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Business to Business

Page history last edited by PBworks 12 years, 11 months ago
by Adam Williams
After searching for 'all' business to business magazines, my search threw up 680 different magazines in 132 categories, ranging from design to water; spirits to transport.
 All of the magazines I have Googled have an online presence in one form or another. Below are three examples that I randomly selected. I have looked at around twenty different websites for different B2B magazines, and most of them are quite similar in their content, features and functionality. I am yet to see any real innovation in the magazine websites I have visited. Largely, they seem to be platforms on which to advertise the magazine itself - promoting subscriptions, selling back issues and notifying readers of offers.

Computerscope Magazine (Mediateam Ltd)
  • Newsletter
  • Deal of the week
  • Trade channels
  • Reference links
  • Industry news
 This monthly magazine is based in the republic of Ireland and targets IT professionals in both the private and public sector. The online presence of this magazine seems rather dull upon first impression, as it is much the same as any website from the past decade or so. Interactivity is kept to a bare minimum and focuses almost solely on up-to-date IT news. However, there is a newsletter. There are five main sections to this website; each has their own set of (obvious) subsections:
I find the lack of RSS quite surprising as this website is laid out in an article-style. RSS would work well for this website, yet they have neglected or just ignored its potential.
Since first visiting this website, they have had a slight redesign and have included some additional features: podcasts and a forum. But still no RSS.


The Designer Magazine (5th Element Publications Ltd)
  • Free electronic back issues
  • Print back issue ordering
  • Trade directory
  • Event listings
  • Advertising form
  • Job listings
The Designer targets design professionals working with kitchens and bathrooms and is published by 5th Element Publications Ltd. The site, upon first impression looks like quite a standard, yet well designed page. The most interesting feature I found on the website was the presence of an electronic collection of their magazines, viewable in full using an applet called Flexipage:
As you may be able to see, the pages turn with a 3D motion and lighting effects that add to the glossy aesthetic of the magazine. I realise this type of application is a little 'old-hat', but I think it works well to add more of a virtual-tangeability to the electronic edition. I also like the fact that it is not too resource-hungry. The application loads relatively quickly and uses very little physical memory.


Another useful feature for readers of this magazine is the online directory of suppliers and products; a good reference tool to have. If people can make good use of your site and they find it useful, they are more likely to revisit.
There is a section on The Designer’s site where businesses or individuals can apply to advertise in the magazine. Also, on the same page, there is a PDF media pack that explains the advertising process and gives advice on the same. A user-friendly application system is a good feature to have as it makes it easier and quicker for advertisers to put forward a request - a standardised format speeds-up the process of getting the advert into the magazine.


PRWeek (Haymarket Business Media)
  • RSS feeds
  • Job listings
  • Extensive news section
  • Electronic magazine
  • Podcasts
  • Newsletter
  • Search bar
  • Audio & video
As you can see, this website looks much like any news and current affairs website out there at the moment – broken up like a mini, electronic newspaper. This page makes good use of RSS – a popular Web 2.0 tool at the moment which means users can customize the news articles they receive, beit via email, live feeds on the Vista sidebar or through Google Reader.
This site is probably one of the best exampes I have come across in the B2B sector, although it is not anything special, it recognises the standard of work done by other popular journalistic websites. The inclusion of Podcasts on the site is a nice touch. Podcasts have only been around for a short time and it is encouraging to see the adoption on this site. Podcasts make it possible for users to take content with them



Top Gear





  • News
  • Features
  • Games
  • Competitions
  • RSS feeds
  • Buyers guides
  • Test drive reports
  • Blogs
  • Video content
  • Search bar


 I realise, this website is not relating to a business to business magazine but I have struggled to find a B2B website that has anything impressive to offer. I believe one of those most functional magazine websites I have come across is that of Top Gear:



The Top Gear site has all that one would expect from a motoring magazine's website: reviews, news, features, competitions, buyers guides, etc. Blogs are a good feature to have on a journalistic website as they offer a more personal touch to the whole project. It has been said that we live in the age of the blog. Never before has blogging been more popular, with two blogs being born every second, this is indisputable. The blog section offers readers the chance to comment on stories and address journalists directly. The website also makes good use of RSS with that famililar orange icon making an appearance throughout. I believe RSS is a very important tool at the moment with all the talk of Web 2.0 banding around the internet, it could reflect badly upon the website if such tools were neglected. RSS gives users the chance to colsolidate any information from websites they visit often into one convenient page using online applications such as Google Reader and  Bloglines.


