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Maker Media, the company behind MAKE magazine and Maker Faire events, shuts down

White House Maker Faire
(Image courtesy of eymund via Flickr)

Sad news for DIY enthusiasts: Maker Media, the company which runs the Maker Faire events and which produces the magazine MAKE, is shutting down. The company has laid off all its staff and is ceasing operations, TechCrunch reports.

MAKE magazine was formative in a burgeoning DIY culture which encouraged people to experiment with crafting, electronics, and science projects at home. From simple science projects for children to stunningly elaborate robots and machines, MAKE inspired and reported on thousands of makers in its lifetime.

The company also ran the popular Maker Faire events, in which makers would come together to show off their creations, to learn from each other, and to meet like-minded people. The Maker Faire events were run around the world in North America, Europe, Asia, South America, and Africa, including the World Maker Faire which was most recently held in New York in 2018. There was even a Maker Faire at the White House in 2014. Just a few weeks ago, the Bay Area Maker Faire attracted tens of thousands of attendees.

Now all 22 employees of the company have been let go and the company will be shutting down imminently. Despite its popularity among DIYers, the company has struggled financially since its inception. “I started this 15 years ago and it’s always been a struggle as a business to make this work,” founder and CEO Dale Dougherty told TechCrunch. “Print publishing is not a great business for anybody, but it works… barely. Events are hard… there was a drop off in corporate sponsorship.”

There are hopes that the company may be able to keep going in some way, especially to keep the MAKE online archive running. The archive is a massive resource of projects and advice for builders that would be a sad loss if it went offline. The company also wants to find a way to let third-party organizers license the Maker Faire name and continue putting on events.

“We’re trying to keep the servers running,” Dougherty told TechCrunch. “I hope to be able to get control of the assets of the company and restart it. We’re not necessarily going to do everything we did in the past but I’m committed to keeping the print magazine going and the Maker Faire licensing program.”

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