PARENTING SITES LOOK FOR PARTNERS

By: Karim Mostafa

NYToday.com Becomes Early Adopter



Correction: We reported last week that the UrbanBaby Network’s 25 employees
are all work-at-home mothers. Actually, the company includes a diverse group
of male and female employees.



Tapping into a new market, NYToday.com recently partnered with the
UrbanBaby Network to create a co-branded site for expecting and early-

childhood parents.


The New York-based network is itself a bit of a newborn; founders and
managers Susan and John Maloney gave birth to UrbanBaby in August.



But its youth didn’t deter Times Co. Digital, the Web division of The
New York Times Co. ‘The quality of what they had was the best we saw
out there for the cost/benefit relationship,’ says Jason Krebs, general
manager of NYToday.com. ‘And we did look at a number of different
sites.’


The co-branded site will feature original content geared toward
expecting parents. Everything from events listings to an online garage
sale make for an integrated site with content, commerce, and community.
NYToday.com has named it the Kids & Family section and will handle
advertising for the site.



The Network has launched local sites for other cities including Boston,
San Francisco, and Los Angeles. Scheduled to appear this year are
London, Chicago, Miami, and Washington, D.C. It’s a blistering pace for
a company that only launched a few months ago.



The speed of the wired world is what led one newspaper publisher to
lose the printing presses in favor of servers. Betsy Weaver, president
of parenting publications in New England for 16 years, sold her monthly
papers including The Boston Parents’ Paper and Rhode Island Parents’
Paper to United Advertising Publications Jan. 14.



Families Plus now has two Web sites, Parenting-QA.com and CyberMom.com.
A third site called LocalMom.com is scheduled to launch on Mother’s
Day.


Weaver says specialty publications are particularly well-suited for the
vertical portal strategy. Her print products concentrated on ‘how to
get information to parents about raising kids,’ and the Internet just
makes that task much easier, she says.


Weaver, who has been operating Web sites for four years, says that
finding partners in other cities has been essential for implementing a
‘local strategy.’ She’s teamed up with Chicago Parent, headed by Dan
Haley, and in Philadelphia, MetroKids, headed by Nancy Lisagor. Cities
to be included in the LocalMom.com Network include Boston,
Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Dallas, San Diego, and
Chicago.


Weaver considered newspaper partners, but after talking with one major
newspaper chain (she wouldn’t disclose its identity) a year and a half
ago, she says, ‘Frankly, I felt they just didn’t get it.’ She thinks
many newspapers are missing the opportunity to ‘translate content into
customized, personalized, and interactive services.’



Meanwhile, the UrbanBaby Network continues to look for media partners.
The company has 25 employees, which includes several at-home mothers
working as local editors. The central editorial office is in New York
where Susan Maloney is editor in chief. With several city sites up and
running, they are in talks with other major media companies for
agreements similar to the NYToday.com deal.


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Karim Mostafa (karimm@mediainfo.com) is assistant editor
of Editor & Publisher Online.









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