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BtoB

Budgeting out of the doldrums

Starting over with a new viewpoint

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Michael Cyger, chairman of Cyger Media, is reinventing the b-to-b media business he started after an unusual turn of events. In early 2000, Cyger launched CTQ Media with iSixSigma, a b-to-b portal dedicated to information related to the Lean Six Sigma managerial concept and operational excellence. CTQ, which had grown to include a print magazine, conferences, a research division and an online store, was sold in February 2008 to Schofield Media Group. After unexpectedly losing its bank funding in July 2011, Schofield shuttered its U.S. business. Cyger purchased the remaining assets of CTQ Media in November 2011 and began to rebuild. By that time, the iSixSigma website had not been updated for four months. “My outlook on publishing has changed almost 180 degrees since I started 10 years ago,” Cyger said. “Back then, I would have said content is the most important thing. Now I say content is on an equal footing with what technology provides to a community. We're fortunate to be able to step back and rebuild our company from a technology, software and community standpoint.” In addition to monetizing online media through advertising and lead generation, Cyger said he plans to build two additional revenue streams—user-paid memberships and software-as-a-service tools. In January, Cyger relaunched iSixSigma.com on a new WordPress-based content management system. “We're adding new technology features to the site, such as a gamelike experience where people will be rewarded for being interviewed, writing articles, contributing to discussion forum threads or answering other people's questions,” he said. “We have not launched any membership models yet so I can't give specifics, but it's not going to be a cookie-cutter approach. “Software as a service [SaaS] is our third focus area,” Cyger added. “Because we have communities that reach hundreds of thousands of users each month, we're able to gather certain intelligence that we will put inside software and sell for a recurring monthly fee.” The first SaaS product, which will incorporate elements of a software deck and metrics, is scheduled to debut this month on www.hashtags.org. Cyger said his plans are in line with his outlook on the economy. “I'm looking for slow but positive growth. That's why I have the confidence to take earnings from my company and invest them back into technology and people,” he said.
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