The company considers the site, at Wmagazine.com, a beta effort that won't become "official" until January, but it's already preparing the moves to follow. Next year it plans to build companion sites for Gourmet and Bon Appetit, which are currently just sections of Epicurious.com. And Conde Nast Traveler will move out of Concierge.com in 2008 or 2009.
Evolving web strategy
Conde Nast has been unusual among the big magazine publishers for emphasizing themed destination sites such as Style.com and Epicurious, which it figured could attract broader traffic than companion sites for individual magazines. Its thinking and the web have both evolved, however, so the company has more recently been investing in robust sites for each title as well.
"Between 2000 and 2006, we put together a lot of learning about what made a good magazine site and why," said Sarah Chubb, president of CondeNet, Conde Nast's digital division. "The bottom line that became very, very clear was that the individual sites were not stand-alone businesses and probably never would be -- but could be very fruitful if you did them right, not only for selling subscriptions but for overall circulation health."
The web now generates well over a million subscriptions to Conde titles each year, about triple the amount five years ago, said Tom Wallace, Conde Nast's editorial director.
Maintain links to destination sites
"The destination sites are large by comparison, they're good business, beautifully shaped businesses and will continue to operate as such," Mr. Wallace said. "What we hope going into the future is that all of the magazines that build out from the destination sites will continue with a relationship to those sites, working closely with CondeNet to leverage the large and like-minded audiences at the destination sites."
Style.com originally made a good home for W, said Patrick McCarthy, editorial director of W. "It served our purposes very well because we did not have a lot of people here who were internet savvy," he said. "It made life much easier for us seven years ago."
Now, with the company's MagNet division handling the technology, W gets to show its individuality online. "It's always nice to have control of your brand," Mr. McCarthy said. "This is run by the editors of W. Style.com did a great job -- they just weren't us."