I’ve been quietly enjoying Wired UK, which launched earlier this year - three issues in, both magazine and website seem to be finding their feet. But for all the pricey marketing across tube, press and web, Wired UK’s biggest challenge seems to be coming from its own colleagues across the Atlantic.
Subscribers to Wired are still continuing to receive Wired US in the mail; shops continue to stock both versions - in some cases, I’ve seen them proudly displaying the two editions side by side on the shelves. And here’s what’s oddest of all: Conde Nast are still actively marketing the American Wired website directly at UK users. Almost incessant Wired US ads scoop across the top of my google mail, regularly spinning me off to top stories from the States – hardly helpful when the UK team appear to have been pouring their own ad spend into hotmail.
All in all, Wired.co.uk is an a strange situation – far prettier, far friendlier, far more usable than it’s US cousin at Wired.com, it’s also far thinner on content. Positioned more Tomorrow’s World than Today’s Web, for comprehensive details of breaking web and tech news I still find myself hopping to the bigger beefier ‘.com’ site – where I also get fuller comment and analysis.
That I’m even able to do this comes as a surprise. It seems Wired now runs two completely independant English-language websites, and no redirection, no ip-recognition exists on the American site to suggest that I’d be better served by the new British team. And given how easy it is for me to append ‘.com’ to the Wired address and access twice as much information, it seems a missed opportunity that i’m not able reach down to find it all through the British portal too - where presumably i’m far easier, far more efficiently monetised by a UK focused sales team.
I’m sure there a reasons - I suspect CondeNast’s US and International wings work far more independantly than you’d think, and given that the magazine publisher still splits its digital arms from its print teams there are probably four separate companies attempting to co-ordinate their efforts. Indeed, the UK launch, both web and mag, might be going so splendidly well that all this stuff seems like detail – I have no idea how rosy things look. But the question remains: why compete with yourself?