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Jim Spanfeller

Published on .

Jim Spanfeller, president-CEO of Forbes.com, knows that in an increasingly fragmented media environment, it is folly to take any eyeballs for granted.

"Just because we had 19 million [global] visitors in March doesn't mean we get 19 million visitors in April, or if we get 2 million visitors on Monday we'll get 2 million visitors on Tuesday," said Spanfeller, who is also chairman of the Interactive Advertising Bureau. "You have to continue to innovate, and give people reasons to spend more time with your site, which is what your competitors are doing."

Forbes.com has several enhancements in the works. Later this year it'll launch ForbesTraveler.com, which will build on ForbesAuto.com, a Web site for the luxury automotive market, which was launched in May 2005.

"Lots of folks in the travel space tend to go middle to lower market," Spanfeller said. "There are not too many sites focused on the top third of the market and travel destinations for the luxury marketplace."

Spanfeller has brought in magazine veteran Barry Golson, a colleague from his days at Playboy and Ziff Davis Media, as editor of the travel site. Spanfeller also recently hired newspaper and magazine veteran Jim Brady to pen a personal column for Forbes.com.

Looking ahead, Spanfeller is eager to "localize" Forbes.com globally. In June, Forbes.com will roll out a local-language edition in Poland, which has one of the more entrepreneurial economies in Eastern Europe. Spanfeller hopes to add local-language editions of Forbes.com in China, Japan and South Korea, with other countries to follow.

Video continues to play a crucial role at Forbes.com. The unit has built two studios in New York, where it produces 15 original video segments a day.

The various changes align with Spanfeller's mission of providing "entwined media." "The consumer is in control, so the intent is to distribute the stories in a variety of ways, whether text, audio or video," he said.

Spanfeller is also boosting Forbes.com's hard-core business coverage. In April, the site expanded its coverage of business-oriented news from Washington, D.C., with the launch of "Business in the Beltway." Forbes.com is carrying feeds from RealClearPolitics.com, which provides political columns and blogs, and also offers its own political analysis and commentary. -M.S.

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