Meredith Preps Two Woman-centric Sites

Looking to beef up its digital offerings, mass magazine publisher Meredith Corp. is prepping two new Web sites for women.

One is, a food portal from Meredith’s Better Homes and Gardens Network that recently launched in beta. It will go up against a buffet of established sites for home cooks (including similar-sounding ones like Reader’s Digest Association’s and Time Inc.’s, but Meredith says its site will set itself apart through the use of a new search technology that will find the best recipes from food magazines, cookbooks, chefs and food companies.

For now, all the recipes on the site seem to come from Meredith’s own properties, including Better Homes, Fitness and Ladies’ Home Journal, but the company says it will add still-unnamed content partners. The site also will have a social element, with community groups centered around food interests.

Despite strong online competition for home cooks, the site would seem to have opportunity: of the $7.8 billion spent on food advertising in 2008, just $116.5 million—1.5 percent—went to the Web, per TNS Media Intelligence.

Separately, Meredith is developing a site called Momster, a social community for hipster moms, and Meredith’s second attempt to establish a social network outside its existing brands.

Set for a late fall launch, Momster would be an extension of Family Circle but operate outside the women’s service brand. Meredith launched its first freestanding social network,, early this year, but it has only recently started to show traffic momentum. The site was below Nielsen Online’s reporting cutoff until June, when it only had 303,000 unique visitors.