During my week in Madrid, I visited Gumersindo Lafuente, the founder and director of a brilliant Spanish-language site called SoiTu.es (or roughly “I am you” in English). Even while it provides up-to-date news and tons of helpful/interesting blurbs and links to other sites, it really excels as what I would call a “user-generated content portal” with content written by both their editors and a growing pool of volunteer writers who submit stories or comment. Note: the readers are truly engaged in participating in and making the site. Their channels provide something different and truly interesting when compared to newspaper sites or portals. They include: environmental news/issues, urban life, digital life, trends, sex, health, wheels (cars, bikes, motorcycles, etc), design and architecture, videos, and tons of blogs.
Gumersindo told me that in March, only three months after launching, they reached 500,000 unique visitors. While the majority are from Spain, many also visited from Mexico and Argentina. Pretty impressive. Aside from the content, the color-coded channels, design and overall feel work very well. His approach to advertising is also unique. Instead of putting the word “publicidad” (or advertising) above the banners, he places a small logo above all the banner units that says “I (heart) Publi,” or “I love advertising.” His plan is to integrate the media kit into a blog about advertising so that visitors who click on the “I (heart) Publi” logo will visit SoiTu’s advertising blog.
Prior to starting this company, Gumersindo ran one of the leading newspaper sites in Spain, ElMundo.es, which has about 11 million unique visitors per month. Good news to see entrepreneurs leaving great jobs to start even better web sites.