Wow, what a difference a year makes at GOOD. Around this time last year, we wrote how the media company, infused with cash from its “Pepsi Refresh” marketing project, was putting serious bucks into its editorial side. They had 19 job positions open. Several of those positions would later be filled by journalist Ann Friedman and the team she assembled to run GOOD magazine. Friedman’s tenure helming the mag was generally considered to be a major journalistic improvement over GOOD’s previous incarnations.
One year later, however, Friedman and her staff were let go, and it seems like the company has chosen to go in the complete opposite direction. Mediawire noticed that GOOD is once again hiring. But instead of journalists, this time around they’re looking for “content curators” and “brand apostles.”
From a business perspective, all of this makes a certain amount of sense. As we reported a year ago, GOOD was making a killing on the ever-expanding marketing side of its business. “We’re proud of the work that goes into the magazine,” GOOD founder Casey Caplowe told me, “but at this point it’s almost a side project.”
GOOD used the windfall from its expanding marketing efforts to prop up editorial. At a certain point, someone must have decided the cost was no longer worth the benefit.
What will be interesting to see is if GOOD’s transition to a marketing company will falter without a perceived legitimate editorial presence. GOOD’s earnest editorial efforts are what bought credibility with its niche, lucrative demographic of young, wealthy, socially conscious readers. These are the types that traditional advertising methods have a tough time reaching–which is why GOOD’s initial forays into marketing were so successful.
It’ll be an open question, however, if young do-gooder types will continue to pay attention to marketing strategies like Pepsi Refresh, if they perceive that GOOD isn’t the earnest agent of change it used to be. Running a magazine is costly, but, in the months to come, we’re going to see just how much a mag’s credibility is worth.