Tech publication ZDNet has shut its local sites, congregating its global divisions into a supersite that will publish a mix of global and localised content for each region.
But the Australian division promises its coverage won’t suffer, saying it will continue to publish just as many local stories.
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However, advertising experts are stumped, questioning why the company would give up such lucrative opportunities to make content more relevant for local users.
“I just cannot think of an idea. I’m stumped,” Fusion Strategy chief executive Steve Allen told SmartCompany this morning.
ZDNet comes under the CBS Interactive banner, alongside sites such as CNET and GameSpot. Like many other global websites, it maintains an American site and localised versions, including sites in Britain and Australia, with local editorial teams producing Australia-specific content.
But the publication now says these sites will merge onto one platform, with the goal to provide tech coverage across the world with “both global and local insight”.
The ZDNet.com.au site now diverts to the ZDNet.com URL, although users can still pick the “Australia edition” by selecting that version from a drop-down box. The company says the integration is more about changing the way each site publishes its content, rather than any sort of editorial decision.
Local editorial director Brian Haverty says previous reports the local division was shutting its doors are “greatly fabricated”, explaining that all the English language sites have been merged into one. It also says there are more projects in the works, including a subscription service.
He also said no one from the local editorial team would be let go.
“We’ve been doing more with our global teams anyway, to try and figure out where we can work together more.”
The local site offers not only news, but resources such as podcasts and live blogs of events. It remains unclear whether these will remain under the new structure, or whether the site’s team of contributors will have access to as much work as they did under the previous model. However, Haverty did say the team will be adding a new member soon.
But, according to Haverty, nothing is going to be lost.
“It’s about adding a lot more. It might startle a few people, but we’re definitely not cutting back at all.”
Yet from an advertising standpoint, Allen suggests the move is a strange one. It locks the company out of many local deals.
“This feels suspiciously like a prelude to something else, and it just doesn’t make sense.”