Media General’s fling with the inRich.com domain name is coming to an end. The company plans to phase out inRich.com and re-brand Richmond.com with a similar format, according to information Media General provides to potential advertisers. Media General owns the Times-Dispatch.
And other changes are afoot at the Media General, including the axing of the Washington Bureau at the end of March. Six journalists have taken buyouts, according to a story that ran in Saturday’s Times-Dispatch.
The company is focusing on the web. In its annual report, Media General called Richmond.com “a city portal Web site that services the Richmond, Virginia, things-to-do, local search and entertainment market.”
Although it might seem to many users that the company’s websites are essentially online version of the newspaper, the annual report says, “The Web sites feature content complementary, but increasingly more augmentative in nature, to its offline newspaper and television offerings.”
In 2007, the online wing of the newspaper bounced users who typed in Timesdispatch.com to inRich.com.
In November, timesdispatch.com came alive again when the newspaper opted to operate both domains as separate sites. Timesdispatch.com offered the online version of the newspaper, and inrich.com became an aggregate lifestyle portal. There was quite a bit of negative response from readers at that time.
Also in November, Media General purchased Richmond.com from John Whitlock for an undisclosed price. The company’s plans for that site remained a bit of a mystery.
Now it appears Media General is responding to some of the confusion generated by operating three local sites by paring them down to two. One will stick to the basics and serve newspaper readers who also read the news online. The other will be more of a lifestyle site, it seems.
Michael Fibison, who manages several Virginia websites for Media General, wouldn’t confirm or deny the planned change, nor would he provide details about what a revamped Richmond.com might look like.
It’s possible that the company intends to try and attract the younger generation, who use the web almost exclusively for their news. With newspaper readership falling, Media General has to find a way to secure an online audience to survive.
Al Harris is a BizSense reporter. RBS has a content sharing agreement with InRich.com in which they pick up our RSS feeds.
I think the RTD’s web strategy was confusing at best. This looks like a smart move to consolidate properties. It will be interesting to see what they do with Richmond.com.
Given the state of the economy, I would suggest aggressively monetizing Richmond.com by combining it with a mobile (text message) marketing program that would turn the site into a pure commerce play that offers users news and information on the best deals in Richmond, unique offers only found at the site, special coupons, etc.
Woo! Scary headline (“So long, inRich.com”) in context with what is getting reported about the newspaper biz these days and how so many investors are giving up on newspaper stocks. Glad to read that all that is probably going on here just some thoughtful shuffling of names and re-focus. I suspect Richmond.com was what they wanted to do with inRich.com, more or less, in the first place.
InRich.com is a great name (inRich/ enrich/ in Richmond). Perfect for the Richmond newspaper’s web site (along with TimesDispatch.com, of course). But, it’s not as great a name as Richmond.com.
Daniel, thats a great idea, but something Richmond.com tried and didn’t work.
Also, I know from some insiders their ‘planned’ go live date for this is 3/31/09. Not sure if they are going to make it or not though.
Quite frankly any change that comes out of Media General should be met with skepticism, in my opinion. This is not a well-run company, with constant expense cuts, while the CEO continues to make the same year after year, in the face of massive losses on the Publishing side.
So, what can we expect in terms of quality content, when their entire mission is to cut expenses, while preserving their retirement packages? Not much. Find another site to read.
I guess you have found the right site. I’m guessing the inrich.com to richmond.com means that richmond.com was merely an expensive domain name purchase. Not only to Media General in terms of cost for the company but also to those who lost their jobs when John Whitlock allowed a failing Media Giant to gobble up the site. Now hear is a question I pose to those that are reading this. How much did Media general pay for the domain richmond.com? Any guesses? And do you all think it was worth it?
It’s only a good buy if richmond.com’s a good property. But I don’t think it is: everyone in Richmond knows that richmond.com sucks. Their opinions of it are already formed. On popular local blogs and news sites, richmond.com is consistently voted as the worst local site in poills. So maybe the domain name change will attract, or at least not repel, site visitors who are not local. But the problems with RTD on the web are everything to do with lousy site design and bland coverage (a problem that gets much worse when someone can just click away from their… Read more »