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Electronics

Online At Last

Lead Line — September 2001
By Richard Thiel

Online At Last
They were online, I was crazy with impatience.

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Patience has never been my forte. I came into this world three weeks ahead of schedule, and as a kid I drove my father, to whom patience and forbearance were heavenly virtues, to distraction. Whether it was waiting for paint to dry, a trout to bite, or summer to come, I couldn't.

My character flaw was never more apparent than during Dot-Com Mania. I'd been told paper publications would be replaced by electronic magazines, constantly updated and full of links to related Web sites. Any magazine that was to survive had to have a Web site. Now. Never mind that no one knew what should be on it. Research was part of the old print-on-paper world.

Overnight our competitors sprouted flashy sites while we planned and researched and planned some more. We saw flaws in those sites--scant content, out-of-date material, weak links--and determined not to make those mistakes. Yet they were online, and I was crazy with impatience.

But the more we dawdled, the more two things became obvious. One, electronic magazines were not going to replace paper ones. Two, readers were quickly disaffected by sites that just replicated the magazine and offered links anyone could find with a search engine. The longer we waited, the smarter we looked. And the more impatient I became.

Then in January our parent corporation, Primedia, formally acquired the Internet portal About.com. About.com bills itself as "The Human Internet" because when you type a subject into its search engine, you go to a site manned by a "guide," a person who is passionate about that particular field and who has already done exhaustive searches to find the best sites. About.com is specific, comprehensive, and popular. It covers more than 700 subjects which range from Italy to bass fishing, and it is currently the seventh largest site on the Web, with some 24 million unique visitors each month.

About.com already had a powerboating site focused mainly on high-performance boats and racing, which will continue as PMY assumes responsibility for the mainstream powerboating site and our editorial staff assumes the role of guide. So when you type in powerandmotoryacht.about.com, you'll see one of About.com's familiar opening pages customized for us. At the top will be the name Power & Motoryacht and pictures of the editors, so you'll finally be able to place faces with bylines.

Farther down the page you'll find the current month's cover and titles of articles in that issue, plus those of pieces we created just for our site. Clicking on one will take you to the full text, pictures included, and you'll be happy to know that boat tests will display all technical data and our exclusive performance and acceleration charts. There will also be links to related articles and a table of contents that gives you access to stories new and old arranged by subject, such as cruising and maintenance.

But the best part is the fingertip access to other About.com sites. Say you're reading a PMY article about cruising New England and would like to know more about Boston. Just enter "Boston" in the space provided, and you'll be taken to About.com's Boston expert, John Maihos. Wondering how to prepare those bluefish you just caught? Megan Secatore has a bunch of recipes on her Providence, Rhode Island, About.com page. The possibilities are almost endless.

As a PMY reader, your main passion is boats, but you also have other interests. Only powerandmotoryacht.about.com can give you access to this, the most powerful search engine available with ready access to information on virtually every subject via Web sites monitored by acknowledged experts. No more searching blindly. For the first time, it's all in one place. That's why powerandmotoryacht.about.com is the only portal a powerboater needs. I can't wait for you to see it.

 

This article originally appeared in the January 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.

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