For a publisher focusing on the cutting edge, Business Insider’s new tech-focused website is anything but.
The 8-year-old company launched its first standalone website last night focused on technology, aptly called Tech Insider. As Digiday reported on the planned spinoff in March, it joins a crowded field of publishers focused on consumer technology, but with ambitions to cover more than apps, gadgets and social networks.
Despite having tech written boldly in the logo, TI’s coverage area focuses more broadly on science, innovation and culture —- all maintaining BI’s signature zeal of bombastic headlines and short sentences. (Also, let’s not confuse the initials with the old calculator or the rapper.)
A scroll through its homepage reveals feature stories on the future of television, a gallery of the “best designed” gadgets of the year and a post from a writer complaining how Twitter ruined the Tour de France. If someone was looking for posts strictly about the tech industry in the purest form, this isn’t it — and that’s fine with founder Henry Blodget.
“This won’t be a gadget blog,” he told The Wall Street Journal.
TI is staffed by 40 people in New York, all housed in a separate newsroom from its mothership. The website is BI’s most ambitious endeavor since it received $25 million in fresh funding from a group of investors led by German media company Axel Springer SE in January.
Besides using an awkward .io domain, TI’s biggest challenge is establishing a unique identity when everyone looks the same.
Tech stories are well-covered by BuzzFeed, CNet, The Verge, The Next Web and plenty of others. Vice’s Motherboard, Popular Mechanics, Gizmodo, Wired all have science and innovation topics covered. Then there’s Mashable, a website that has drifted from tech into the same topics that TI is looking to cover.
Arguably its biggest competitor, The Verge, originally started as a tech website but has pivoted toward a lifestyle focus to attract more advertisers over the past year (as has Mashable.) The market for tech websites has been rolling into a consolidation phase too, with GigaOM shutting down and Vox Media buying Recode to fold into The Verge.
Still, what BI’s TI lacks in originality it makes up for in scale. BI garnered 39.6 million views in U.S. in June, according to comScore numbers provided to Digiday. That’s up a massive 52 percent over the past year making it the second-most-viewed business website just behind Yahoo Finance.
Drawing from that pool of traffic could put TI in a major advantage over its rivals. For example, CNet drew 29.2 million U.S. visitors last month, Mashable garnered 21.7 million and The Verge only collected 11.9 million.
It’s worth noting that all registered year-over-year growth, so there is an appetite for this type of coverage. The question going forward is will the BI model work for tech.