Dan Bigman: Managing Editor, FORBES.COM
His keen understanding of how to build online traffic and deliver direct editorial has made Forbes.com a force again.
While Forbes CEO Jim Spanfeller deserves credit for staying committed to Forbes.com through the dot-com crash, managing editor Dan Bigman is the driving force behind making the site a powerhouse again.
Bigman understands that the needs of online editorial are much different than print (or the cut-and-paste most publishers are still doing). In January, he sounded alarms at an American Business Media meeting by saying he could easily hire "one of your editors" to replicate trade-style coverage. What’s not so easy to replicate is online content. "There are a lot of reporters who never wanted to do fast news;they always wanted to work at a more leisurely pace," says Bigman. "We focus on people who ﾑget it.’ Traditionally, the magazine gave you things you never heard of once or twice a month. We’re trying to tell you new things about things you might already know about."
That includes a series of special projects that provide an alternative look at common topics. Last fall, Forbes.com ran a special report called "Communicating" that featured an in-depth package with more than 40 feature articles and interviews, 90 minutes of audio, 20 minutes of video and a special feature that enabled viewers to "e-mail themselves decades into the feature." Contributors included Noam Chomsky and Kurt Vonnegut. A similar report called "Money" ran in February.
While Forbes.com, doesn’t break out traffic for the individual site, the reports were very well received and contributed to growth of the overall site. Worldwide, Forbes.com has approximately 15 million unique viewers, according to comScore media metrix based on a three-month average.
Bigman’s priorities are to grow the online staff and serve readers any way they want, including mobile content and RSS feeds. "The place is only as good as the editors and reporters you have," he says. "The team that we built is what I’m happiest with."
VITAL STATS: Forbes.com draws 15 million unique visitors over a three-month average.