The Beginning of BackBeat Media

It’s true, at 8:28am EDT on January 29th, 2000 we registered this domain. BackBeat Media was born about two months before this date, at least in terms of the idea and the business, but the name — and therefore the domain — were registered here.

BBM was not our idea. And by that I mean it was very much not MY idea. My co-founders, Greg Snyder and Bryan Chaffin, deserve some credit for the idea of starting a network of (at the time) Mac-focused websites. But really the credit must be at least shared with (if not given entirely to) our first round of partner sites.

We had started The Mac Observer a year prior in December of 1998. Bryan and I quickly realized that ad sales needed to be a full-time job, and so Greg Snyder was our first full-time hire. That was a Big Deal™, as anyone who has ever started a business and hired people knows. About 6 or 8 months into having Greg on board, several of our competitors reached out and said some version of, “hey…you guys have your stuff together. Would you do for us what you’ve done for yourselves? We just want to publish content…we don’t want to have to worry about selling ads or managing servers or anything like that.”

In response to this, I believe it was Bryan who said, “we should start a network!” We were already part of the MacAddict Network, as were all of the people who were coming to us for help. Clearly the MacAddict Network wasn’t delivering on what people wanted. In fact, they had flown a few of us out to San Francisco to share our desires and complaints with them, and I took notes of all the things I suggested, mostly just to remember to hold them accountable. A month or so later when nothing had happened — and all of these folks came to us looking for help — those notes became a business plan and…BackBeat Media was born.

The name was definitely conceived by Greg. He knew I was a drummer, of course, and liked the idea of riffing on that. He also liked the rhythm of saying “BackBeat Media” and had a slogan in mind, “The Backbone of The Mac News Beat.” This was before the iPhone was a thing, you must remember, so “Mac” and “Apple” were synonymous.

And that’s where it all began. Five years later I was encouraged to start a podcast, at which time Mac Geek Gab was born and the rest, as they say, is history!

There will be more here very soon, because it’s (now) time to start telling the story of BackBeat Media a little more deliberately, and a lot more loudly. It’s time not to be shy, so … we shan’t!

-Dave Hamilton
April 10th, 2024