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Why Phase Out "Chowhound" Brand?


Great work with the upgrade, guys! I'm particularly looking forward to checking out the mobile side!

I notice that all Chowhound discussion is now taking place under a giant "CHOW" branding logo, rather than "CHOWHOUND", and that there's no mention of Chowhound aside from a few sub-menus.

According to Alexa (<http://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/chow.co...), 79% of Chow.com traffic stems from chowhound.chow.com (and I assume much of the remainder stems from the oft-visited chowhound profiles, which live at chow.com rather than at chowhound.chow.com). Given that, it's surprising to see things tip, branding-wise, even more steeply toward the CHOW end.

I'm staunchly in favor of whatever's necessary, branding-wise, to ensure that this operation continues. CBS needs to turn a profit if the lights are to remain on, and I'm all for that!

But there's nearly no Chowhound branding left at this point. In fact, it wouldn't take much effort at all to purge the tiny bit currently remaining. And I'm curious about the rationale, given the brand's enduring popularity, and the fact that it accounts for the vast, vast majority of traffic.

  1. Not to be punning but isn't this a case of the tail wagging the dog?

    1. good catch! Curious myself

      1. Hi Jim, Thanks for your words of encouragement about the redesign efforts! In terms of the Chowhound Discussions as a sub nav item on the larger CHOW header, it's been like that since January of this year. I wonder what made that change noticeable for you now? Is it something else about the redesign? In terms of the site itself, Chowhound has the same level of branding that it has all year. In fact, we're working on our first marketing campaign right now for Chowhound. It's long overdue that people appreciate the brand for the powerhouse it is!


        27 Replies
        1. re: mudaba

          Hi, Meredith!

          I didn't notice the switch in January. If I had, I'd have raised the issue then. Obviously, the occasion of a major redesign invites closer inspection!

          So I'm still not understanding the decision. And I think it's something that deserves to be publicly explained, because, of course, the folks you're addressing here ARE the Chowhound brand. They made it popular, and infused it with its hard-won reputation for savvy and passion (I helped, but I'm only one hound!).

          So why the move, regardless of when it occurred, to deemphasize this brand, which means a lot to them, and which accounts for much of the traffic? it seems strangely counterproductive....?

          1. re: Jim Leff

            Back in Jan 2012, we wanted to streamline the navigation and move "saved boards" into the top nav. We felt that it was really important for users to be able to get to the Chowhound homepage as well as their saved boards from any page of the site. That's why we made the nav change we did!

            1. re: mudaba

              Hmm, that didn't really compute for me (though thanks for taking time to reply). But, anyway, you're answering a question I didn't ask. I'm not asking why you changed any one particular banner. I'm asking why there's been such a sharp deemphasis of the Chowhound brand (which took a particularly bold stride with this one particular decision).

              This deemphasis has been a death of a thousand cuts. It's been sufficiently slow and gradual to evade notice by most users (even I didn't notice the header change). But at this point, there's extremely scant Chowhound branding here, and what little remains could be completely expunged quite easily.

              And I'm not clear on why it's reached that point. Insisting that you respect and value the brand is one thing, but actions are another. Take away the temporary "Chowhound has a new look" banner currently atop this page, and this would very clearly be a CHOW discussion forum, with a few errant mentions of this mysterious "chowhound" thing, whatever the heck that is.

              It surely isn't accidental. And it doesn't seem to make sense, in light of traffic and in light of love for the brand. So, again: why?

              1. re: Jim Leff

                Dear Jim,

                Could you please create a new site that fosters a community of folks who have a passion for cooking and sharing their experiences with like-minded individuals.

                Though I only discovered CH in late 2010, I can't help but feel that recent changes are solely focussed on "visitors" vs posters. Ironically it's the posters that are providing the ultimate value and to disregard their (our) interests is an exercise in futility IMHO.

                Jim, if you build it, we will come. Pretty please?

                1. re: Breadcrumbs


                  Why? I already built it!

                  The decisions of higher-ups are not what make Chowhound what it is. It's about the community.

