Demand Media Launches eHow Crafts, Google's Algorithmic Effects Remain To Be Seen

Chris CrumSearch

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Demand Media has launched a new channel for its popular eHow site - eHow Crafts.

"We've seen explosive consumer demand for craft-related content on eHow, which is why we're bringing together and adding a wide variety of helpful content in a single destination on eHow," a spokesperson for the company says. "It will include everything, from tips on making felt flowers to learning how to make a yarn painting. The new channel will offer step-by-step text articles, video demonstrations, original photography, and even templates for printable coloring books."

eHow Crafts

"With the launch of new channel and the acquisition of Creativebug earlier this year, we're brought together one of the largest arts and crafts audiences on the Web," the spokesperson adds. "We believe there will be synergies between both sites, as users go back and forth and enjoy the task-oriented, short-form content on the Crafts Channel to the project-oriented, long-form content on Creativebug."

More on the CreativeBug acquisition here.

Crafts seems like an obvious vertical for how-to content. One might wonder why eHow is just now launching a channel.

"We’ve been focused on growing our dominant position in other categories, and it's paid off," Paul Lively, SVP and GM of eHow tells WebProNews. "We hold a top 10 position in the top categories, including home (#1), personal finance (#2), health (#3 with LIVESTRONG) and pets (# 5). We're now turning our attention to the crafts category and we plan to build up this channel (as we believe that crafting is an essential category for eHow, which is a resource that people turn to everyday to learn how to do things). We invested in the multi-billion dollar, arts and crafts market when we acquired Creativebug earlier this year. We believe in this opportunity and we plan to dominate the the crafts category with a dedicated channel that can serve as an online hub for this passionate community."

"Our entire business is built on listening to our consumers and giving them what they want," he says. "This includes listening to what people want and giving them that content, which is what we've done by giving people more crafts content on a dedicated channel on eHow."

Last month, Demand Media launched eHow Now, a paid platform where users can chat directly with so-called experts, and get advice and guidance. Crafts seems like a natural vertical for such an offering. It's not available for Crafts yet, but it's in the cards.

"We do have plans to make eHow Now available in the Crafts Channel for users who have questions they want answered by experts," says Lively. "This will complement the 6 key categories currently available on eHow Now: auto, tech, health, legal, personal finance and pets."

No word on when that availability will happen.

As those who follow the search industry may know, Demand Media and eHow in particular have been key properties of interest in relation to Google's famous (or infamous if you prefer) Panda update. It was believed by many that "content farm" sites like eHow (at least the eHow of old) were largely responsible for the update to begin with, and the update made a significant impact on the company's earnings, though it has managed to weather the storm. Last year, it returned to record profitability.

More recently, however, Google's algorithms have been affecting Demand Media's properties again. On the company's Q2 earnings call, CEO Richard Rosenblatt said that they were impacted by 30 algorithm changes since March, but noted that some were negative and others were positive.

When asked about the new channel's vulnerability to Google's algorithms, Lively tells us, "We don’t break out traffic for individual categories on our sites. We do see fluctuations in traffic across all our sites over time, both up and down. Our primary focus is to provide the best consumer experience."

When asked if Demand Media has been affected by any Google algorithm changes since the last earnings call, he said, "We can’t specifically comment on Google’s practices. Our goal is to provide the best consumer experience, and that’s where we’ll continue to focus."

Image: eHow

Chris Crum
Chris Crum has been a part of the WebProNews team and the iEntry Network of B2B Publications since 2003. Follow Chris on Twitter, on StumbleUpon, on Pinterest and/or on Google: +Chris Crum.