Harry McCracken is leaving PC World to start his own technology Web site. That’s big news for the world of b-to-b journalism for several reasons.

may be the biggest name in b-to-b editorial circles. Anyone who follows
this industry will remember Harry’s clash with management last year. Harry’s
ethical stance in that dispute won him the most important award in B2B
publishing—American Business Media’s Timothy White Award for
editorial integrity
. And certainly Harry’s departure is a tremendous blow to PC World and parent company IDG.

what I find most interesting about this development is that Harry is
now the best-known business-media journalist to enter the world of
entrepreneurial journalism.

More than three years ago I began predicting a rise in the number of
established b-to-b journalists who would abandon traditional publishing
companies and strike out on their own
. And history has shown me right time and time again. But in the past few weeks this trend seems to be accelerating.

First, there was the news that the majority of the staff of Cygnus’ Aircraft Maintenance Technology magazine had resigned en masse, reportedly to start a competing product.

They join another group of Cygnus employees who quit a few months ago and launched RV Industry News, a competitor to Cygnus’ RV Trade Digest. And
in the past few weeks I’ve begun consulting with and/or offering advice
and support to four different b-to-b editors who are building new products
as they make plans to quit their day jobs before the end of the year.

most interesting to me is that I’m in talks now with an entity that is
interested in offering tools, a platform, ad-sales services and a
revenue share to b-to-b editors who opt to take the standalone route. (When
and if I reach a deal with that group, I’ll publish the details here.)

In the meantime, congratulations to Harry and everyone else who has taken the plunge.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Read more analysis from Paul Conley on his blog …]