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Shelby Bonnie’s trying again, this time with a clean slate. And keeping it much much smaller that his former company CNET. His company Whiskey Media, a “social publishing” company as he calls it, is all about the small. How do you develop enough affinity niches, and bind them together for scale? It isn’t exactly a new idea, but counting out Bonnie and his team, a bunch of them ex-CNETers, would be foolish. His first site PoliticalBase, launched in Oct 2007 just when the presidential elections were heating up, failed and closed down last year after the elections, for reasons he talks about in the video below. Since then, his company has launched four different sites — video gamer GiantBomb, comic books forum ComicVine, anime fans site AnimeVice and its newest site Tested, on gadget reviews with a twist — all focused on the youth market.
I recently spoke to him and his business partner Mike Tatum, also a former CNET senior executive, about the new company, and other issues, including:
— their post-CNET philosophy about building a content company in these troubled times
— choosing the niches, crowdsourcing the ideas for new sites and how they are different from other enthusiast sites
— their views about “content factories”: “you get what you pay for”
— why and how they shun SEO, and how they build the traffic funnel
— the “template” they are building across their network, and how to develop them in a social environment
— the dichotomy of scale in niche publishing
— incentivizing users for social interaction
— why is there space for a tech review site
— their views on current CNET-under-CBS
Below is the 21 minute long video.