                  You weren't around back then, but this site was, at one point, nearly falling apart, software-wise. It was still great, because of the community. At another point, it was nearly broke (thanks, CNET/CBS, for saving us!). It was still great....because of the community.

                  This community has always worked within obstructions of various sorts. And you know what Nietzsche says!

                  In the end, nice, smart people swapping food tips will create awesomeness. Regardless of the trappings. So concentrate on the people, and pitch in your own awesomeness, and ignore what you don't like!

                  1. re: Jim Leff

                    ...ignore I can do. But this grey on grey hurts my eyes and the site now looks like an app. An app layout is not at all user friendly for folks who use a laptop or desktop.

                    As I said in the feedback thread on the new design. I'm saddened.

                    1. re: Breadcrumbs

                      You'll get used to it. But also consider building your own custom style sheet. I'm not expert on that, but if you have a tech-savvy friend, they can surely help you out, and pretty easily, too. Or maybe some user will create one.

                      I'm ok with it, myself.

                      1. re: Jim Leff

                        Thanks Jim. I have no idea what a custom-style sheet is but imagine that it's something that's created to customize a view for personal preferences.

                        IMHO, it shouldn't be that hard to contribute here and as much as I love the site, unless the grey on grey is addressed, I won't be able to continue to contribute here.

                          1. re: Breadcrumbs

                            The gray on gray is a real problem,for me.If I could solve it using skeet and trap tools,lenses it's not imaginary.
                            I will fiddle with the colour,contrast until It's right for me.As nearly as I can tell GOOGLE CHROME and another program we have have a fix without the requirement of a rocket scientist.

                            1. re: lcool

                              Let me know what works for you; this interface hurts my eyes and my head.

                              1. re: mcf

                                Greetings mcf

                                Do? so far not much more than hobble along.The gray on gray,trimmed in gray is efffing horrid!
                                greygarious in another thread/post tagged it "SNOW BLINDNESS"
                                SPOT ON
                                At 67 I don't wear/require spectacles for reading or distance,confirmed in my last flight physical,October 2012.
                                EXCEPTION Shooting skeet and trap tinted eye protection is the bees knees in all light conditions.There is a reason the clay bird is BLACK and orange,the shooter and the scorer both need to see the damn thing in gray,glare,overcast and no horizon conditions.
                                And now HERE on CHOWHOUND ,wearing a pair of #3pink/#1gray tint lenses for vision conditions WITHOUT getting a headache.
                                AND trying to be patient with a GUN DOG that wants to know,WHEN ARE WE LEAVING , ALREADY!! As far as she's concerned I am sitting on my ass right now doing NOTHING.Glasses+gun+dogs and we leave is normal,just glasses around the house has turned her inside out with frustration.
                                I have some contrast tools in GOOGLE CHROME and WINDOWS and will get into them more when I am not quite so pissy about this gray on gray,trimmed in gray.

                  2. re: Jim Leff

                    I'm not sure what you're referring to exactly, in terms of branding removal, but everything we are working on these days is to refresh and modernize the Chowhound brand. There will be many more changes and improvements to Chowhound in the months ahead, as we are actually MORE focused on this than we have been in the past few years. In fact, I have to cut this short because I'm about to go to a Chowhound marketing meeting!

                    1. re: mudaba

                      Be careful about marketing Chowhound too widely. Its entire value lies in the distilled savvy of its users, many of whom have acculturated over the course of many years here.

                      Compare to Yelp (which is also useful...I don't feel competitive, I use both for different purposes), where maximal crowds are recruited and encouraged to spray their opinions, many of which are unsavvy or worse (e.g. dishonest).

                      The purpose of the Chow/Chowhound partnership was to create an editorial front end in part to shield Chowhound from dilution. By gradually rebranding Chowhound to CHOW, and by choosing to widely market the forums, you risk unwinding the underlying dynamics. And that's very dangerous, as entropy in communities can't be reversed.

