About.com is planning a major move into the business-to-business space, launching a number of industry-specific sites.
Right now the site is in the process of recruiting experienced writers with expertise in areas such as public transportation, the food and beverage industry, logging and ecommerce, among other topics. The goal is for the writers of these sites to be experts in their industries.
Once the sites are staffed up, About.com will promote the new B2B sites via a marketing campaign, likely towards the end of 2010.
It sounds interesting for sure. While the consumer side of the magazine business has taken a beating in recent years so has the trade publication industry. As a result, there are many areas of importance to business that no longer get the attention they once did thus creating a bit of a content vacuum. About.com is preparing to fill that void.
There is a page on the About.com site that shows just how many industries are being covered and this is no small undertaking. Of course, the ‘experts’ that are in charge of each vertical are likely to be just as important to the success of each subject area as the size of the potential audience is. As with anything relating to content, it always boils down to quality because even in underserved verticals there are other options for readers to consider if they deem the offering deficient.
One real advantage in all of this is that About.com is a New York Times company. As the Times sees online revenue growing it is likely to throw some weight behind this effort to ensure that quality is paramount so as to keep the Times reputation in tact. Whether this strategy ends up contributing to the bottom line or not is something that only time will reveal.
Will you be looking to About.com for information about your industry? Would About.com be the kind of place that can give the best coverage of the Internet marketing space or is that best left to industry ‘experts’ themselves? What would make this kind of content offering attractive to you?