|Adios Mothers, Says Enquirer's Parent Corp.|
"Leave it to Gannett, the Virginia-based owner of the Cincinnati Enquirer, to corporatize a popular -- and titillating -- Web venture and run it into the ground. That's what's happening with Gannett's MomsLikeMe, a discussion site for mothers and mothers-to-be. Launched by the chain's newspaper in Indianapolis in 2006, it was cloned at the sister Enquirer as CincyMoms.com. With nothing else quite like it in town, CincyMoms became the gathering place for people with questions about babies, baby products and pediatricians and such. Before long the site got its own editor/moderator, and CincyMoms became the company's darling of cross-marketing opportunities. But someone shrewdly realized that a website consisting of the revolving-door sharing of moribund content wouldn't last long. To make sure conversation threads were livelier than mere burping and diaper jabber, the Enquirer hired 10 "discussion leaders" to ramp up the traffic. And in a rare stroke of genius at a paper best known for its banality, one of the thought leaders was from a company that sells sex products."
Whoever joined CincyMoms from Pure Romance knew what he/she was doing. Most of his/her discussions, found on the 'Sex and Romance' tab, took people to the front-end of the mothering process, that is, to the sex part. A thread called 'The Other Entry' led people to debate the up- and downside of anal sex. Other experts joined a conversation about proper oral sex technique, including one surefire test of determining if the beneficiary had already gotten lucky (a lipstick ring!) A 2007 thread called 'Weirdest Place You've Done It' drew 136 replies and 7,416 readers. One called 'How Often is Normal?' had 40 posts and 1,765 reads. All that disappeared a couple of years later when Gannett consolidated all of the Moms sites into one national forum called MomsLikeMe. Corporate diluted it with threads and surveys on politics, sports and schools. The dozen or so subject categories are limited to activities, motherhood, 'my life' and other non-salacious topics. Gannett is shutting it down Friday. What a great business-school lesson this would make.