Media & Press Relations
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babyworld is a leading parenting web portal for parents and expecting mums in the UK.
- Over 1,700 pages of medical and reference information: written by experts, absolutely everything is covered from pre-pregnancy to 2 year old temper tantrums
- Regularly updated pages: babyworld.co.uk fulfils the need for up to the minute quality information and interactivity for all new and expectant parents.
- Product Tests: a panel of babyworld mothers and experts, test a new category of baby products and write an un-edited review of their experience.
- Competitions: babyworld always has an array of exciting competitions and giveaways to entice the reader.
So how did it all begin?
Roger Abrahams, registered the domain name back in 1995, over 10 years ago and a babyworld site has been available on the web continuously since 1996, making us one of the oldest sites of its type in the UK. Roger’s early site provided a place for on-line pioneers to talk about pregnancy and childbirth and came under the wing of Radcliffe Medical Press who provided medical expertise and some early administrative support.
How did you get involved?
In 1998 when it is difficult to remember back to what the web was like just 8 years ago, with no Google, no Freeserve, no lastminute.com! There were only relatively expensive dial-up service providers, no broadband, and only a few percent of UK adults were on-line! There was an insatiable demand for information and reassurance that new, and especially expectant parents require. which is when an early babyworld.co.uk community was born, a community where parents can talk to each other; reliable and up to date advice and information.
What happened next?
With the funds raised,we built a new site from scratch: new design, new content, new community features. We hired paid staff for the first time, many of whom are still with business today, and after 6 months of frantic work launched the new service in April 1999. While we had been concentrating on getting our site up, the on-line world had been changing. Freeserve had been launched and was bringing millions of households on-line. The media was full of stories of the US dot.com gold rush. Only a few months after our launch Freeserve bought the business for £3.7m. Crazy times!
What was Freeserve’s vision?
Babyworld was seen as a building block in a new on-line media empire they were intent on building. Tim Halfhead, who had joined the company a few months before the sale to Freeserve to exploit the commercial potential of the site, took over as Managing Director of babyworld and the launch their iCircle portal. Site traffic continued to grow, but in September 2000 Freeserve brought in-house the previously outsourced e-commerce fulfilment, only to close the e-commerce operation in early 2001. All but one of the original team left as the operations are moved from Oxfordshire to Freeserve’s Clerkenwell head office. Freeserve continued to pay the bills, and kept the membership ticking upwards through the bust years that followed the Internet boom. In 2003, Wandadoo (as Freeserve was now branded), was happy to dispose of their niche media asset, babyworld was reacquired in July 2003.
Did it feel like starting all over again?
We got many of the old team back together both as employees and shareholders, and we had to start again raising finance to redevelop the site. Once again we were working from a borrowed office and looking to re-build our revenues as an independent site. A small fundraising, mainly from staff but also from a handful of outside investors, enabled us to take new premises, back in rural Oxfordshire, and to re-launch the e-commerce service.
Glam Media’s acquisition
In April 2011 the babyworld site was acquired by Glam Media. Glam Media originally part of the 1 billion dollar company – Mode Media, which shut operations to all digital outlets in late 2016.
Where are we now?
babyworld has since been acquired by private investors with great steps to invigorate our leading position in the UK as a source for parenting.