Ars Technica

Ars Technica
The word "Ars" is displayed in white lowercase letters centered within an orange circle; immediately to the right of the circle is the word "Technica" in black uppercase letters.
The Ars Technica logo is displayed in the top-left corner of the web page. Separated into two rows below the logo are several boxes, each of which contains an article's headline and image.
Type of site
Technology news and information
Available in English
Owner Condé Nast
Created by
  • Ken Fisher
  • Jon Stokes
Alexa rank 1,201 (as of September 2016)[1]
Commercial Yes
Registration Optional
Launched December 30, 1998 (1998-12-30)[2]
Current status Online

Ars Technica (/ˌɑːrz ˈtɛknkə/; Latin-derived for the "art of technology") is a technology news and information website 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.


Ken Fisher and Jon Stokes created the Ars Technica website and limited liability company in 1998.[3][4] Its purpose was to publish computer hardware- and software-related news articles and guides;[5] 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".[6] "Ars technica" is a Latin phrase that translates to "technological art".[5] 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.[4][7]

On May 19, 2008, Ars Technica was sold to Condé Nast Digital, the online division of Condé Nast Publications.[lower-alpha 1] The sale was part of a purchase by 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.[9] Fisher, Stokes, and the eight other writers at the time were employed by Condé Nast, with Fisher as editor-in-chief.[5][10] Layoffs at Condé Nast in November 2008 affected websites owned by the company "across the board", including Ars Technica.[11]

On May 5, 2015, Ars Technica launched its United Kingdom site to expand its coverage of issues related to the U.K. and Europe.[12] The U.K. site began with around 500,000 readers and had reached roughly 1.4 million readers a year after its launch.[13]


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 current events. 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 paragraphs.

Ars Technica's features are long articles that go into great depth on their subject.[14][15] For example, the site published a guide on CPU architecture in 1998 named "Understanding CPU caching and performance".[16] An article in 2009 discussed in detail the theory, physics, mathematical proofs, and applications of quantum computers.[17] 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.[18]

Ars Technica is written in a less-formal tone than that found in a traditional journal.[19][20] Many of the website's regular writers have postgraduate degrees, and many work for academic or private research institutions. Website cofounder Jon Stokes published the computer architecture textbook Inside The Machine in 2007;[21] John Timmer performed postdoctoral research in developmental neurobiology;[19] Timothy Lee is a scholar at the Cato Institute, a public-policy institute, which has republished Ars Technica articles by him.[22][23] Biology journal Disease Models & Mechanisms called Ars Technica a "conduit between researchers and the public" in 2008.[24]

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 event.[25]


The cost of operating Ars Technica has always been funded primarily by online advertising.[26] Originally handled by Federated Media Publishing, selling advertising space on the website is now managed by Condé Nast.[10] 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.[27] To a lesser extent, revenue is also collected from content sponsorship. A series of articles about the future of collaboration was sponsored by IBM,[26] 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 Technica-branded merchandise.[28]

Advertisement block

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:[26]

... 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.[29][30] 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 Premier.[26]

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 identify readers who filter out advertisements and ask them to support the site by several means.[31]

