REDWOOD CITY, CA (BRAIN) Feb 29—February 29th comes around only once every four years, so the publishers of MTBR.com and RoadBikeReview.com are making use of the date to promote the sites' redesign, new ambitions and new hires — as well as the industry's fastest growing bike category, the 29er.
The site, launched in 1997, is celebrating 29er Day by giving away a Specialized Camber 29er to a lucky reader who likes the site on Facebook or tweets about it on Wednesday.
MTBR is experiencing a traffic boost since its redesign late last year, said Ira Becker, president of Consumer Review, which publishes the road and mountain bike sites as well as photography, auto, audio, outdoor and golf review sites.
"The site design was getting a little long in the tooth," Becker told BRAIN on Tuesday. Thanks to the redesign, the site garnered 1.5 million unique visitors in January, 36 percent more than the same month last year, he said. Becker projected it traffic will hit 2 million visitors a month once the riding season hits its peak.
The site's strongest asset has long been its active consumer reviews and forums — the forums have about 300,000 registered members. The redesign improves navigation and creates a more uniform feel.
Because of its huge database of product reviews, many readers arrive on MTBR via a search engine, rather than by typing in the homepage address. So the redesign presents readers with navigation tools on every page. "Every page you come to is a homepage, because it's the first page you see."
The actual homepage has been designed to be more attractive and emphasize original staff-produced content.
Becker said the redesign also makes it easier to sell innovative advertising partnerships that bring together its loyal site users and brands.
"Brands are interested in getting closer to the consumer community," Becker said. "They are looking outside the traditional (online advertising) banner."
On 29er Day the site will feature its first 'skin' — an advertising background image that sits behind the main part of the site. The first skin was sold to Specialized.
MTBR recently hired long-time VeloNews advertising salesman Mark Gouge as sales director. Francis Cebedo, who founded the site in his home 15 years ago, remains its general manager. Gregg Kato is site manager of MTBR and Thien Dinh is site manager of RoadBikeReview.
Consumer Review is owned by Maryland-based Invenda Corp.