This past Thursday, May 19, marked the fifth anniversary of the launch of Ellen Datlow's Sci Fiction. The first story she published there, "Freeing the Angels," by Pat Cadigan and Chris Fowler, is still available online if you want to read it.
I wanted to take this opportunity to publicly thank Ellen for her pioneering work in the field of online sf magazines. She started with Omni Online and later founded and edited Event Horizon (with Rob Killheffer and Pam Weintraub); those weren't the first online sf magazines, but they were the first ones that I know of that paid pro rates and published well-known authors, and as such, they paved the way for the current wave of online magazines.
(Note that people have been sounding the death knell for online sf almost as long as there's been such a thing. See, for example, an article about Event Horizon that Salon published about four months after EH launched. It's a sobering article for anyone who wants to start an online magazine, and as it turned out, EH didn't last. Still, it seems a little potkettleblackian for Salon to go pointing fingers about problems with business models for online publications.)
And Ellen's been publishing good stuff all that time, too. Gardner Dozois pointed out to me a few years ago that he reprinted stories from Omni Online in his 1995 Year's Best Science Fiction (and he reprinted stuff from Event Horizon (and other online venues) in later volumes), so sf published online has been appearing in Year's Bests for ten years now. And she's still doing it: four stories published in Sci Fiction have won Nebula Awards, among other awards and nominations.
Of course, online magazines are still working for recognition from the field; we've still got a long way to go. But a great deal of the progress made so far is due to Ellen.
So thank you, Ellen! We who've followed in your footsteps owe you a great deal.