See also


  1. Condé Nast Digital was named CondéNet at the time.[8]


  1. " Site Overview". Alexa Internet. Retrieved 2016-09-01.
  2. "Whois Record for". DomainTools. Retrieved 2016-07-16.
  3. "About Us". Ars Technica. Condé Nast. Archived from the original on 2010-04-05. Retrieved 2010-04-10.
  4. 1 2 "Report: Ars Technica bought by Wired Digital". Mass High Tech Business News. American City Business Journals. 2008-05-16. Archived from the original on 2009-02-04. Retrieved 2010-04-10.
  5. 1 2 3 Swisher, Kara (2008-03-17). "Ars Technica's Ken Fisher Speaks!". All Things Digital. Dow Jones & Company. Archived from the original on 2008-04-19. Retrieved 2010-04-10.
  6. "Welcome to Ars Technica". Ars Technica. 1999. Archived from the original on 1999-05-08. Retrieved 2010-04-10.
  7. "The Ars Technica Group". Ars Technica. 1999. Archived from the original on 1999-05-08. Retrieved 2010-04-10.
  8. O'Malley, Gavin (2009-01-26). "Condé Nast Digital Replaces CondéNet". MediaPost. Archived from the original on 2011-05-11. Retrieved 2011-06-23.
  9. Carr, David (2008-05-19). "Geeks Crash a House of Fashion". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 2016-02-22. Retrieved 2008-05-20.
  10. 1 2 Arrington, Michael (2008-05-16). "Breaking: Condé Nast/Wired Acquires Ars Technica". TechCrunch. AOL. Archived from the original on 2010-04-10. Retrieved 2010-04-10.
  11. Kafka, Peter (2008-11-11). "Condé Nast Web Arm CondéNet's Turn for "Across the Board" Cuts". All Things Digital. Dow Jones & Company. Archived from the original on 2010-04-08. Retrieved 2010-04-10.
  12. Anthony, Sebastian (2015-05-05). "Welcome to Ars Technica UK!". Ars Technica UK. Condé Nast UK. Archived from the original on 2015-05-05. Retrieved 2015-05-05.
  13. Anthony, Sebastian (2016-05-05). "Ars Technica UK is one year old today: Here's what's coming next". Ars Technica UK. Condé Nast UK. Archived from the original on 2016-05-06. Retrieved 2016-09-01.
  14. Fallows, James (2009-10-05). "Festival of updates #3: Snow Leopard and "huge pages"!". The Atlantic. Archived from the original on 2011-06-08. Retrieved 2010-04-10.
  15. Arthur, Charles (2009-08-29). "Snow Leopard: hints, hassles and review roundup from around the web". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 2014-01-09. Retrieved 2010-04-10.
  16. "Understanding CPU caching and performance". Ars Technica. 1998-12-01. Archived from the original on 1999-05-08. Retrieved 2010-04-10.
  17. Altepeter, Joseph B. (2010-02-01). "A tale of two qubits: how quantum computers work". Ars Technica. Condé Nast. Archived from the original on 2010-03-23. Retrieved 2010-04-10.
  18. Cheng, Jacqui (2010-04-06). "Ars Technica reviews the iPad". Ars Technica. Condé Nast. Archived from the original on 2010-04-10. Retrieved 2010-04-10.
  19. 1 2 Brumfiel, Geoff (2009-04-01). "Science journalism: Supplanting the old media?". Nature. Macmillan Publishers. Archived from the original on 2009-03-21. Retrieved 2010-04-10.
  20. Bonetta, Laura (2007-05-04). "Scientists Enter the Blogosphere". Cell. Elsevier. 129 (3): 443–445. doi:10.1016/j.cell.2007.04.032. PMID 17482534. Retrieved 2010-04-10.
  21. Stokes, John (2007). Inside the machine: an illustrated introduction to microprocessors and computer architecture. No Starch Press. ISBN 1-59327-104-2. Retrieved 2015-03-30.
  22. "About Cato". Cato Institute. Archived from the original on 2010-04-07. Retrieved 2010-04-10.
  23. Lee, Timothy B. (2007-07-06). "Google Should Stick to What It Knows Best". Cato Institute. Archived from the original on 2010-04-09. Retrieved 2010-04-10.
  24. "Useful Websites" (PDF). Disease Models & Mechanisms. 1 (2–3): 88. 2008. doi:10.1242/dmm.001305. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2015-04-24. Retrieved 2010-04-10.
  25. "Maybe The iPhone 5 Hype Is Not So 'Silly' After All". MinOnline. 2012-09-14. Retrieved 2012-09-17.
  26. 1 2 3 4 McGann, Laura (2010-03-09). "How Ars Technica's "experiment" with ad-blocking readers built on its community's affection for the site". Nieman Journalism Lab. The Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard. Archived from the original on 2010-03-14. Retrieved 2010-04-10.
  27. "Ars Premier FAQ". Ars Technica. Condé Nast. 2009-09-15. Archived from the original on 2010-04-12. Retrieved 2010-04-10.
  28. "The Ars Emporium". Ars Technica. 2001. Archived from the original on 2001-12-17. Retrieved 2010-04-10.
  29. Asay, Matt (2010-03-09). "Is ad blocking the problem?". CNET. CBS Interactive. Archived from the original on 2015-03-30. Retrieved 2015-03-25.
  30. Valentino-DeVries, Jennifer (2010-03-08). "To Block or Not to Block Online Ads". The Wall Street Journal. Dow Jones & Company. Archived from the original on 2010-03-11. Retrieved 2010-04-10.
  31. Murphy, Kate (2016-02-20). "The Ad Blocking Wars". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 2016-02-22. Retrieved 2016-02-22.

External links

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