The Trouble With Portfolio.com

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There has been a lot of press about Conde Nast’s Portfolio magazine. The magazine publishing giant wants something to compete with Fortune and Forbes. A lot of the early reaction has been negative. Recently, the magazine’s deputy editor left.

The magazine is going to come out twelve times a year, not nearly as frequently as most of its competition. That would seem to make its website very important, since it is up 24 hours a day and can compete with any of its rivals for internet viewers.

But, the web activity does not appear to be going very well. Portfolio.com has an Alexa ranking of 93,461 among all websites around the world, Even one-man market blog Infectious Greed ranks 46,752. Forbes.com is ranked 482.

Why would so few people visit the Portfolio website? For starters, the lead stories are old. A look at the top five stories on the site at 8.30 AM has pieces based on news that is 12 hours to 24 hours old. The site has articles on the conviction of the Brocade CEO, the Fed holding rates, one of Fidelity’s top managers leaving, Microsoft’s patent progress against Alcatel-Lucent, and one on the government’s productivity numbers.

No one is going to visit Portfolio for current news anyway. There are dozens of places from WSJ.com to FT.com where web readers will go first. And, the news is current. A piece on Cisco’s quarter would be good.

Also on the home page at Portfolio.com is a piece on Microsoft cutting the price of the Xbox. That is fairly dated.  Readers will also find a piece on why James Cayne, the CEO at Bear Stearns, has not resigned. The reason seems to be that he is on the company’s board and Warren Spector, who did get fired due to the recent problems at the investment bank, is not.

There is nothing wrong with any of these stories, but there is nothing right with them either. Most of it is stuff readers can get at Yahoo! Finance or Reuters.com. Going to Portfolio’s website doesn’t add much.

The Conde Nast management may want to have a look at TheStreet.com or some other site that has a lot of original content. It might help

Douglas A. McIntyre