Does the Web Need Another Tech Site? eHow Says Yes

Demand Media targets social media neophytes with new vertical

With all the technology sites filling the Web with news and reviews, it's hard to imagine that there's room for another. But Demand Media's eHow insists that there is.

Set to launch Monday, March 26, the eHow Tech channel isn't designed for the techies who can already feast on the Internet's expansive technology content. It wants to be "Tech 101" for social media newbies and digital DIYers.

"What we see as a very significant void is how to manage technology in your own life," said Erika Nardini, svp of sales and marketing for Demand Media.

One could argue that consumer news outlets like USA Today, NBC, CNET and ABC already fill that gap. But Nardini said that Demand sees a gap in basic coverage that helps people make the most of the technology in their lives.

The Tech channel will have hundreds of thousands of articles, videos and blog posts at launch, including tips from personal tech experts Carley Knobloch, founder of Digitwirl, and Jon Rettinger, founder of TechnoBuffalo, Nardini said.

Sample topics include how-to articles on how to create a Facebook Timeline and LinkedIn profile, as well as tips for mastering shortcuts on Apple's iPad and hooking up a home entertainment system.

"It's user-friendly, straightforward," said Nardini.

Rather than partnering with a big-name personality, as eHow did with Rachael Ray in launching a food vertical, Nardini said, the company chose to work with two "digitally native experts" who have an online publishing history and strong followings.

Since its IPO last January and in the wake of changes Google made to its search engine algorithm to downgrade lower-quality content (the infamous Project Panda), Demand Media has weathered a traffic drop and its stock has fallen more than 50 percent.

But Nardini said the quality of content on the new tech vertical, as with the content quality across the site, is being improved.

"We're very focused on continuing to raise the quality bar," Nardini said.

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