Sydney tribes invade the Web

Sydney tribes invade the Web

What it is: A network of lifestyle mag-azine sites and city portals targeted at 20 to 30 year olds. Sydneytribe ( will be opening early next month, along with Musictribe, Movietribe, Clubtribe and Fashiontribe.

The site will feature editorial from celebrity writers including Edward de Bono and John Safran. Tribe Online has plans for a Melbourne version in February and all capital cities by the end of next year.

Aims: The site aims to appeal to people doing things in town, whether the pub scene, finance or fashion. `Most city portals try to be all things to all people from age zero to death and they end up reading like the Yellow Pages,' says Donna Lorenz, senior producer of Tribe Online. `We are focused on a particular group and within that group we will splinter off to focus on movies or music.'

Who developed it: Tribe Online is a spin-off of Tribe Enterprises, which was started by CEO Milt Barlow in December last year. The concept was developed creatively in-house by technical director Cam Lindquist. The design was done by an advertising agency and small partner Hanlon Wilson Weeks.

Development time: Tribe Online thought of the concept last December and has been developing the site since May. It will go live in December but is modularly driven so it will continue to evolve.

Technology used: The code was written in dynamic HTML with few animations. It is a highly graphical site in a narrowband environment. It sits on the IBM Netfinity server and uses SQL Server 7.

Cost: Tribe Online has invested $4 million into the first phase of development, but it expects to recoup this through advertising, sponsorship, product partnerships and permission marketing with its consumer database.

Special features: Not just an advertising directory, Tribe Online is personality driven. The focus is on original content and creative input from people who are `warriors or ambassadors in their own tribe'. There is a strong functional side with services like movie timetables, but also qualitative comments and remarks. The content will be downloadable to Palm Pilots and other PDA devices. The Frequent Tribal Surfer program will allow users to earn points on the site, redeemable for anything from movie passes to Palm Pilots. There is also a free e-mail service.

Traffic: Lorenz predicts there will be 90,000 unique registered users within 12 months, not accounting for increased traffic from registered users.

By Caitlin Fitzsimmons

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