Wired is a full-color monthly American magazine and on-line periodical published in San Francisco, California since March 1993. Owned by Condé Nast Publications, it reports on how technology affects culture, the economy, and politics.
Wired's editorial stance was originally inspired by the ideas of Canadian media theorist Marshall McLuhan, credited as the magazine's "patron saint" in early colophons. Wired has both been admired and disliked for its strong libertarian principles, its enthusiastic embrace of techno-utopianism, and its sometimes experimental layout with its bold use of fluorescent and metallic inks.
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 was a great success at its launch and 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 issue, Wired 1.01 had written for Whole Earth Review, most notably Bruce Sterling 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" resulted in the publication being banned from Singapore.
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 (1.01) de-emphasized the Internet, and primarily talked about interactive games, cell-phone hacking, digital special effects, military simulations, and Japanese otaku. However, the first issue contained some 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 e-mail addresses. By the third issue in the fall of 1993 the 'Net Surf' column began listing interesting FTP sites, news groups, 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.
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. 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 publicised 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 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).
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, David Byrne, and Le Tigre.
In 2005 the magazine won 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 2006, writer Jeff Howe and editor Mark Robinson coined the term Crowdsourcing in the June issue.
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.
Over the years, Wired's writers have included John Perry Barlow, Paul Boutin, Stewart Brand, Gareth Branwyn, Po Bronson, Douglas Coupland, James Daly, Joshua Davis, J. Bradford DeLong, David Diamond, Patrick Di Justo, Cory Doctorow, Esther Dyson, Mark Frauenfelder, Simson Garfinkel, William Gibson, Mike Godwin, George Gilder, Steven Johnson, Bill Joy, Leander Kahney, Richard Kadrey, Jaron Lanier, Lawrence Lessig, Paul Levinson, Steven Levy, Wil McCarthy, Charles Platt, Spencer Reiss, Howard Rheingold, Rudy Rucker, Paul Saffo, Peter Schwartz, Neal Stephenson, Bruce Sterling, John Hodgman, Kevin Warwick and Gary Wolf.
Since 2004, Wired has organized an annual "festival of innovative products and technologies":