BtoB Media Business - June 2009 - (Page 16)

Online revamps ONLINE Dow Jones site gets new look, tools to serve visitors ‘maniacally focused on markets’ BY MARIE GRIFFIN O n May 12, Dow Jones & Co.’s unveiled its first significant overhaul in a decade. The site features a new interface with an updated look and navigation scheme; a new video player; and integration of user comments throughout the site. There are also improvements in many of the tools, such as personal portfolios and charting, that are essential for an audience that’s “maniacally focused on markets,” said Gordon McLeod, president of The Wall Street Journal Digital Network. is the second site within the Wall Street Journal Digital Network to be relaunched since last September, when introduced a major redesign. The Web site for Barron’s is being relaunched this month. There are no plans right now to redo, the fourth site in the network. While the new platform makes it easier for the sites to share content, “the worst thing we could do is to go overboard and have one editorial team that just creates con- tent for all the sites,” McLeod said. For the past several months, Robert Thomson, managing editor of The Wall Street Journal, has been gathering key representatives from the four network brands for a face-to-face meeting every morning to work out which stories will be covered by each brand and how, McLeod said. In addition to leveraging its editorial intelligence, MarketWatch is trying to engage its audience more than ever before. “We launched Community on MarketWatch a year and a half ago, but it was kind of in its own world,” McLeod said. “Now you can comment all over the place. [Social features] are more easily accessible, so that you don’t have to go to the community section to get involved.” This active user engagement turned out to be a mixed blessing on the day of the relaunch, however. Although it may be impossible to determine how many individuals were posting— because people could have logged on from more than one device and used more than one name—there were more than 800 com- ments on that first day. Some posts involved ordinary technical questions, but others used the comments and forums to voice their extreme displeasure. “Plain and simple the new MarketWatch site is HORRIBLE,” commented MacD, using upper case for emphasis. “Sorry you missed the mark and market by a Zillion Miles,” opined AAAmerican, who wrote dozens of posts. “What a shame that you screwed up something so good,” wrote BRandall. Immediately, the MarketWatch team moved to help users with technical issues, particularly through a discussion group on the redesign hosted by Jim Bernard, general manager. MarketWatch also incorporated some nonessential changes that seemed especially important to users, including enlarging avatars for community members and providing more comments on each comment page. Six days after the relaunch, one user, SavCD, captured a sentiment that was becoming more common: “Thanks! You are making great progress. We haven’t had this kind of action any time before.” “The site is always going to be a work in progress, but it’s now on a brand-new platform with a stronger design,” McLeod said. “It’s a better working site, so the changes will be easier and faster. That’s part of what the site rebuild gives us.” PennWell follows online-first strategy with PennEnergy brand W hat happens when a b-to-b publishing company sets up a new portal encompassing industries represented by a dozen of its primary brands and runs it separately from those brands? PennWell Corp. is finding out with Publishers of PennWell’s well-established print brands and companion Web sites—including Oil & Gas Journal, Offshore , Power Engineering and Renewable Energy World—did not warm to the idea of being positioned under a single umbrella online, said Tom Cintorino, senior VP-digital media for PennWell. “So we decided to create a new online-only brand to aggregate content across the power and petroleum industries,” he said. PennEnergy is designed to be “wider in coverage across the total energy industry and deeper in terms of very specific, targeted content than a print magazine,” Cintorino said. Stacey Schmidt, with the title of Web publisher, is responsible for the PennEnergy business. “Our plan is to expand that brand tremendously online,” said Schmidt, who does not have a traditional publishing background. Prior to joining PennWell four years ago, she was responsible for the formulation and implementation of Citgo Petroleum Corp.’s e-business strategy. The PennEnergy organization does not follow the structure of a print organization. Reporting to Schmidt are a product manager, a content strategist, a technical product marketer, a products editor/publisher, a director of research and a sales manager, as well as research analysts and salespeople. One of the primary ways PennEnergy is distinguished from PennWell’s magazine sites is the way the content is organized topically. “We did research to break the content down into topic centers that would make sense to the audience. We threw away the traditional magazine approach,” Cintorino said. As to whether PennEnergy will compete with PennWell’s magazine sites, Cintorino said, “You could say we’re going after the same pie [of advertising dollars] and, if anything, that pie is getting smaller. However, the Web sites of PennWell’s magazine brands haven’t performed any differently from the rest of the market [during the downturn]. Page and revenue growth on PennEnergy has been incremental, not at the expense of the brand Web sites.” Jayne Gilsinger, PennWell’s senior VP-planning and development, said the relationship between PennEnergy and the other brands is primarily a two-way street. PennWell is very well-known across the whole spectrum of energy industries, and PennEnergy can draw on its strengths, she said. —Marie Griffin 16 | Media Business | June 2009 |

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of BtoB Media Business - June 2009

BtoB Media Business - June 2009
Publishers Reassess Google AdSense Programs
Amid Cutbacks, Media Firms Are Still Investing
Open-source CMS Advantages Outweigh Problems
Sales & Marketing
The End of B-to-B Media As We Know It?

BtoB Media Business - June 2009