About.com Makes Over Site

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About.com relaunched its site yesterday to better cater to users who arrive there from search engines or other links.

The Primedia-owned information site, which was ranked as the 14th most visited site on the Web in March by Nielsen//NetRatings, said the remade site would make navigation easier to its 23 content channels and reinforce the About brand.

"One of our core goals was to make every page the front door for the site," said Peter Horan, About's chief executive.

Only half of About's 21 million monthly users come through direct navigation or bookmarks, he said. The rest arrive via search engines and links on other Web sites.

Horan said the goal is to boost the number of pages viewed per visit from an average of four to five to eight or nine.

Along with the redesign, About announced a partnership with Tacoda Systems to offer behavioral-targeted advertising. With Tacoda's Audience Management System, About is offering advertisers the ability to target specific audiences based on their prior site behavior. The capability lets About fill lower-priced areas of the site with higher-priced ads.

Horan said the site would look for advertisers in its highest-demand areas such as personal finance, autos and pharmaceuticals.

"I could sell four times as much cholesterol advertising as I have advertising inventory," he said. "When those same folks move off and go to French cooking, they're no longer identified as people concerned with cholesterol."

The behavior-targeted ads would complement About's content text listing ads supplied by Google. In October, About inked a four-year deal with Google to distribute its AdSense listings as part of Google's acquisition of Primedia's own competing content listings service, Sprinks. Google subsequently shut down Sprinks.

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