History of the Macintosh DIgital Press – MacCentral Then and Now

Many of the websites you visit today originally started out as a downloadable ezine. In fact, some sites are so different today that you would not recognize them in their past incarnations. However, even back in 1995 some were just so good you knew it was only time before their creators took their creations to the next level.

One such creator was Stan Flack, and his creation was called MacCentral. Started in mid-1995, Stan used DOCMaker and the latest fad called the World Wide Web to launch his newest creation. It didn’t take long for it to become extremely popular. Today, MacCentral is one of the most popular Macintosh websites on the Internet.

Like Adam, I also had the chance to ask Stan some questions about MacCentral’s past and its future.

Stan, when did you first start MacCentral and who/what was it that gave you your inspiration way back when?

Well, there was an idea before there was MacCentral, but I think that is the case with most things. I guess I first thought of doing something Macintosh related on the web in the summer of 1994. At the time, I felt that there wasn’t much available online for the average Macintosh user. Today, of course, things have changed dramatically.

MacCentral officially launched its first DocMaker monthly issue on September 4, 1995.

MacCentral has become a necessary-read for Mac users today, including myself. With people like Bob LeVitus, Andy Ihnatko, and others, it’s as if you have picked up where the print versions of MacWeek and MacUser left off. What is your goal for MacCentral, and where do you see it in the next few years?

My fundamental goal for MacCentral has never changed—not from the beginning. The name I choose for the site will give you the clue… Mac Central—the center of all things Macintosh. Will we ever accomplish that? Clearly not. No one site can be all things to all people, but that is our mission. That is what we strive for.

Like My Mac, MacCentral at one time had a downloadable edition. Do you feel a PDF or DOCMaker edition is no longer wanted by your readers?

It isn’t so much a question of our readers not wanting it. It’s more an issue of our focus. When we made the transition from a monthly edition to a site which is updated several times a day, it didn’t make a lot of sense to continue to provide a monthly download. It isn’t something we have ruled out for the future, however.

Advertising. Like any other heavily-visited website, it costs money to operate. MacCentral has sponsors to pay those bills. Do you find companies more readily embracing online advertising than a year ago?

It has been our experience that as vendors become more familiar with life online, they are more willing to invest in an Internet-based advertising campaign. MacCentral has seen a significant growth in this area.

What made you want to start in the Macintosh Digital Press? And was going to print at anytime a goal of yours?

That’s an easy question to answer—I think digital media gives us an opportunity to interact very closely with our readers. What MacCentral has evolved into is due in no small part to their participation.

As for a MacCentral printed magazine, we have looked into it on several occasions, but haven’t committed ourselves to anything definite just yet. Our main focus at the moment is making the MacCentral website even better.

What was the turning point that made MacCentral such a big hit? Any one thing or just perseverance?

That is a very hard question to answer, as there were many contributing factors. If I had to pinpoint one thing, I would have to say that it is the staff. I have been tremendously blessed in that area. As we continued to add new personalities and talents to our menu, it really helped to shape the site into what it is today.

What part of publishing MacCentral today gives you the most satisfaction?

The most satisfaction… hmmm… Well, I love what I do, so I am very lucky in that respect. To answer your question, I would say that I get the most satisfaction when I get an email from a reader who has been helped by one of our stories, columns, or forums. That is why I started MacCentral in the first place, and I take great pride in knowing that we have accomplished that.

Many thanks to Stan Flack for answering some questions. Of course, most of you know where MacCentral is online, http://www.MacCentral.com We encourage everyone to take a look at MacCentral. It is, personally, one of my favorite Mac websites online today. And from my own personal experiences with Stan, I don’t need a crystal ball to see into the future and predict that MacCentral will be at the top of the Macintosh websites for many years to come.


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