Gamer website sneaks into top 10 publisher list

Among the titans of the local web is a little known site, Gameplanet, whose combination of downloads, merchandise and net-savvy audience means it ranks among the New Zealand top 10.

The top 10 websites in the country for traffic, as measured by RedSheriff, contain the usual suspects of XtraMSN and the Yellow Pages. But one name stands out. Sliding into 10th place is Gameplanet and while clearly not a household name outside its target audience, it has rated highly enough to make advertisers sit up and take notice.

Gameplanet consists of both game reviews and news as well as a file download facility for latest upgrades and maps. But a large proportion of the site's traffic comes through from its online shop, which sells games for all the major platforms, and its gamer-centric forums. On top of that the target audience is also net savvy, according to co-founder and system administrator Simon Garner.

"Part of our success can be attributed to the fact that while our target audience is not mainstream in the way that, say, XtraMSN or Wilson & Horton's audience is, we have an advantage in that our audience--young, tech-savvy males--represents probably one of the largest demographics in terms of internet users. We also have more international reach than most local sites."

Gameplanet sees around quarter of a million unique users each month across all its various site components.

While RedSheriff only monitors those sites that pay to be included, it does have most of the country's major online publishers (Red Sheriff online figures finally available) in the survey as well as many corporate sites.

While Gameplanet was set up as a labour of love by those involved--"it seemed like a good idea at the time", says Garner--it's now a serious business. Garner hopes to use the RedSheriff figures to increase revenue.

"Advertising sales play a big part in our revenue model for the site, and it's something that--thanks in part to positive statistics like these from RedSheriff--has recently been growing for us. But advertising is a fickle business and our aim in the long term is to avoid being totally dependent upon advertising sales."

Sales from the store are a major component of the Gameplanet money-making model.

"While all of us involved are also members of the community we have helped to create, and are passionate about gaming, making a profit and paying the people who put their time and energy in to make it all happen is a priority just as it is for any other business."

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