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(This post was completed as a web 2.0 analysis for my Online Magazines course in the Book & Magazine Publishing program at Centennial College.)

1. New York Magazine
nymag1The New York Magazine website stands out from the crowd as an exemplary online magazine due to its wide array of web 2.0 features. Visitors to the online version of this print magazine become active participants in the website’s offerings through RSS feeds of articles, blogs on various themes including food and entertainment, bookmarking tools, streaming video, and sidebar widgets for tags and popular posts.

All of these tools enable readers to have an interactive visit to the New York Magazine website, rather than a passive one. Tools such as the RSS feeds and blogs are of great benefit to the publisher and editors of the website as they are efficient ways to deliver content to the reader. The bookmarking tools at the bottom of each article act as an easy way for the reader to share the magazine’s content with others, thus increasing traffic to the website. The New York Magazine website also features sidebar widgets for popular tags and posts. This function can be very helpful from a marketing and advertising point of view because it is an easy way to determine what readers are most interested in.

2. Fast Company
fastcompanymagA website for a business/technology magazine should, by definition, lead the pack in advanced features, and fortunately Fast Company’s site does not disappoint. The online version of Fast Company features many web 2.0 features including RSS feeds of articles, bookmarking tools, sidebar widgets, and streaming video.

As with the New York Magazine, these web 2.0 features make the site more easily accessible and interactive for the reader and more successful and informational to the publisher, editors, marketers, and advertisers. Most interesting, however, is the magazine’s use of streaming video, not only within their main website, but also through an off-shoot site called Fast Company TV which is a business video network designed exclusively for the web. This site is also a fantastic web 2.0 site with features such as sharing tools, RSS feeds, embed tools, and widgets. Also of note are the diverse sidebar widgets on each page of the site, including photo galleries, videos, the most popular Fast Company stories on Digg, and the most recently active groups within the forum section of the magazine’s site. These unique features help build a larger community aspect to the online version of Fast Company, thus likely helping to build a bigger subscription base for the print magazine as well.

3. Slateslatelogo
Slate, the sole online-only magazine in this analysis, uses several web 2.0 features to assist the reader in becoming more engaged in the online reading experience. The primary tools used by Slate include RSS feeds of articles, bookmarking tools, sidebar widgets for the most read and most e-mailed articles, blogs, podcasts, and streaming video.

Like the Fast Company website, Slate Magazine also has an off-shoot video site: Slate V. Again, the Slate video website is just as web 2.0-friendly as the original Slate site, if not even more so. Features for this site include RSS feeds, sharing tools, embed tools, and widgets. The video website acts as a major support system to the original magazine site, providing more content for more users. Through this additional venue, the magazine is using web 2.0 to build its brand directly through itself, rather than with an external platform such as Facebook or Twitter.