The php|architect brand is going through a major overhaul with a new website, improvements to the magazine and a few other changes around the company. I caught up with Marco Tabini (CEO of MTA) to ask him a few questions about it all:
Q: Tell me some about the update/restructuring (like what prompted the change)
A: As of December 2008, php|architect will enter its sixth year of publication. Much has changed within the PHP community - and in our company'"since we launched our magazine, and we felt that it was time to ensure that our brand and our flagship product were up-to-date with the market they serve.
The process of change actually started earlier this summer, when we launched our new line of training courses - the first truly comprehensive training program designed specifically for PHP developers. Our brand identity and the magazine were the next logical targets - particularly when you consider how long they have been around and how many people they reach every month.
In addition, one problem that we have always had with the magazine has been its publication schedule - we initially created php|architect as a PDF-only publication, and since we've switched to the print format we've been struggling with the management of our publication timelines. The unfortunate reality is that postal services throughout the world sometimes take a *really* long time to deliver third-class mail and, historically. we have never done as good a job of taking that into account as we could'"something that we intend to fix with this relaunch.
Finally, our aim with php|architect has always been to create a resource capable of providing the PHP community with the educational tools and knowledge needed by professionals who work and operate in world-class, enterprise-level environments. We felt that our current price point and distribution strategy had moved away from this core goal, and that a major adjustment was needed to bring us back on track.
Q: What does this mean for current readers/subscribers?
A: A lot of good things! First of all, the cost of a subscription goes down to as low as $29.99 for twelve issues - and that includes both the print *and* the PDF versions of the magazine. Naturally, we're going to make good on all our current subscribers and extend their subscriptions based on the cost of the magazine when they signed up for it - thus, most people should see their remaining issue counts go up considerably at no extra cost, and new subscribers will be able to finally get access to the magazine at a very reasonable price.
In addition, our current subscribers (as well as the new ones!) will enjoy better delivery times, and all the advantages that come with the new format.
Q: What all is involved in the change? Are there any changes to the magazine(s)?
A: Much of the work that is involved in the relaunch of our activities will go on behind the scenes, but visitors to our websites will note lots of changes over the coming months'"starting with a minor redesign of our site to accommodate the new logo and brand identity, as well as the new pricing and subscription strategy for the magazine.
Starting with the January issue, we are targeting a 45-day window for shipment of the magazine'"meaning that the print copies of the January issue, for example, will be mailed out to subscribers around the beginning of December - thus ensuring more prompt delivery in everybody's mailboxes. In addition, the entire magazine will switch to full-colour printing throughout - thus providing a richer experience for our users and a more challenging and fun environment for us to develop our work in. We will continue to support the PDF version using our popular DRM-free distribution and personalization system, and try to synchronize the arrival of the print issue with the release of the PDF file as closely as possible.
Also for the first time, we are publishing our editorial calendar for all of 2009. This will help readers know what's coming, advertisers better plan their campaigns and authors draw inspiration for their writing activities.
Q: Will there be new things available immediately after the change?
Once the initial brand relaunch is complete, we are planning to re-engineer our site to provide a smoother shopping experience and better account management facilities. Since we relaunched our website almost a year ago, our web-based sales have more than doubled, and our back-end infrastructure has handled the growth without any problems. On the front-end side, however, we have done a considerable amount of research on the habits and needs of our customers and have discovered areas ripe for improvements that we couldn't even imagine before, and we will be redesigning some areas of our website to reflect the lessons we have learned.
In addition, we have some great promotions planned between here and New Year's - including a comeback for our greatly popular "Seven Days of Christmas" series of offers over the holidays. We skipped 7DOX last year, and our users gave us an earful for it, so we'll make sure to keep our priorities straight this time!