What’s the impact of Source the Engineer?

The impact of trade press changes 

As you are probably aware four of the remaining Pro-Talk sites closed their doors recently and were replaced with Source the Engineer. This means that EngineeringTalk, ManufacturingTalk, ProcessingTalk and ElectronicsTalk have been absorbed into the new site. They are a kind of marketplace for the The Engineer. Confusingly, the TheEngineer.co.uk still exists as a separate entity.

So what impact does this have on us engineering PR folk?

In order to decide this, we need to take a peek into history. Back in 1998, EngineeringTalk revolutionised online publishing in the engineering sector. Before it launched, there were a few sites half heartedly trying to take advantage of this ‘Internet’ that the crazy kids were talking about. Afterwards, the game changed.

EngineeringTalk, and the other Talk sites that followed, were incredibly well optimised for search. So much so that news stories appearing on them would often appear ahead of the Web site of the company launching the story.

This was great for us engineering PR folk as it naturally meant mountains of sales leads for our clients, which were clearly traceable to PR activity.

Then, Google changed the game and it became much harder for a news site, publishing every press release that graced its doors to do well in Google. At around about this point the independent company running the sites sold its stable of online publications to Centaur.

This was soon followed by a rationalisation of content, with sites like CIM-Talk shutting completely while others, such as PrintingTalk and BuildingTalk still survive today.

However, the key change was that the sites no longer performed as well in Google, through no fault of Centaur. Google had simply changed the game. They also stopped publishing every story they received, instead focussing on a limited number of pieces.

From the outside looking in, we have to think that Source the Engineer is a move towards re-establishing a position of dominance. There are alternative views of course, suggesting that it may be part of a reaction to the economic downturn, as expressed very eloquently by Russ Swan here.

So far, the new site is searching well. Today’s top story comes up top of both Google News and the regular Google search, providing you search using keywords from the title (which is probably also the H1 tag).

Whether Source can achieve anything like the dominance that EngineeringTalk had is a real question. I hope either it, or someone else, can. Because we’ve missed you EngineeringTalk ;-)

More news from technical publishing
The IMarEST, publisher of Maritime IT & Electronics, MER (Marine Engineers Review), Offshore Technology, Shipping World & Shipbuilder, The Marine Professional and The Marine Scientist has changed address. Its new address is Aldgate House, 33 Aldgate High Street, London, EC3N 1EN.

German company DVV Media Group has acquired Air Cargo Media, publisher of Air Cargo News, and Freighters’ World.

The Chartered Quality Institute (CQI) has appointed Guy Goodwin as communications manager of Qualityworld, he will also fill the role of former editor Helen Stokes.

Energy Live News has got a new Web site, which covers news from the UK and international business energy sector as well as domestic power stories.

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Richard Stone - Stone Junction

Stone Junction is a cool technical PR agency based in Stafford. We work for all sorts of businesses, with a particular focus on technology, technical and engineering companies. We like being sent cake and biscuits by clients, journalists and prospects.


Charles Clayton said...

It's a very interesting story, the rise and fall of the -Talk publications. Many things changed at Google and many things changed since Centaur took over. Apart from the Google algorithm change, the owners changed from being online "experts" to print based background "experts." The two disciplines are so different that it is not surprising that large mistakes were and continue to be made.
I hope the new offering works out for everybody. It was a very good online business model.

bin95 said...

Engineering Talk and Manufacturing talk evolved to the point, it seemed like the emails I was subscribed to was like watching commercials all day long. Sounds like source the Engineer will be more of the same. From a marketing perspective, I felt if I felt that way, so may others reading my post to E & M talk, so lost interest. Just my perspective on it all.

Editor said...

Thank you for this great summery. We used to work with Engineeringtalk for many of our clients but we stopped to recommend them as already years ago they had a dramatical drop in the number and quality of sales leads they used to generate. It would be interesting to know why google dropped them...I can remeber that they started as you say to pick only selected stories and also rewrote them to avoid double content...it seems that this did not help....  

Charles Clayton said...

Another comment...Centaur continue to make a mess of online like nearly all old print companies.  Duplicate content cost Rand and co dearly! Pity...they are decent people.
Ongoing content updates like the recent Panda update have also penalised those who don't understand "reading online." We read more slowly online (25%) and read in "patterns/shapes" ...if Google can't see that you understand this, you are in trouble.