Wired is a full-color monthly American magazine, published in both print and online editions, that reports on how emerging technologies affect culture, the economy and politics. Owned by Condé Nast, it is headquartered in San Francisco, California and has been in publication since January 1993. Several spin-offs have been launched including: Wired UK, Wired Italia, Wired Japan and Wired Germany.
In its earliest colophons, Wired credited Canadian media theorist Marshall McLuhan as its "patron saint." From the beginning, the strongest immediate influence on the magazine's editorial outlook came from the techno-utopian agenda of co-founder Stewart Brand and his long-time associate Kevin Kelly.
From 1998 to 2006, Wired magazine and Wired News (which publishes at Wired.com) had separate owners. However, throughout that time, Wired News remained responsible for reprinting Wired magazine's content online, due to a business agreement made when Condé Nast purchased the magazine (but not the website). In July 2006, Condé Nast announced an agreement to buy Wired News for $25 million, reuniting the magazine with its website.
Wired is really known for coining new terms, such as "the Long Tail" and "crowdsourcing". It is also well known for its annual tradition of handing out Vaporware Awards which recognize "products, videogames and other nerdy tidbits pitched, promised and hyped, but never delivered".
Wired is known also for featuring editorials from industry leaders.
The magazine was founded by American journalist Louis Rossetto and his partner Jane Metcalfe in 1993 with initial backing from software entrepreneur Charlie Jackson and eclectic academic Nicholas Negroponte of the MIT Media Lab, who was a regular columnist for six years, through 1998 and wrote the book Being Digital. The founding designers were John Plunkett and Barbara Kuhr (Plunkett+Kuhr), beginning with a 1991 prototype and continuing through the first five years of publication, 1993–98.
Wired, which touted itself as "the Rolling Stone of technology," made its debut at the Macworld conference on January 2, 1993. A great success at its launch, it was lauded for its vision, originality, innovation and cultural impact. In its first four years, the magazine won two National Magazine Awards for General Excellence and one for Design.
The founding executive editor of Wired, Kevin Kelly, was formerly one of the editors of the Whole Earth Catalog and the Whole Earth Review, and he brought with him many contributing writers from those publications. Six authors of the first Wired issue (1.1) had written for Whole Earth Review, most notably Bruce Sterling (who was highlighted on the first cover ) and Stewart Brand. Other contributors to Whole Earth appeared in Wired, including William Gibson, who was featured on Wired's cover in its first year and whose article "Disneyland with the Death Penalty" in issue 1.4 resulted in the publication being banned in Singapore.
Wired co-founder Louis Rossetto claimed in the magazine's first issue that "the Digital Revolution is whipping through our lives like a Bengali typhoon," yet despite the fact that Kelly was involved in launching the WELL, an early source of public access to the Internet and even earlier non-Internet online experience, Wired's first issue de-emphasized the Internet, and covered interactive games, cell-phone hacking, digital special effects, military simulations, and Japanese otaku. However, the first issue did contain a few references to the Internet, including online-dating and Internet sex, and a tutorial on installing a bozo filter. The last page, a column written by Nicholas Negroponte, was written in the style of an e-mail message, but contained obviously fake, non-standard email addresses. By the third issue in the fall of 1993 the "Net Surf" column began listing interesting FTP sites, Usenet newsgroups, and email addresses, at a time when the numbers of these things were small and this information was still extremely novel to the public. Wired was among the first magazines to list the email address of its authors and contributors.
Associate publisher Kathleen Lyman (formerly of News Corporation and Ziff Davis) was brought on board to launch Wired with an advertising base of major technology and consumer advertisers. Lyman, along with Simon Ferguson (Wired's first advertising manager), introduced revolutionary ad campaigns by a diverse group of industry leaders—such as Apple Computer, Intel, Sony, Calvin Klein, and Absolut—to the readers of the first technology publication with a lifestyle slant.
The magazine was quickly followed by a companion website HotWired, a book publishing division, HardWired, a Japanese edition, and a short-lived British edition, Wired UK. Wired UK was relaunched in April 2009. In 1994, John Battelle, co-founding editor, commissioned Jules Marshall to write a piece on the Zippies. The cover story broke records for being one of the most publicized stories of the year and was used to promote Wired's HotWired news service.
HotWired itself spawned dozens of websites including Webmonkey, the search engine HotBot, and a weblog, Suck.com. In June 1998, the magazine even launched its own stock index, The Wired Index, since July 2003 called The Wired 40.
