Wireless Watch Japan is back – with a new URL, a new Web site, new staff, anda new service model. We’re ready to go for a 2003 fast proving to be a breakout year for wireless in Japan. WWJ regulars will recall that our last email newsletter and video programwere posted around April 30. Since then, the site’s been in hibernation mode while we rebuilt the backend, upgraded servers, and thought long and hardabout how to place WWJ onto a sustainable, future-oriented footing. And Here We Are!
To those of you who mailed enquiring about our existence (or asking why the site hadn’t been updated): Thanks for your concern! We’ve simply been too swamped with planning to respond to individual queries, but as you can see, rumors of WWJ’s demise are greatly overstated.
We’ve basically revamped the entire Wireless Watch Japan service offering to bring subscribers more content, more coverage, and more features – all aimed at creating a global, mobile-industry-focused, Japan-specific wireless community. So what led us to make these admittedly radical changes? To answer that, a little WWJ history is in order.
WWJ began in March 2001 as a humble, free, weekly mail ‘zine issued via the J@pan Inc magazine Web site. By late 2002, there were over 2,500 subscribers on the list and we had established a global rep as the No. 1 source of insider information on the business of wireless in Japan. Also in late 2001, I started working with independent videographer Lawrence Cosh-Ishii to create a weekly video newsmagazine and within a year, in the early web video online days, we were serving over 10,000 video streams per month. By last June, we had also moved the WWJ media project to its own domain, and had to beg and borrow increasing amounts of bandwidth and server space.
All this popularity – while gratifying – meant that WWJ had grown well beyond its original part-time roots, and both Lawrence and myself were starting to spend extraordinary amounts of time, unpaid, on the project. And while we initially believed that finding a sponsor to help cover costs would be easy, this proved to be much tougher than we expected; absent a full-time sales and marketing staff to promote WWJ as the valuable advertising channel we all know it to be, we just couldn’t land more than a few token sponsorship contracts.
Driven by the cold reality of costs versus benefits, we decided to rebuild the site on a user-pays basis. But we also realised that charging for subscriber access meant we had to offer even more content, features, and services than the old WWJ.
Perhaps the most exciting development has been the recent staff expansion. We’re delighted to announce that John Alderman, a journalist, writer, mediawatcher, and author of “Sonic Boom” (an in-depth examination of the music file trading phenomenon) has joined WWJ as video host and reporter, while long-time Tokyo freelance writer Paul Kallender will be filing regular news reports and other text stories.
Between them, John and Paul (we’re still searching for a Ringo and George!) have covered a wide range of topics central to the business of wireless in Japan and bring a wealth of tech coverage experience to the service; we’re delighted to have them aboard.
We’ve also added (or are in the process of adding) discussion forums and a PR posting service as we aim to encourage the lively exchange of wireless information and expertise between WWJ community members. Based on the amount of feedback we received in April (when we asked existing WWJ subscribers to offer insights into the US and Euro mobile markets) there is clearly a tremendous amount of experience and knowledge in the WWJ community – we’d like to foster that community and serve as the platform for inter-networking.
Please take a look around the site, let us know what you think of the design and new service plan, and don’t forget to actually subscribe. We’re confident that we’ve put together a package that offers a hefty amount of value for your money.
As always, your feedback is most welcome.