10.19.09posted by Josh Klenert
Related? "Conde Nast Launches iPhone Platform With GQ App"
From different reports around the web I've read it appears that CondÃ© Nast is finally trying to leverage some of it's brand cachet online instead of just using it's existing sites as complex print magazine subscription drivers.
As a former employee and a huge fan of CondÃ© Nast magazines I've always been mystified that they were not developing a cohesive strategy of bringing their outstanding stable of premium brands into the 21st century.
Admittedly I'm a bit confused by this launch as they not only starve a site like Wired.com for resources which has incredible natural potential for online growth and has lost share over the last year. They also seem to be taking missteps with Epicurious.com, a site that was by anyone's measure king of the food website hill for much of this past decade and in recent years has also managed to loose market share while competitors continue to innovate.
All this while they decide to shut down not only Gourmet magazine but also Gourmet.com which will be folded back into Epicurious. Over the last two years Gourmet seemed to be putting resources against curating a beautiful (albeit not the most technologically progressive) site. Pull Gourrmet.com up on your browser while you still can and compare it to any of the many food sites out there and you will notice that whether you like it or not Gourmet has a look and a flair all it's own...It has style and voice, a rare thing on the over aggregated underfunded editorial web.
The story of Gourmet.com is a cruel reminder that style alone is not enough to succeed on the internet, media companies must employ strategy to compliment content. They must innovate and adapt to the medium in order to survive. There's no reason the web cannot get smarter and sexier, except for lack of vision and passion.
All this being said I hope this marks some kind of strategic turning point for CondÃ© Nast. I would love nothing more than for S.I. Newshouse to take his love, wisdom and talent for magazine making and translate that burning desire and energy onto the web and start showing some of these tech companies how to make the web sexy and how to build brands. CondÃ© Nast has dominated for years with their stable of magazines, why not dominate the web?
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