NYTimes to Relaunch the About.com Network

    December 8, 2005

Nine months ago, the search and advertising world was surprised to learn the New York Times was purchasing About.com for $410 million.

Covering 57,000 unique topics and containing a library exceeding 1.2 million proprietary documents and files, About.Com draws nearly 50 million visitors each month.

Staffed by an estimated 500 experts (known as guides) who add content to vertical directories, About.com is a cross between an encyclopedia and search directory. Guides are paid on a CPM formula based on the number of pages-views generated by their content.

In the coming months, About.com CEO Scott Meyer said quality control and monitoring of content is going to be a high priority, one of five major steps to be taken to relaunch and rebrand About as an information destination and advertising distributor.

About.com is already doing well as an ad distributor, a fact that originally drew the NYTime’s attention in the first place. According to an article in DMNews, about half of About.com’s revenues come from its AdSense partnership with Google. The NYTimes, which also runs AdSense generated ads was making far less per ad in terms of overall revenues.

The other major portion of About’s revenues are generated through deals with major advertisers such as Walmart and BestBuy. Another step in the relaunch is to work with large advertisers to create and build upon customized package deals on long-term contracts. It also wants to peruse new advertising contracts, stressing the extraordinary market reach offered in partnership with NYTimes owned publications. About.com as a part of NYTimes Inc. has integrated ad inventories from all NYTimes sites onto a commonly used platform, allowing contextual or directly targeted advertising across an international network.

For the NYTimes, acquiring About.com and the content that generates those revenues offers a strong source of online income, ability to deliver ads to multiple distributors based on topical relationship between ad and content, along with a diversified platform to expand online operations. For competitors such as IAC owned Ask.com, the relaunch of About.com should push a few buttons.

Jim Hedger is the SEO Manager of StepForth Search Engine Placement Inc. Based in Victoria, BC, Canada, StepForth is the result of the consolidation of BraveArt Website Management, Promotion Experts, and Phoenix Creative Works, and has provided professional search engine placement and management services since 1997. http://www.stepforth.com/ Tel – 250-385-1190 Toll Free – 877-385-5526 Fax – 250-385-1198