You shall go to the web

PC Pro logo Posted: 1st May 1999 | Filed under: Press Articles
Author: Paul Ockenden, Chairman of CST Group
First Appeared in PC Pro 1999

A lot of companies have plenty of content suitable for a Web site, and many know they really should publish this content on-line but don't have the resources to do it. Page design, user registration, database building, not to mention servers and hosting, would distract the company from its core business - namely producing that content. This might take the form of a specialist publication, a newsletter, some form of historic or photographic archive, or perhaps a museum or gallery catalog. Perhaps there aren't enough resources to produce a site in-house, but bringing in an agency would involve an outlay of thousands of pounds. So for most companies nothing gets done and the potential content gathers digital dust. What can be done for them?

What's needed is a fairy godmother, or the on-line equivalent. There are other companies out there who are desperate for a Web presence, and are prepared to make all the investment needed to create a stunning site but don't have much in the way of their own content. All they have is their company and their brands, which in many cases are boring, and they need more interesting stuff. They could buy in content, like news and TV listings, but the trouble is there's already a host of sites offering such listings, and because many are sourced from the same content providers these sites all look much the same. This is where all that unrealised content comes in, and the real skill lies in matching the site owners with content owners and bringing them together.

Let's take a concrete example. If you publish a hobbies and crafts magazine, a kids' breakfast cereal might be interested in working with you on a Web site. You'd supply a limited quantity of articles from your back-issue library, and it would create the site (and possibly promote it on the side of its cereal boxes). Obviously it would remain its site, with its branding predominant, but your logo would be there too, as would your address details and an on-line form to order the current and back issues of your publication.

Paul's company has created a number of such joint-venture sites, and usually there's no need for any money to change hands - both parties being more than happy with what they get from the deal. The site owner gets content capable of delivering a steady stream of new and repeat traffic, and the content owner gets its material exposed to a wider global audience, and thus increased sales/subscriptions.