Handbag.com relaunch embraces social networking

Natmags’s digital publishing arm will relaunch its flagship women’s portal Handbag.com next month with a heavy emphasis on social networking and personalisation functions.

The company has been has been previewing the redesigned site to ad buyers this week ahead of a scheduled 10 September relaunch, said Heart Digital Network managing director Nancy Cruickshank.

‘We have completely reengineered the site,’Cruickshank told Press Gazette.

‘It’s using new technology, new content management systems and it puts our audience right at the heart of our product,’she said.

‘It will let you do all of those Web 2.0 things, like housing your blog on the site.”

The key new functionality is a MyHandbag social networking feature.

‘You can find pictures that you like in galleries on the site, or product information and grab it to put it in and put the in your handbag. You can accessorise your Handbag,’Cruickshank explained.

Profile pages for the social network will be part of the initial launch, with additional new features to be rolled out until the end of the year.

Cruickshank said the relaunched Handbag.com will serve as a blueprint for a planned overhaul of the other titles in Natmags’ portfolio of web sites which will also include the launch of a companion site for Harper’s Bazaar.

In its last published ABCe figure, for October 2006, Handbag.com recorded 1.16 million unique users. A new ABCe audit, showing that the site now has just over 1.5 million users, is set to be published soon, Cruikshank said.

Natmags acquired Handbag.com from the Barclay Brothers’ Press Holdings in October 2006. Cruickshank, who had been Handbag.com’s managing director, took up the same role in Hearst Digital Network, which was created just days after the acquisition.

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