March 08, 2007 | Graham

Brisbane Times

Fairfax Digital Media has launched a new online newspaper in Brisbane, the Brisbane Times – that’s the sort of exciting name that you get when you poach most of your staff from the Queensland Times. In fact, that’s not all they’re poaching – do a Google search on “Queensland Times” and you’ll find the only sponsored link is from the Brisbane Times.
Not sure what their strategy is, but they seem to have one big supporter – the Queensland government. Not only did Premier Beattie launch the site, but the advertising on the site appears to be “owned” by the Queensland government. All three advertising spots on the home page are running variants of the same ad spruiking the government’s efforts in dealing with the drought.
“We’re suffering Australia’s worst ever drought,” they blare – is this to do with rainfall, or something to do with newspaper coverage which they’re hoping the BT will solve?
That’s not all I noticed about the site. It looks a lot like The Courier Mail‘s site, even running the same photographic lead item about a couple of cows that got out onto the Gold Coast Motorway – the BT version is here and the CM one here. Our surveing last year showed that Fairfax attracts disproportionate numbers of Queenslanders to The Age and the SMH online. All the quality material on this new site appears to be derived from the same source, making the 15 journalists that have been employed and expensive way to build a state-based tabloid portal to material that is already available and read by Queenslanders. There must be a large parochial advertising market up here that they intend to tap to pay all of those journalists to sell advertising they’re most probably already selling to Queenslanders through their other mastheads.
Fairfax has also been criticised recently for trying to fool Google on some of their other sites. It’s just possible they’re also trying to fool Alexa on their new site. When you check their traffic details you find that at 423,113 they hardly rate yet – that’s worse than most of the blogs on our The Domain page – but it’s early days yet. But what is most interesting is that Alexa tells you where people go on your site. Turns out that 75% of visits are to, which leads to the conclusion that some person or persons on a staff computer is also toting an Alexa tool bar because they don’t let casual surfers like you and me visit this page.
Brisbane needs another newspaper. I’d need a lot of convincing to think that this was it.

Posted by Graham at 5:51 pm | Comments Off on Brisbane Times |
Filed under: Media

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