Last year saw Glam Media plunge into a new food-focused venture, Foodie.com, which is now one of the most popular sites in the genre. Now, the company is rolling out a brand new version of the site that puts a focus on reader-based recipe submissions, expert reviews, and even print media.
As of today, readers can use Foodie.com to collect recipes from around the web using a bookmarklet tool, aka a bookmark that you click from your web browser whenever you come across a recipe post you want to save. Having tried the process, I can say its much easier than some of the other recipe-saving services because the number of steps required is much less. For example, Foodie crawled the gluten-free cookie recipe I wanted to save to automatically pull out the ingredients list and name. I did have to chose a category (I previously had none, so I needed to create one) and write something in the description. Competitors like Yumm, on the other hand, forced me to go though the process of adding everything, or checking to see what it crawled as accurate.
“There are other sites that let you save recipes, but they take too much and don’t drive any traffic back to the original tastemakers’ blogs,” said Glam Media publisher and editor Samir Arora in an interview with VentureBeat. “The new version of Foodie grabs pieces of meta-data from the existing tastemakers and allows us to use that to give better recommendations as you use it.”
The new version of the website does look a bit like Pinterest, with a wall of thumbnail photos of food dishes and restaurants, but Arora tells me that besides the appearance, “Foodie 3.0″ is anything but. The site makes use of technology from Glam’s purchase of Ning and is the company’s first real go at building a consumer-based recommendation service — and one that parlays the company into restaurant reviews as well.
“Looking at user-generated recommendation services for food, like Yelp and increasingly where Google is going with Zagat and its Places service, many fail to provide something that’s distinguishable as truly better than the rest,” Arora said. “The law of averages shows that most popular restaurants get a rating of 3.5 stars or so. But we respect the journalistic process of having experts help cultivate the best — both with recipes and now for reviews.”
Another way Glam hopes to breakout as the top food-related media properties is through books, an unlikely medium given the company’s digital publishing roots. The company announced that it will start a “Foodie Top 100″ best restaurant list for each specific region of the world, which will go on sale at Amazon and Barnes & Noble later this year. [Note: Neither of those are affiliate links, meaning VentureBeat doesn’t make any money if you click on them and then buy the books.] Alternately, a live updated version of the Top 100 list will live on Foodie’s website.
Arora said Foodie is one of Glam’s more important verticals, pulling in 19.7 million unique visitors per month, which is why it wants to span its influence across other mediums, such as print. We’ve embedded a few pages from the book below.