Media: AskMen has more than sex appeal

AskMen is of one the biggest sites for men - but many will never have heard of it.

one of the biggest websites for men: AskMen
one of the biggest websites for men: AskMen

The advice site reaches 825,000 unique users a month in the UK and, according to October 2010's comScore, it reaches more UK men online than FHM, GQ, Men's Health and ShortList.

Following the proposed redundancies at sister firm MySpace, IGN Entertainment and its brands (IGN and AskMen) are set to become a bigger priority for parent company NewsCorp and therefore a bigger target for PROs.

AskMen gives men tips on fashion, health, career and relationships. It was founded, says UK editor Drew Lubega, in Canada in 1999 when some college friends were in a bar and saw what they thought was a well-dressed man, until they spotted his white socks.

The friends thought men needed an advice site, and AskMen now has dedicated sites in Canada, the US, the UK and Australia.

About 40-50 per cent of content is produced by local teams; the UK team is three-strong.

Lubega says the site is aimed at men in their mid-twenties to early thirties with disposable income, who are in their second or third job.

Recent editorial changes saw the launch of a new video channel, which publishes two to three specific videos at day.

The design was also rejigged for clearer navigation.

The site is different from rivals, claims Lubega, because of its advice-focused content and the breadth of subject matter. The site may do a feature on 'top ten Vince Vaughan films' but will also do 'top ten health tips'.

Lubega adds: 'AskMen has always been in the online space, so we are experts and are at a later stage of evolution than our rivals who started off as magazines and are now trying to crack online.'

There are lots of opportunities for PROs to get coverage. 'One feature we started in November and publish every Wednesday is "the expert ten", where we speak to a CEO or founder of a company to give advice on their expert subject,' says Lubega. Previous examples have included Marco Pierre White's ten tips on how to keep cooking simple. 'If PROs have someone with suitable authority, then get in touch,' he adds.

DDA PR's head of digital Marc Foley-Comer says his team targets the site with film and DVD releases aimed at men.

He says: 'AskMen is the thinking man's site and has a more well-rounded lifestyle focus. GQ is very much fashion-led. FHM and Nuts are sex-led, whereas AskMen incorporates fashion, health, business, money and sex equally.'

Foley-Comer says that the site would be a good target for more prestigious brands with a target audience of highearning men in their thirties.

'As with many online magazine sites, exclusive high-end content and talent access is key to keeping the site's users in mind at all times,' he says.

QUICK FACTS

Unique users: 825,000 a month (Source: comScore)

Launched: 1999

Website: askmen.com

Survey: Each year, the site surveys 7,000 UK men on what defines the modern man. The 2010 survey showed that 85 per cent still believe in the institution of marriage

Contact: UK editor Drew Lubega; alubega@ign.com

A MINUTE WITH ... Drew Lubega, UK editor, AskMen

- How do you feature women in AskMen?

The perception of men's sites that we are interested in scantily clad women has been the battering ram of our opponents. But this is not something we focus on; we are more interested in lifestyle content. We are less of a salacious or sex-focused site than most men's media.

- Please give some tips for PROs

With the size of our team, if something is not super-urgent, then it is better to email me first, then call. Naturally, the first time you introduce something you will need to unload a lot of detail on me. I would prefer to receive that in an email and then by all means follow up with a call. I respect the fact that PROs have a job to do.

- What do you want from PROs?

We write practical features with snackable pieces of content. I would encourage PROs to get in contact with celebrity interviews. We have an interview slot to fill on our video channel every Wednesday and have already interviewed Nicolas Cage and Phil 'The Power' Taylor.

- Any future plans?

We may start experimenting with news. Most people who are after real news will go to a site that does that. But something that piques the interest of men - such as a new Formula 1 car being launched - would be good for our site.

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