A chance conversation leads to new venture

A chance conversation with John McGrath became the catalyst for what has become a very successful partnership.

John was bemoaning the lack of a credible (and dedicated) herpetological magazine being produced here in Australia. The previous publication he was involved with had an untimely demise, leaving a void in the hobby, and from what he outlined, a great opportunity for some out of the box thinking.

Given todays digital age; the need for multi-platform availability is greater than ever. The shift away from traditional desktop computers to tablets and smartphones also generates its own challenges when producing a replacement for traditional print material. Add to the mix, a desire for advertisers to reach a broader footprint of potential clients via interactive, rather than static, two dimensional “flat” adverts, the complexity goes to another level.

Over the next few days it become obvious that there were two major challenges to be addressed. The first, and by far the easiest to deal with was the required business model to make this, not only appealing to the end reader, but also the “herp” industry suppliers. The second, and by far the most complicated was how to produce a magazine that offered the advertisers more than the traditional print option, but readily available to the readers regardless of which device and if they were connected to the internet or not.

Given that so much information is freely available on the internet, it was determined that a business model that provided the content free of charge for the end reader was going to be the overriding objective of this project. This ultimately determined that the whole project would require funding from the advertising that could be generated for the magazine.

This placed even more emphasis on the second part of the challenge; finding a platform that would generate the best reader experience but also provide advertisers a platform that would give them the ultimate in digital advertising. We spent a lot of time looking at potential options assessing many of the elements that included: – user interface (for both the reader and publisher), options for inserting three dimensional content (slideshows, hyperlinks and movies), on and offline distribution & accessibility as well as subscriber membership management. Our search finally lead us to Joomag. After many hours of testing and chat sessions with the incredibly helpful & knowledgable Joomag support team we felt that this was the right platform for the magazine to be built on, giving rise to the birth of iHerp Australia.

With a defined business model and a digital platform we were very comfortable with, we set out to produce the first issue. Using John’s contacts within the industry we were successful in securing content and advertising to publish the first issue on the 30th June 2017. The magazine can be found here.