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Ziff Davis takes aim at Dr Tom, Anand and ‘other homegrown’ sites

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Ziff Davis Media is taking on the US major IT pubs and what it calls 'homegrown' sites with Extremetech.com.

Launching tomorrow with 30(!) staff, Extremetech (tagline: "Passionately committed to Technology") is pitched at "hardcore technologists". It will supply "this early adopter audience with technical detail that goes well beyond traditional tech coverage". There's discussion boards and email newsletters too.

To all intents and purposes, it looks like it is trying to do an OSDN, or maybe it's a Tech Republic, for the hardware and networking communities. Or maybe its a MaximumPC.com done properly: ie. not moribund.

The company says it is the first major publishing house to address the needs of this audience. And it has commissioned a survey of 1000 IT professionals and computer enthusiasts, which purports to show that 67 per cent of the audience say they "expect to use ExtremeTech over competitive sites from established companies like CMP Media and IDG, as well as 'home-grown' ones that have popped up on the Web".

Anything to get a market researcher off your back, huh? How people can predict that they will prefer a site that's not live yet, is beyond us.

It will be interesting to see how, Ziff Davis fares with Extremetech.com, the first of a number of Internet launches planned for this year. Readership-wise, it is difficult to see that there is at first glance too much of a gap in the market.

Tom's Hardware, the hardware tech market leader for instance, reaches more than 2.5 million people a month in its English language version. But is it only scratching at the surface? According to Intelliquest figures cited by Ziff Davis Media, its target audience is 11.5 million-strong.

These are "passionate, high-volume technology buyers, such as technical managers, programmers and developers, network professionals, technology enthusiasts and others that have unprecedented buying influence".

Ziff Davis Media remains a major player in the US IT print publishing market. It is now rebuilding an Internet presence, destroyed when former sister company ZDNet sold itself to CNET. Where it scores with Extremetech over the homegrown sites is financial muscle and ad sales power. Where it scores over rival major publishers is focus - IDG certainly has the content inhouse to compete head-to-head online.

But will the readers come? Sites such as THG and Anandtech have spent years gain the trust of their readers - who may disagree with them, but they can be confident that they are reading independent information sources beholden to no-one.

How long before Extremetech.com can say the same? ®

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