Meredith to create its own social network

October 15, 2008

According to a story in Mediaweek, Meredith is working on its own social network, Mixingbowl.com, to launch in November. As you might imagine, it’s focused on food, including recipe sharing and meal and event planning.

The interesting thing here is that they’re not hosting the new community under one of their existing brands—they’re creating a new site entirely focused on user-generated content. Here’s how they describe it:

“With the branded sites—all the different needs people come to us for, creating a very pure environment that looks and feels like it’s built for the consumer—that kind of authenticity of intent is necessary,” said Dan Hickey, Meredith’s vp, digital content. Mixingbowl, by contrast, is “really about the world of peer-to-peer recipes. It’s a social network around meals and meal planning.”

Meredith isn’t the first to create a new online brand separate from its existing print brands—a lot of magazine sites have gone back and forth between a branded site that fits with the print model and a (usually) portal site that incorporates branded content: think iVillage or MochaSofa. What’s interesting here is the Web 2.0 nature of this project as opposed to the editorial-driven ones of the past. I think it can work—there’s certainly room for social networks driven by food—but the question is whether the quality of content can lure people away from sites like epicurious.com and allrecipes.com (both of which already have some social features).

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