Online social networks such as Facebook and MySpace are among the most successful innovations of the Web 2.0 era. Can magazine publishers who want to grow on the Web capitalize on the trend by creating their own niche networks? The team at Cottage Life thinks so, which is why they've launched a new platform, called My Lake, at Cottagelife.com.
My Lake allows users, mostly cottage owners, to set up profiles in online communities centred around individual lakes. Once registered, participants can upload cottage information and pictures, and start conversations with other users.
Randy Craig, director of advertising and marketing at Cottage Life, says the market for My Lake was wide open. “There really isn’t anything available out there today that has the opportunity for cottagers to connect,” he says. Remax and Ford are already advertising on the space, Craig says. As individual lakes build up their forums, he anticipates independent local real estate agents will want to get involved.
The increased traffic flow My Lake is expected to generate could also create more movement around the site. A user may come for to the Cottage Life page for My Lake, but end up staying to get some information on boating or a recipe for an upcoming cottage dinner party, Craig says.
“My Lake is such a big initiative, I think it’s going to take a while for it to get populated,” Craig says. “As we improve it, I think it’s only going to become bigger and better.”
In another online initiative, Cottage Life has introduced digital editions. More than 90% of the mag’s subscribers bring their issue up to the cottage and leave it there, Craig says. Once a reader is back in the city and realizes they need to research something in the book, they are stuck. “It’s a perfect way for them to be able to access the issue no matter where they are,” he says. The catch: only subscribers can access the online editions.