The website also has a section for video content - making the site more of a multimedia experience. The videos are quite limited but they do offer users a chance to recap what has been most prominent in the Top Gear television series. I believe the site aims to be both informative and entertaining. The buyers guides are a very useful feature as they are a sleeker, searchable version of the back pages of the magazine itself.


The Top Gear Magazine is promoted quite well on the front page, but not so heavily as to seem like a visually intrusive attempt at self promotion - all we see is a cover photograph, an additional picture and a tagline. Simple and to the point.


Test drives are nicely featured on the main page and throughout under the heading, 'Drives' for quick and easy access to reviews. The developers have obviously considered their visitors' needs - why they are visiting the site in the first place.


The wallpapers section is a classic feature. Having a Top Gear wallpaper is an everyday reminder of the site's presence as you will be staring at a Top Gear logo every time you view your desktop.



Generating Revenue


Most websites rely heavily on advertising for income. Obviously, the bigger and more widely read the website is, the more money advertisers are willing to pay. The Top Gear website, for example, uses three banners on its main page. These banners are designed so as to fit in with the overall style of the website, which was most likely a requirement of the web designers. A brash, overbearing banner will undoubtedly turn off any visitors and it makes the site look somewhat tacky.


Google AdSense is a hugely popular tool for generating income via a website. This service provides websites with relevent advertising using text, images and/or video. Income in generated on a pay-per-click basis; meaning, money is made every time a visitor to your website clicks on one of your AdSense adverts.


The use of online games within a website is a good method of getting your visitors to come back regularly. The Top Gear website has several games; the featured game being a 3D Mazda racing game which is quite clearly earning them some sponsorship money.


New Media Experimentation


A select number of magazines and newspapers are now offering online editions alongside their print publications. Last year, the Telegraph were one of the first to launch a condensed afternoon edition of the newspaper for readers to download for free. The digital version of the Telegraph was a PDF that was printable to A4 paper. Now, however, they seem to have replaced this edition with full text versions of the paper with searchable pages and enhanced navigation by topic. This is not a free service - a weekly subscription will cost you £4.99. This is quite a brave move, as they must believe people will be willing to pay that amount rather than stick to the articles the Telegraph regularly publish on their website.



Similarly, The Guardian and Observer offer a paid-for digital edition of their daily newspapers - again, full text editions. These papers however offer a pay-as-you-go system as well as a subcription-based service. For £1.50, one can view the last thirteen Guardian issues and last ten editions of the Observer. This is good value, but of course, the line between a free newspaper and one you have to pay for is quite broad. Users are becoming increasingly adventurous where current affairs are concerned as they have so many options - free newspapers, journalistic blogs, digital broadsheets and tabloids, and of course newspaper websites such as Guardian Unlimited.




The Week magazine recently published an online edition focusing on environmental issues in this kind of format.


“Bringing our readers an extra issue in a digital format echoes the environmental issues we’re trying to highlight,” said Justin Smith, president and publisher of The Week in New York, which is part of Dennis Publishing.


(Freepress, 2007)


 The Charlotte Observer, based in North Carolina, USA announced plans to create a customised two-page newspaper for its subscribers:


Here is how it works: The source for the personalised paper is a designated website where subscribers first visit to answer 13 questions so the newspaper can gauge interests, whether it is in business, sports, politics, etc. For each answer, an RSS feed is assigned, already created from The Observer (different blogs, websites, etc.), or users can create their own RSS feeds. At that point, the software sends the feeds to a pagination program and it is formatted onto a page (some minor manual intervention).


(IFRA, 2007)


This particular newspaper is using its customised content to enable more relevent and specific advertising, which is more likely to result in follow-up sales. This means that advertising with one of these services has much more worth.



Of course, the idea of a personalised newspaper is not completely new. The concept has been around for some time, and an obvious variation of this concept is the RSS model. Services such as Google Reader and Bloglines, which I mentioned earlier offer users the option to have the latest articles from their favourite current-affairs websites and blogs on one page.


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