Suite101 Faces Big Competition in Big Market

The Vancouver Sun ran an article today about Yaletown-based Suite101.com, a how-to site for any and every topic. Now in it’s 12th year of operation, Suite101 continues to hire new employees and grow traffic, while facing competition from new sites such as Google Knol and IAC’s Life123, and entrenched sites like HowStuffWorks and About.com (which seems to have recently updated it’s former 90s, ad-laden layout). Despite the age of the site, CEO Peter Berger acknowledges that the market for these sites is still in early stages: “People don’t understand how big this market will become.” The photo accompanying the article shows editor-in-chief Joy Gugeler holding a magazine with the headline “Is Google Making Us Stoopid?”. Berger states that among their competition advantages is being selective about writers and having dedicated editors.

“We still have the intention to give well-researched advice, but it’s educated opinion that is sourced journalistically,” Gugeler says. “There is a high level of accountability.”

The article also mentions the micropayment royalty structure that Suite101 uses, where authors aren’t paid up front, but receive a portion of the Google Ads revenue. Thus, writers are rewarded for popular articles, and have a better chance of making money over time with Suite101, a top 2500 site, than trying to sell advertising on their own. Earlier this year, they launched a German language version, and later this year, will add video content to the site. Disclosure: Suite101 investor Dr. Boris Wertz is a Director of Techvibes Media Inc, and as their former officemates, Suite101 shared cake with us on employee birthdays.