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Monday, February 11, 2008

User Generated Content to Lead Business Publications

Mansueto Ventures is betting big that content written by social network participants can happily coexist alongside professional business content. I applaud their courage, but not sure that a finer line doesn't need to be drawn between the mix of content.

Fast Company has a redesigned home page that mixes articles from its writers along with blogs and questions submitted to and by its social network community. The site has been divided into several categories that all share the format -- an article followed by a blog followed by a question, etc.

This model might well catch on, but for readers comfortable with the online magazine presentation it is a bit jarring. The company is hoping that all of the UGC will generate much more traffic and that advertisers will pay a premium to be associated with it.

Mansueto's Inc.com (for which I've written in the past) is putting the private businesses that it covers front and center. Inc.com wants up to a million private companies to contribute to profiles that it created and to maintain blogs. With free press release distribution and free business services, the new IncBizNet.com site could turn into a brothel of advertising if controls are not put into place.

Companies should be encouraged to contribute their expertise. The UGC can co-exist with professional content, but there is also a danger in blurring the line until it becomes meaningless. Advertisers will have the final say.

By John Gartner at 08:37 AM | Comments (0)

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