Friday, March 17, 2006

Penton's American Machinist Tools Up Online Community

At the recent ABM Digital Media Day Michael Azzara, Vice President of Internet business for CMP Media noted that "“Audiences have begun to become the brands," an observation that would seem to compel magazine publishers to seek more ways to have those brands under their own marques. Penton Media just announced a foray into capturing user-driven branding by incoroprating the popular PracticalMachinist.com online bulletin board service into its Amercian Machinist Web site offering. Like user-driven offerings such as Craigslist PracticalMachinist is notable for its homeliness: it's basically an off-the-shelf online forum product. But at half a million unique visits the dialogs initiated by this service are forming the powerful core of an online community that manages its own content and market conversations with some efficiently.

This is a good example of how it does not take the slickest technology or presentation to build up user-generated media; rather, it becomes a matter of having a true conversation of key people within a community to drive up authentice content that traditional editorial content can complement and reference. The dot-com classic "The Cluetrain Manifesto" reminds us that markets are conversations: in real life many key business conversations take place in coffee shops and other informal settings as much as they do in board rooms and high-profile events. Don't let the simplicity of many user-generated media facilities fool you, if the crowds and the conversations are right the dollars will follow more quickly than you may imagine.
Post a Comment