Last week Gannett bought Ripple6, a company that offers a platform for social media and online communities. Very much like its earlier PointRoll acquisition, Ripple6 will serve Gannett and Gannett-owned properties (e.g., MomsLikeMe) as well as continuing to do third party deals.
According to the press release from last week:
Ripple6 currently powers Gannett’s MomsLikeMe.com sites, which recently rolled out in 80 local markets across the country and have more than one million moms visiting each month. The company also powers social media properties for Procter & Gamble and the soon to be launched MixingBowl.com, Meredith Corporation’s social network around meals and meal planning. Ripple6 will continue to offer its solutions to third party publishers independent of Gannett.
Gannett has probably been the most progressive of the newspaper companies with social media. And this appears to be a smart buy for many reasons. Gannett has also been smart in cultivating a network of “mom sites.”
I continue to be fascinated by sites such as MomsLikeMe, which target parents and women in particular. Eventually such sites may have enormous currency in the local market (in some pockets they already do) because they’re more trusted than other categories of local sites and, to a lesser degree, have more “personality.”
While parents and moms in particular are already the most important audience for many local sites, the mainstream local sites often don’t tailor their look and feel, tools or messaging to reflect that.
Editor & Publisher reports on the American Press Institute’s recommendations for the newspaper industry, “Saving an Industry in Crisis.”