It’s been over a month since USA Today launched their new social-network-influenced redesign. The initial response was extremely negative; within a few days there were hundreds of comments on the announcement story, and over 90% were negative.
Today, MediaPost reports that USA Today’s online registrations are up 380% since the makeover. (It doesn’t mention how much of the 308% increase was created by visitors who registered for the sole purpose of complaining about the redesign.) Also up is their unique visitors (increased 21% since February, according to Nielsen//NetRatings). Last month they had 40,000 comments on the site.
So is USA Today’s social make over a success? If those numbers were our only indicators, I’d say yes.
However, there are a few other sources we can look at. Alexa, while far from a perfect measure, shows a downward trend over the last year, which the redesign did little to forestall. Other news sites, like CNN and MSNBC, show a similar decline over the same period.
I’d judge that while increased registrations, unique visitors and comments are one measure of success, if USA Today was hoping to reverse their diminishing popularity, they didn’t succeed there.