Most B2B websites do not make profit

Only a quarter of successful B2B magazine websites make a profit, according to a new survey.

Research by the International Federation of the Periodical Press (FIPP) shows that most B2B publishers do not judge their web success by profit turnover and only one-fifth of sites are breaking even.

Also, almost half the sites judged to be successful are making a loss.

The FIPP B2B Publishing Internet Survey 2002/3 indicates that 75 per cent of successful B2B websites attract significant numbers of new audiences and advertisers online and that 20 per cent of their total audience are "web-only" customers. Two-thirds of the sites have gained advertisers who do not advertise in the magazines.

The main reason given by publishers for launching a website is to widen their audience by attracting new magazine readers and to create new revenue streams and profits in the long term.

The survey, based on the responses of 35 B2B publishers in 14 countries, also concludes there is no simple direct relationship between profitability and the size of the audience. Small audiences within key niche markets have proved to be profitable, while large audiences in wider markets may not be.

Three-quarters of the successful sites are updated daily and sometimes throughout the day and about half the sites have e-commerce capability where customers can pay online.

The full results of the survey are due out on 20 January.

By Ruth Addicott

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