Former Forbes.com CEO Jim Spanfeller has solidified financial backing for his new food-focused Web site, which will launch in October. The as-yet-unnamed site will be the first in a series of “topic-specific vertical channels.” Spanfeller told PW he’s “actively looking for any and all partners of quality.” What does that mean for the publishing community? That those partners “could absolutely include cookbook publishers,” said Spanfeller. “We’ll be anxious to partner with anyone who has quality recipes.”
The new site marks Spanfeller’s company, Spanfeller Media Group's, first foray into online publishing. In a release, Spanfeller said the site “will satisfy a very apparent gap in the ever-expanding food media segment.” Talking to PW, Spanfeller explained that filling that gap will mean providing a “real core” to the online food landscape, a site that is “the center of the ecosystem.” He said sites like that exist in business, news, technology, and sports—“but food has not really gotten it yet. The only sites of any scale are for recipes or a support structure for the Food Network. There certainly is so much out there on food. But part of the problem with the Web is that there is so much, and a lot of it is simply not that high quality…. You need these central, hub-like sites or digital guides to set the tone and create a lightning rod for conversation and focus, and to be a guide for the rest of the Web.”
Spanfeller’s site will feature recipes, but he said it will not be limited to that. “It’s going to be very wide and very deep. There will be lots and lots of contributors to the site and a very respected editorial team at its core.” An editor-in-chief will be named after Labor Day, Spanfeller said.