Farm Journal Media
Eddie Winner: Best Online Community
For an online community to survive, it has to provide enough stability for users to rely on, while remaining flexible enough to adapt to audience needs. Farm Journal Mediaâs AgWeb has done just that, earning a 2011 Eddy Award over a decade after its launch in 1998.
AgWeb underwent a redesign in August 2010. Greg Vincent, editor of AgWeb, says of the update, âWe wanted to make sure we had the technology needed to best serve our audience. We focused a lot on the architecture and navigation of the site.â To better accommodate user needs, AgWeb was moved to a proprietary system provided by American Eagle.
AgWeb, whose users range from its main audience of farmers to traders and hedge funds in New York City, updates news content constantly. Stories are pre-posted and scheduled, so fresh news is available for farmers at their convenience.
Vincent says a recent coup for AgWeb is its coverage of the broker dealer MF Global crisis. âPeople think itâs a Wall Street problem, which it is, but it has had a huge impact on our users,â says Vincent. âWeâve had some commodity market insiders giving us information. It shows how we can serve our main audience, which is farmers, but also serve our audience in agri-business and the financial community.â
AgWebâs discussion forums, which are divided into topics like âTalk Humorâ, âLivestockâ and âPolicy & Politicsâ, are a large part of the siteâs success. Vincent highlights the bonds created through this forum among the farming community, âFarmers are looking for a sense of community, and have found it on AgWeb. We had one of our members pass away a few years ago, a guy who lived in central Missouri, and one of the board members from Kansas was a pallbearer at his funeral.â
The self-dubbed âAgWebbiesâ find community outside digital platforms as well. âOnce or twice a year, one of the farmers will host a get-together in their machine shop for all the AgWebbies,â says Vincent.
AgWeb receives about 3 million page views a month, with weekday traffic averaging between 120,000 to 140,00 pages views.
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