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Media Power 50: No. 7 Forbes.com

Published on .

Jim Spanfeller, president-CEO of Forbes.com, recognizes that "a brand is a brand-but the iteration of that brand in different media is not the same. I don't see Forbes.com as being apart from Forbes magazine, but people employ the two for different sets of reasons."

Since he joined Forbes.com as its chief executive in January 2001, Spanfeller has exploited digital technologies to expand the 88-year-old Forbes brand through personalization, "verticalization" and globalization. And he has continually employed groundbreaking marketing efforts to maximize financial return.

With an audience of 10.3 million unique monthly visitors, "more people get their business news from Forbes.com than anything or anyone else in the world," Spanfeller said.

Vickie Szombathy, VP-media director at media buyer Starlink Worldwide, said, "Forbes.com is a good place online to get to the C-level."

In a trade advertising campaign launched last month, Forbes.com is touting "mass targetability," its ability to deliver advertising to advertiser-defined slices of this huge audience.

"Until now, media executives had to put their targets up against the various media available, and there was always some degree of waste," he said. "But we can give advertisers the unique cut of our readers that's most important to them, such as C-level executives with technology-buying authority in financial services."

The campaign also highlights two innovative guarantees that Forbes.com has been offering for some time: the Brand Increase Guarantee that refunds advertisers' money if their 60-day, $150,000-minimum program fails to increase brand metrics, and the Forbes.com Challenge that offers money back on advertising if it fails to outperform the same dollar amount of print advertising in The Wall Street Journal.

Meanwhile, the site keeps adding new ways to personalize "what, where and how the user interacts with us," Spanfeller said. These include the recently released Attache tool that feeds user-customized information to the often-unused right side of the Web page.

Forbes.com is also stepping up its video capabilities, with an aim of offering 60 or more hours of programming each week. This month, the first separate Web site under the Forbes.com brand, ForbesAutos.com, debuts. It is "designed to serve as an online personal shopper for luxury automotive buyers," according to the company. -Marie Griffin

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