Boardwatch Magazine, initially published and edited by Jack Rickard, began as an important publication for the online Bulletin Board Systems of the 1980s and 1990s and ultimately evolved into the primary trade magazine of the ISP industry in the late 1990s. It was founded in 1987.
The magazine included advertisements for BBSes, BBS software and hardware and editorials about the BBS scene. Either alone or in conjunction with Computer Shopper magazine, in the late 1980s and early 90s before the Internet became a commercially available entity, Boardwatch would conduct an annual on-line poll of the most popular BBSes in the United States and publish the results in the magazine.
The founder and original editor of Boardwatch was Jack Rickard. Rickard was famed for his fiery editorials and "love/hate" relationship with many of the ISP industry's major players (including a controversial 1997 magazine cover about peering disputes which depicted John Sidgmore of UUNet attempting to blow up MAE-East in a scene reminiscent of the Oklahoma City bombing). Boardwatch spawned an important ISP industry tradeshow, ISPcon and published a yearly Directory of Internet Service Providers.
In 1998, Rickard sold a majority interest in Boardwatch and its related products to an east-coast multimedia company, which was then acquired by Penton Media in 1999.
In 2000, the Boardwatch Magazine staff published a bi-monthly magazine called CLEC Magazine for competitive local exchange carriers (CLECs), small telecom startups that used competitive FCC rulings to resell Baby Bell communication infrastructure. The magazine's March-April 2000 issue included a state-by-state CLEC listing similar to the ISP directory Boardwatch published. Penton produced a CLECexpo trade show in conjunction with the magazine. Penton also produced one ASPcon trade show for application service providers (ASPs), the forerunners to today's infrastructure as a service (IaaS) providers like Salesforce.com and cloud computing and storage companies.
Penton Media launched ISPworld, an Internet portal website for ISPs, in 2001. The magazine ceased publication in 2002 and its assets were later purchased by online telecom publication Light Reading.
ISPcon limped along until the last event in November 2008.
Writers and staff
- Jack Rickard (publisher)
- David Hakala (Editor at Fault, 1988 - 1995)
- Steve Clark (editor in chief, 1997)
- Bill McCarthy (managing editor, editor in chief, 1997-2001)
- Todd Erickson (associate editor, managing editor, interim editor in chief, 1997-2002)
- Steve Stroh (freelance writer & columnist)
- John C. Dvorak (freelance writer & columnist)
- Jeffrey Carl (freelance writer & columnist)
- Christopher Knight (freelance writer & columnist)(author)
- Bob Rankin (freelance writer & columnist)(author)
- Todd Melka (Technical Director)