Maxim took a different tact for its first site redesign in five years, aiming for the look of a video site or game, and not simply a Web magazine. Chief revenue officer Ben Madden, vice president of business development and general manager of digital Dave Roberson, and senior VP for digital Jay Woodruff spoke with paidContent about the site’s new look.
It was a challenging third quarter, but we’ve seen strong returns in the fourth quarter driven by large integrated programs led by digital — Jeep Maximum Warriors and Nissan Game Unleashed. The momentum is continuing into the first quarter of 2011 tied to integrated programs across all platforms.
In doing the redesign, we looked to sites that our audience tended to go to, sites that were more video- and game-oriented. Obviously, we’re still proud of our connection to the print version, and we do promote it on the site. And we made sure that we took a lot of direction from the print editorial team in terms of color palette and fonts, for the sake of consistency. But in terms of the presentation, a magazine should look like a magazine, and a Web site should look like a Web site. That’s the same view we took for the mobile and tablet apps, as well.
I come out of a print background. The real innovation in the digital space has not been led by print-magazine Web extensions. Most of those sites have tended toward a more conventional approach to advertising, among other things. We compete for time with consumers and advertisers with entertainment sites. That’s our competition on the Web, not other magazines, necessarily.
The number of Facebook fans has doubled in 70 days. At the beginning of this year, we had fewer than 30,000 fans. By the end of this year, we’re on track to reach 250,000. We’ve also tripled our number of followers on Twitter to over 39,000. We look at both of these areas as custom publishing channels, both distinct and supportive of the brand. That has made the difference.