In case you'd been wondering what happened to Sugarstring, Verizon's recent foray into the world of tech journalism, wonder no more: it's dead. Verizon has decided to shutter it after just over a month of its existence. Going to Sugarstring.com or any of its published stories will lead you nowhere. In a statement to DSL Reports, Verizon referred to the project as a test, and did not go into detail about what led to its demise. "As you know, we've always said this was a pilot project; and as with any pilot project, we evaluate, take our learnings, improve our execution and move forward," a spokesperson said. "That's what we've decided to do here."
Topics like net neutrality were off limits
The technology-focused news site ran afoul with critics almost immediately after its launch in late October for reportedly prohibiting its contracted authors from writing about topics like domestic surveillance or net neutrality. Verizon's role in those areas, be it through its own policy efforts or its role in government programs, raised basic questions about whether the project was aiming to be a legitimate news site or a corporate mouthpiece. That was further muddled by the fact that it was being bankrolled by Verizon Wireless' marketing group, yet run by a media consultant who'd authored a book about activism.
Verizon's statement suggests it could try this all over again, though as DSL Reports notes, Sugarstring stopped posting things weeks ago. At least we'll always have a copy on the Internet Archive.