Knight Ridder's Local Portals Snatch Up AAN Partners.
RealCities.com is coming to a town near you. That is, if it’s not there already. The Knight Ridder national network of regional hubs made its homepage debut on September 16, the same day it announced new regional portal sites Miami.com, Broward.com, and TwinCities.com.
The San Jose-based newspaper chain plans to expand RealCities.com’s current network of 30 U.S. markets. According to Knight Ridder New Media President Dan Finnegan, “Within the next year,” the company “expects to have partnerships and affiliations in at least the nation’s top 25 markets.”
Knight Ridder has already affiliated with a variety of broadcast and print partners — including several AAN papers — to launch its present roster of RealCities sites. City Pages, Miami New Times, New Times Broward-Palm Beach, and Ace Magazine are each featured as partner sites on their local RealCities.com portal, with a link from the RealCities.com home page to their home page or a particular story on their website. In return, RealCities.com partners agree to provide a link back to RealCities.com from their own website, and to feature their affiliation with the local Real Cities site in site promotion or advertising.
City Pages Publisher Mark Bartel downplays the significance of the affiliation with his crosstown rival. “For the most part it’s just a simple trade of links,” says Bartel. “The reason that we entered into the partnership is simply to drive more traffic into our site. It’s a citywide portal, and we want to broaden City Pages readership. As much as CityPages.com can increase its exposure in the market, it is beneficial.”
TwinCities.com Affiliates Manager and News Editor Mike Peluso agrees. “What all of this comes down to is steering traffic to each other,” says Peluso. “[Knight Ridder] competes with [City Pages ] as a media company, but the local portal is meant as a device for anyone in the Twin Cities to find what they want on the web. City Pages will send traffic to us, and we will in turn be sending traffic back to them.”