Time.com Spins Off Technology Blog Into Standalone Website

Techland Replaces Nerd World, but Faces Crowded Field

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Time magazine's website is bidding for a bigger piece of geeky audiences and technology advertisers today by moving its 3-year-old Nerd World blog out of Time.com, adding additional technology coverage and renaming it Techland.

Techland seems to face a steep challenge as it elbows into a category already crowded by robust sites including Gizmodo, Engadget, TechCrunch, Ars Technica, CNET and PCMag.com, to name a few. Gizmodo, for one, averaged 2 million monthly unique visitors in the third quarter, up 32% from the third quarter of 2008, according to Nielsen.

Nerd World readers commenting on Time.com's strategy have already pointed out the abundance of tech coverage online. "I already get tech from Slashdot, Daring Fireball, Ars Technica...," one wrote.

"I agree with the shooting gallery that I don't need another tech blog," another said, "though I certainly understand wanting to get a piece of the Engadget/Gizmodo money pie."

A Nerd World contributing editor seconded the sentiment about money. "This thing has to pay for itself, and tech=traffic," he wrote in the comment thread. "Any guesses as to the all-time most-read post on Nerd World?" It was the prior week's review of the Droid phone. "By a big margin."

The idea that more visibility and devotion to a subject will attract more visitors and advertisers has some support from previous examples: AOL's celebrity site TMZ is probably the most encouraging. Time.com itself has already lent a degree of separation to The Page, the politics site by Mark Halperin at ThePage.Time.com. But Time will want to see a lot more traffic for Techland than The Page is delivering right now; The Page averaged 85,000 monthly unique visitors in the third quarter, according to Nielsen.

Techland, on the other hand, doesn't need to become No. 1 in its category to succeed, said John Cantarella, senior VP-digital at Time Inc.'s news group. "If you look at the biggest players in the space, at the top there's a few very big folks," he said. "Further down the list the other sites out there are not attracting millions and millions of uniques."

Time also hopes Techland can stand out by mixing its tech reports with posts on gaming, science fiction and comic books, Mr. Cantarella added. "Obviously it's tech news and gadgets, but it's also the notion that people who do like news and gadgets also like the cultural piece that goes along with it," he said. "There's not a lot of sites that do tech and gadgets that also do the cultural piece."

And with the exception of Peter Ha, a CrunchGear writer hired away to become Time.com's technology editor, the new site will operate on existing resources. The ad sales team for Time.com already spends a lot of time on the technology and telecom clients, which represent a major category for the main site, but now will offer Techland as well. The site went live today with ads promoting Google's Chrome browser.

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