How can you compete when you don’t know who your competition is? The mistake that dinosaur Murdoch, the foe of Google, and the rest of the old publishing world made was competing against each other in a dwindling space, whilst agile new companies stepped in and ate the fresh new lunch that was there for the taking.
When you look at a company like Whisky Media you can only admire what it is up to. After raising another $2.5m from from friends and family at the end of last year, it noted, ‘We believe that we are at the center of a new wave of publishing that is socially-centered, and is also in the truest sense authentic to its category. We believe that the media brands we have developed with our “Whiskey Powered” process and technology platform will truly change how we all enjoy media, and we’re looking forward to going to even more categories we love next year. It looks to be a great time.’
So what is this whisky power all about? Well, it uses technology to harness the crowds to create community, to create content, to share a common interest. One of their products is Anime Vice – an anime and manga community that anyone can edit. Another is the world’s largest editable video game database The platform that they use is a cross between wikipedia and a forum, with some social media spice thrown in.
Recently I have seen more newspapers making an effort to engage, especially in their travel sections where readers are invited to send in their favorite trips. But this is the exception rather than the rule. Even a paper that gets it like www.guardian.co.uk has comments switched off for many of its articles. This just isn’t good enough. These days we expect to be able to comment at a minumum, and as the whisky web expands it is those sites that we will gravitate to. Sites where we can co-create and share a richer experience.
The changes that Whisky Media is making to available technologies seem incremental to me, but often a small change can make a big impact. What they do very well is create authentic communities, and that seems to come from the fact they have a genuine interest in the topics before creating an online space for them. I look forward to seeing what new sites they launch this year.