For the past ten years or so, it’s been tough times for the certbiz, especially for former flagship publications fallen on hard times, and squeezed by falling ad revenues. In today’s blog post, I’m pleased to report on an infusion of cash, enthusiasm, new content, and plenty of energy at a couple of important digital properties in this market niche — namely, Certification Magazine (http://certmag.com) and GoCertify.com. Both of these entities have been acquired by the Vallejo Media Group in the past few months (this company is itself pretty new having itself been registered as a Limited Liability Corporation, or LLC, on April 10, 2013 according to Bizapedia).
The Vallejo Media Group acquires both Certmag and GoCertify.com to team up two major digital landmarks on the IT Cert landscape.
This new infusion made itself known to me about six weeks ago, when I entered into negotiations with the Vallejo Media Group to write for Certmag again, after 7 or 8 years of separation from that publication. I served as a contributing editor and a technology editor for that magazine from 1998 until mid-2007, but decided to quit writing for them when they informed me that they had to cut compensation to a level that I hadn’t agreed to since 1986 at the long-defunct MACazine. I’m pretty sure it was nothing personal, because I’d watched the print version of the magazine decline from a fairly hefty 0.25-0.35″ thick state (usually with 120 or more numbered pages) to a vanishingly slender 0.1″ or less (seldom over 48 pages). The missing ingredient was ad sales, which of course funds writer’s pay as well as everything else a magazine does.
The GoCertify.com website, on the other hand, never foundered and was kept going by the stalwart and unfailing hard work of Anne Martinez, its founder, designer, and maintainer. But she confided in me over two years ago that the work-reward ratio was not trending in her favor, and let me know she was looking for a buyer, if a good one could be found. From what she’s told me in the wake of its acquisition by the Vallejo Media Group this summer, she kept up with the big certification and training databases that are that site’s crown jewels right up until control passed over to Vallejo, and they’ve picked them up and kept them going without a hitch since the hand-off occurred.
Voluntary Self-Disclosure: As I’ve already explained I wrote for Certmag from 1998 to 2007, and was also on their masthead (albeit as a freelancer not an employee). I have two more things to share at this apparently appropriate moment. First, I’ve also written (uncompensated) guest blogs and articles for GoCertify.com (look for my name on this articles page at GoCertify for some relatively recent contributions). Second, I’ve just signed a contract to start providing articles for the two sites again, and will be blogging weekly for them starting sometime soon as well. This last bit of new work will be compensated, too. I’d like to assert that Vallejo’s invitation to have me resume writing for Certmag , and to provide blog posts for it and GoCertify to run, represents a sign of returning health in the cert publications biz, and possibly also a ray of sunshine for the overall IT employment, training, and certification markets in general.
To see the first fruits of my efforts for the newly-revitalized Certmag check out my November 14 article for them entitled “Whither MCA and MCM and Why?” It features a recent interview with Shelby Grieve, Director of Certifications for the newly renamed Microsoft Learning Experience (LeX) division, the group formerly known simply as Microsoft Learning. In it, she explains candidly why the current Microsoft Certified Master (MCM), Microsoft Certified Solutions Master (MCSM), and Microsoft Certified Architect (MCA) credentials have all been scheduled for retirement on December 31, 2013, at the end of this year. She also explains that Microsoft is likely to offer new and decidedly improved pinnacle level credentials to replace these certs, but isn’t yet ready to say what they might be named, how they will be positioned and provisioned with training content, exams, and other required program elements, or when this might happen. She also talks about the challenges that attach to Microsoft’s new rapid release cadence (major revisions to all platforms on a roughly annual basis) and what that means for the company’s certification credentials and training going forward. It’s really interesting stuff, and I hope you’ll head over to check it all out!