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Leveraging Online Communities

By Bill Mickey

Dale Dougherty and Dan Woods, Make:'s editor/publisher and associate publisher, respectively, knew they had a good thing going when Natalie Zee blogged about knitting on Make:'s Web site. "It was one our most popular posts of the week," says Woods. "We found the 20 and early 30-somethings that make up a lot of our [Make:] readership don't distinguish between tech and craft. So we're responding to that."

From Zee's blog posts;which Woods points out is an easy way to test ideas;and a realization that there's a healthy audience of tech-savvy crafters who like to congregate online, Dougherty and Woods saw potential for a cross-over title that celebrates a DIY ethic that bridges the gap between, say, electrical engineering and crochet.

However, it was a close monitoring of the audience that helped them determine the potential. "We included a craft component in the Maker Fair and it was very popular," says Dougherty. "So there was evidence on the gut level that we were onto something;that people were on to the same movement as Make:."

"It's the osmosis of living in a community maker spirit," says Woods of what can happen when you follow your audience's trail of interest. "You find that a guy does some glass bending and some beading;not just tech stuff. There's some crossover, but clearly two different schools that share sensibilities."

A fall launch date has been set for Craft:, with newsstand commitments in the 30,000 range and total paid subscription expectations for the first issue around 35,000.

By Bill Mickey

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