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Condé Nast is abandoning its longstanding strategy of separating digital properties and deciding instead to roll them all into one division…

Condé Nast is abandoning its longstanding strategy of separating digital properties and deciding instead to roll them all into one division. Sarah Chubb, president of the now disbanded CondéNet, will retain her title as head of the new division, Condé Nast Digital. Chubb will report to Condé Nast CEO Charles Townsend. A rep told paidContent that no jobs would be lost as a result of the changes. The change is aimed at correcting Condé Nast’s jumbled approach to digital the last few years. For example, the publisher recently pulled the plug on a blog network tied to Glamour, Allure and Self and suspended new website launches.

A little over two years ago, Condé Nast took away operations and maintenance of its individual magazine websites from CondéNet. Since then, sites tied to mags like Glamour, Vanity Fair and Portfolio were run separately from CondéNet; the latter oversaw Wired Digital along with portals like Concierge.com and Epicurious.com. The two sides often shared online ad-sales functions. More after the jump.

While CondéNet has had its share of troubles — such as across-the-board layoffs — it has maintained stability at recent acquisitions like ArsTechnica, which Condé Nast bought and turned over to the interactive unit in May. Other efforts like turning teen girls’ social net Flip into an app bore little fruit; the site was closed last month.

Although CondéNet has been around 13 years, Townsend conceded to AdAge that when it comes to digital, “We really haven’t put a lot of effort against it, if you’re just simply honest.” According to a survey of major publishers taken by AdAge, Condé Nast

  1. Since none of their properties do very well might they want to change leadership? Sue Decker is available:)

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  2. This touches on the age old question. Does putting all titles under one umbrella brand work for all users? Or is it sensible to offer both models – offering everyone an umbrella brand portal with 'best of content' while still offering loyal readers of flagship magazines their own unique experience?

    One side note: would offering identical content on different websites technically be duplicate content and therefore affect SEO indexing?

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  3. this constant back and forth between one web entity and ownership by the magazines, make up your mind already! technically, a magazine and website should be together and have a platform agnostic staff, but the reality is, the magazines still get so much more priority, that putting the two together usually means the print overwhelms the web.

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  4. it just points to the fact that they are struggling to find their footing now that the web is killing their core businesses.

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  5. CN spent too much time repurposing magazine content while start-ups and competitors built out content and community in CN's core niches. Now they're trying to play catch-up. They need some new blood who can see ahead of the curve.

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  6. Until a media company isnt run by a print editor, or veteran from the good old days of print these companies will continue to shift strategy, change organizational structure and loose money. Agree with JB on being platform agnostic. Edit needs to be able to write and optimize for both print and web, sales needs to sell both programs effectively; the two platforms need specialists and generalists. Until we see yet another paradigm shift, in which a companies brand isnt solely recognized by its cover but rather its cover combined with a functional/impressive website – we'll continue to print news on organizational changes while taking notes and making bets.

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  7. Perhaps one sideline benefit of these difficult economic times will be that some companies (like this one) will rationalize their previously convoluted structures. For our part, our company will be looking forward to knowing which tag wags which dog at Conde!

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  8. "a magazine and website should be together and have a platform agnostic staff, but the reality is, the magazines still get so much more priority, that putting the two together usually means the print overwhelms the web."

    The magazine gets more priority, since the magazine can still (in theory!) sell 25k a page ads. The REALITY is that the web is collapsing the advertising model as we know it. There just is not going to be as much money made (in the short term) selling web ads. I believe you can brand on-line, but there has to be some ROI. These print ads can be backed up by all kinds of media kits and numbers, etc. – but the fact is you never really know if seeing an ad in Vogue made someone go out and buy a pair of shoes… CPC and CPA let you measure this is real time. When does an employee go into an executives office at Conde Nast and tell them the only way to compete is to cut costs, cut staff, move massively onto the web, outsource as much reporting, photography etc. as you can to locals, stop sending people to Paris and Milan, etc. It is not going to happen – until one by one these magazines disappear or eventually leverage up even more and buy some of the new sites and networks (Glam, onSugar, Superfuture.com, etc.) that are killing them – and then they will probably ruin those anyway. Change is hard -

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