IGN Bows Site With User Content

Fox Interactive’s IGN Entertainment has debuted a free community hub that advances already healthy user-generated content and interaction. Called Club.IGN.com, the hub builds in sponsorship and ad integration to allow marketers to reach what the company says are deeply-involved visitors.

The newly appointed community acts as a companion to IGN’s male lifestyle network. It offers users the ability to create blogs, interactive lists, reader reviews and FAQ submissions. Club will also host blogs and developer diaries authored by film and video game industry luminaries. Editors of the IGN network also maintain blogs on the Club site.

“We already have a really active community on IGN, so the club product came out of the users asking for it,” IGN’s Director of Marketing Jennifer McLean told ClickZ News.

Users can also customize the site with a customized header to pair with their profiles. The graphic sits above the leaderboard banner that runs on each page. At launch, Fox was running a campaign for the movie “X-Men: The Last Stand.” Additional advertising and sponsorship opportunities are being developed.

On the IGN network at large, user-generated content has had a longstanding presence. “We’ve expanded that so they can create custom pages, lists and customize their experience,” said McLean.

The ability to create lists already existed on IGN, however it was enhanced when it migrated to Club. IGN estimates that about half a million of its 13 million readers maintained lists prior to the creation of enhanced lists on Club. Users can track not only video games, but movies on DVD and UMD, Sony’s PlayStation Portable video format. Marketers can use the lists to get a reading on how a video game, DVD or other media might be perceived by the IGN readership.

“You can affinity target games [or movies] that a target audience likes,” said McLean. “Now having more complete lifestyle data is providing much more powerful data sets.” McLean adds that users of the site check out the lists to glean data as well. “Users want to know what their peers want.”

Club is expected to have a symbiotic relationship with IGN’s editorial site. Bloggers are encouraged to link to editorial content, creating a flow of traffic. “If they upload a review, FAQ or entry on their blog, they can link to what’s called a game object,” said McLean. “That will link to the editorial, which will possibly link to that blog.”

Though IGN is owned by Fox Interactive, which also owns the popular social networking site MySpace.com, McLean said the social-networking elements were developed without input from the parent’s other property.

The interaction-heavy elements developed for Club are also used by competitor publishers like Ziff Davis and its 1UP.com. CNET said it also has plans to launch a site with user-upload capabilities in Q2.

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