots of sex."
In 2008, ''Salon'' launched the interactive initiative ''Open Salon
'', a social content site/blog network for its readers. Originally a curated site with some of its content being featured on ''Salon'', it fell into editorial neglect and was closed in March 2015.
Responding to the question, "How far do you go with the tabloid
sensibility to get readers?," former Salon.com editor-in-chief David Talbot
Staff and contributors
Regular contributors include the political-opinion writers Amanda Marcotte, Scott Eric Kaufman, Heather Digby Parton and Sean Illing, critic Andrew O'Hehir and pop-culture columnist Mary Elizabeth Williams
, founder and original editor-in-chief, also served several stints as CEO,
most recently replacing Richard Gingras
, who left to join Google
as head of news products in July 2011.
stepped down as editor-in-chief in November 2010 and was replaced by Kerry Lauerman
. David Daley took over the editor-in-chief position in June 2013.
Jordan Hoffner took over as CEO in May 2016.
''Salon'' was created in the wake of the San Francisco newspaper strike of 1994
, by former ''San Francisco Examiner
'' arts and features editor David Talbot
who wished to explore the potential of Web
It launched as salonmag.com in November 1995. In its early days, readers noticed a specifically Northern California flavor. In 1996, Talbot agreed: "We swim in the soup of San Francisco. There are a lot of odd fish we've plucked out of the bay here and it gives us some of that Left Coast, Weird Coast style." ''Time'' magazine named it one of the Best Web Sites of 1996.
''Salon'' purchased the virtual community
, The WELL
, in April 1999 (switching to its current URI salon.com at roughly that time), and made its initial public offering
(IPO) of Salon.com on the NASDAQ
stock exchange on June 22 of that year. Subsequently, for the month of October 1999, Nielsen/NetRatings
reported that ''Salon'' had over 2 million users.
''Salon Premium'', a pay-to-view (online) content subscription was introduced on April 25, 2001. The service signed up 130,000 subscribers and staved off discontinuation of services. However, in November 2002, the company announced it had accumulated cash and non-cash losses of $80 million, and by February 2003 it was having difficulty paying its rent and made an appeal for donations to keep the company running.
On October 9, 2003, Michael O'Donnell, the chief executive
and president of Salon Media Group, said he was leaving the company after seven years because it was "time for a change." When he left, Salon.com had accrued $83.6 million in losses since its inception, and its stock traded for 5¢ on the OTC Bulletin Board
. David Talbot, ''Salon''
's chairman and editor-in-chief at the time, became the new chief executive. Elizabeth "Betsy" Hambrecht, then ''Salon''
's chief financial officer
, became the president.
In July 2008, ''Salon'' launched ''Open Salon'', a "social content site" and "curated blog network."
It was nominated for a 2009 National Magazine Award
in the category "best interactive feature." On March 9, 2015, ''Salon'' announced it would be closing ''Open Salon'' after six years of hosting a community of writers and bloggers.
''Salon'' closed its online chat board "Table Talk" without stating an official reason for ending that section of the site on June 10, 2011.
On July 16, 2012, ''Salon'' announced that it would be featuring content from ''Mondoweiss
Salon Media Group sold The WELL
to the group of members in September 2012.
Business model and operations
''Salon'' has been unprofitable through its entire history. Since 2007, the company has been dependent upon repeated cash injections from board Chairman John Warnock
and William Hambrecht
, father of former ''Salon'' CEO Elizabeth Hambrecht. During the nine months ending in December 31, 2012, these cash contributions amounted to $3.4 million, compared to revenue in the same period of $2.7 million.
In December 2016 and January 2017, the company was evicted from its New York offices at 132 West 31st Street, a block from Madison Square Garden
, for non-payment of $90,000 in back rent.
In February 2017, Spear Point Capital invested $1 million into Salon, taking a 29% equity stake and three seats on the company's board. As of April 2019, the company had failed to file its form 10-K for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2018. On August 30, 2019 Salon.com was sold for $5 million by Salon Media Group () to privately held Salon.com, LLC which is owned by Chris Richmond
and Drew Schoentrup.
Aspects of the Salon.com site offerings, ordered by advancing date:
* Free content: around 15 new articles posted per-day, revenues wholly derived from in-page advertisements.
** Per-day new content was reduced for a time.
* ''Salon Premium'' subscription: Approximately 20 percent of new content was made available to subscribers only. Other subscription benefits included free magazines and ad-free viewing. Larger, more conspicuous ad units were introduced for non-subscribers.
* A hybrid subscription model: Readers can now read content by viewing a 15-second full screen advertisement to earn a "day pass" or gain access by subscribing to ''Salon Premium''.
* ''Salon Core'': After ''Salon Premium'' subscriptions declined from about 100,000 to 10,000, it was rebranded in 2011 as ''Salon Core'' subscriptions featuring a different mix of benefits.
* In 2018, Salon launched a beta program allowing customers to opt out of advertising in exchange for mining cryptocurrency
Retracted article on vaccine conference
An article called "Deadly Immunity" written by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.
appeared on the ''Salon'' and simultaneously in the July 14, 2005 issue of ''Rolling Stone
''. The article focused on the 2000 Simpsonwood CDC conference
and claimed that thimerosal-containing vaccines caused autism
, as well as the conspiracy theory
that government health agencies have "colluded with Big Pharma
to hide the risks of thimerosal from the public."
The article was retracted by ''Salon'' on January 16, 2011, in response to criticisms of the article as inaccurate.
In March 2016, while American tourist Otto Warmbier
was imprisoned in North Korea
for allegedly trying to steal a propaganda poster
there, the site posted an article about him headed: "This might be America's biggest idiot frat boy: Meet the UVa
student who thought he could pull a prank in North Korea." After Warmbier's death, the article was removed.
Andrew O'Hehir, the executive editor of ''Salon'', said the article was a summary of the opinions of television comedian Larry Wilmore
In September 2015, ''Salon'' published an article written by Todd Nickerson, moderator of Virtuous Pedophiles
, about his experiences with being a non-offending pedophile
, titled: "I'm a pedophile, but not a monster." This caused controversy at the time, with some commentators considering it "pro-pedophile"
and Nickerson himself subject to a "backlash." This article, along with an accompanying video and a follow-up article,
was deleted in February 2017, supposedly to protect ''Salon'' from accusations of hypocrisy
when covering Milo Yiannopoulos
's alleged support for pedophilia,
although Salon Media Group CEO and ''Salon'' acting editor-in-chief Jordan Hoffner told ''New York
'' magazine it was due to unspecified "new editorial policies."
In February 2018, it was noted that ''Salon'' was preventing readers using ad blocker
s from seeing its content. Such users are offered a choice of disabling their blocker, or allowing ''Salon'' to run an in-browser script, using the user's resources, to mine Monero
, a form of cryptocurrency.
Category:1995 establishments in California
Category:Internet properties established in 1995
Category:American news websites
Category:Online magazines published in the United States
Category:American political websites
Category:Webby Award winners
Category:Companies based in San Francisco
Category:Liberalism in the United States