The fortune of the magazine and allied enterprises corresponded closely to that of the dot-com bubble. In 1996, Rossetto and the other participants in Wired Ventures attempted to take the company public with an IPO. The initial attempt had to be withdrawn in the face of a downturn in the stock market, and especially the Internet sector, during the summer of 1996. The second try was also unsuccessful.
Rossetto and Metcalfe lost control of Wired Ventures to financial investors Providence Equity Partners in May 1998, who quickly sold off the company in pieces. Wired was purchased by Advance Publications, who assigned it to Advance's subsidiary, New York-based publisher Condé Nast Publications (while keeping Wired's editorial offices in San Francisco). Wired Digital (wired.com, hotbot.com, webmonkey.com, etc.) was purchased by Lycos and run independently from the rest of the magazine until 2006 when it was sold by Lycos to Advance Publications, returning the websites back to the same company that published the magazine.
In 2012, Limor Fried became the first female engineer featured on the cover of Wired.
There is talk of Wired launching an Indian edition.
In May 2013, Wired joined the Digital Video Network with the announcement of five original web series including the National Security Agency satire Codefellas and the animated advice series Mister Know-It-All.
The Anderson era
Wired survived the dot-com bubble and found a new direction under editor-in-chief Chris Anderson, who took on the job in June 2001 and has made the magazine's coverage "more mainstream."
Under Anderson, Wired has produced some widely noted articles, including the April 2003 "Welcome to the Hydrogen Economy" story, the November 2003 "Open Source Everywhere" issue (which put Linus Torvalds on the cover and articulated the idea that the open source method was taking off outside of software, including encyclopedias as evidenced by Wikipedia), the February 2004 "Kiss Your Cubicle Goodbye" issue (which presented the outsourcing issue from both American and Indian perspectives), and an October 2004 article by Chris Anderson, which coined the popular term "Long Tail."
The November 2004 issue of Wired was published with The Wired CD. All of the songs on the CD were released under various Creative Commons licenses, an attempt to push alternative copyright into the spotlight. Most of the songs were contributed by major artists, including the Beastie Boys, My Morning Jacket, Paul Westerberg, and David Byrne.
In recent years Wired has won several industry awards. In 2005 the magazine received the National Magazine Award for General Excellence in the category of 500,000 to 1,000,000 subscribers. That same year Anderson won Advertising Age's editor of the year award. In May 2007, the magazine again won the National Magazine Award for General Excellence. In 2008, Wired was nominated for three National Magazine Awards and won the ASME for Design. It also took home 14 Society of Publication Design Awards, including the Gold for Magazine of the Year. In 2009, Wired was nominated for four National Magazine Awards – including General Excellence, Design, Best Section (Start), and Integration – and won three: General Excellence, Design and Best Section (Start). David Rowan from Wired UK was awarded the BSME Launch of the Year 2009 award. On December 14, 2009, Wired magazine was named Magazine of the Decade by the editors of Adweek.
In 2006, writer Jeff Howe and editor Mark Robinson coined the term crowdsourcing in the June issue.
On February 19, 2009, Condé Nast Italia launched the Italian edition of Wired and Wired.it. On April 2, 2009, Condé Nast relaunched the UK edition of Wired, edited by David Rowan, and launched Wired.co.uk, which is now run by ex-CNET editor Nate Lanxon.
On August 15, 2009 Wired writer, Evan Ratliff "vanished" attempting to keep his whereabouts secret saying "I will try to stay hidden for 30 days." A $5,000 reward was offered to his finder(s). Ratliff was found September 8 in New Orleans by a team effort, which was written about by Ratliff in a later issue.
On May 27, 2010, Wired released its Tablet edition, first available on the iPad. Embraced by consumers and heralded as the beginning of a new era in publishing, the Wired iPad edition was downloaded an average of 17 times a minute for the first 24 hours, netting 24,000+ paid subscriptions. Apple named the Wired Tablet Edition "The App of the Week," making it the first media brand to earn this acknowledgment; and the Wired App remained the No. 1 Paid Download on iTunes for 5 consecutive days. Close to three weeks following the release of this Tablet Edition, Wired had sold 90,000+ copies – exceeding the average monthly newsstand sales of its print edition.
In October and November 2010, Wired found itself embroiled in some controversy after many customers were unable to download the November issue of the Tablet edition after having been charged for it. Wired was in a tricky position, as the error message appeared to be related to the Adobe development suite they were using to put together the digital edition, and because individual issues are purchased through Apple's App Store, Wired was unable to issue refunds directly to affected customers. As of mid-November 2010, the issue had not been resolved, and Wired released the December issue prior to fixing the issue with the November edition. The impact on sales (if any) of later issues related to the negative feedback from disgruntled Wired customers is unknown at this time.