                      But that's absolutely your right! And I'll stay here and keep using it so long as the rest of the hound regulars do. Hopefully for a long, long time!

                      1. re: Jim Leff

                        ps CBS,

                        bigger is not better.

                      2. re: mudaba

                        >>> because I'm about to go to a Chowhound marketing meeting! <<<

                        Hmmmm . . . I wonder why that's not a CHOW marketing meeting.

                      3. re: Jim Leff

                        Yes, it's been going on for quite a while. Chow is the "winner" and all the millions of posts representing thousands of contributors that comprise Chowhound is most definitely the loser.

                        The "editorial side" (which, frankly I never understood, though I know the history of Chow Magazine) has won out. Maybe 10 articles a month and a couple videos trumps thousands of posts by knowledgeable, well-meaning, passionate people.

                        1. re: MplsM ary

                          Winners and losers? I don't see it. Chowhound comments and highlights are a part of CHOW. There is far more Facebook & Twitter links, far more videos (& I attribute the video increase to new staff decisions). There are less CHOW writers or CHOW video bloggers. The only "winner" I see having lasted is Supertaster who promotes FB & Twitter more than CHOW.

                          Neither CH or CHOW has been able to sit on their hands and enjoy the design or Engineering aspects of the entire site for more than a month. Many grasshoppers!

                          1. re: HillJ

                            What direction are the grasshoppers headin'?
                            At this point, I'm in.

                            1. re: escargot3

                              Wer'e watching Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee over at Crackle.com

                          2. re: MplsM ary

                            I feel like the smart, precise recipes and editorial style (along with the non-profit element) of Cooks Illustrated would have been better suited to engender the smart, passionate (and yes, older) demographic that made Chowhound so valuable to begin with.

                            Mr Taster

                            1. re: Mr Taster

                              Cooks Illustrated ,???non profit,since when??

                          3. re: Jim Leff

                            >>>It surely isn't accidental. And it doesn't seem to make sense, in light of traffic and in light of love for the brand. <<<

                            Just curious, Jim. Do you still have any skin in the game?

                            1. re: Fowler

                              I'm not sure what that means. If you mean in terms of authority, no. I'm what I always was...an ardent chowhound looking to eat well!

                      4. re: mudaba

                        >>> It's long overdue that people appreciate the brand for the powerhouse it is! <<<

                        FWIW, the power in the brand is chowHOUND . . . not "Chow." "Ciao," perhaps . .. but not "Chow."

                          1. re: Charles Yu

                            Guys, that's what she's saying.

                      5. Of the 18+ 'Chowmeet' that I have attended or organized both in Canada and abroad. ALL PARTICIPANTS REFER TO THEMSELVES AS 'CHOWHOUNDERS'!!!!

                        2 Replies
                          1. re: Charles Yu

                            Whereas, if I ever attended one, I would refer to myself as "John". I don't define myself by the internet discussion boards I use.

                          2. Absolutely, Jim. This is making me sad. 12 + years as a 'hound and it seems to be turning into a 15th generation xerox of the first.

                            1. Late to this party but, as one who's been on these boards five years or so, I BARELY relate at all to the CHOW name or content. My guess would be that demographics, revenue stream, or something in the overall marketing strategy is driving any branding direction here. Just my thought after 35+ years in consumer product marketing. "Follow the money!" is usually a good process.

                              34 Replies
                              1. re: Midlife

                                I don't relate to any of the Chow content either, but I'm not a good example because I hate most food blogs, especially corporate ones.

                                I have an awful feeling that one day I'll open Chowhound and the name will have been changed to Chow Discussions or something equally soul crushing.

                                1. re: SnackHappy

                                  We're there. Just scroll up. Would it make any diff at this point if that little "Chowhound" mention in the sub-nav bar disappeared at this point? What can I say. The robust brand power of CHOW wags the hound.

                                  On the other hand, there's no reason we should have lasted this long (16 years is insane, I'd never have imagined it). And if you all are still here, regardless of the banner, that's a great thing.

                                  1. re: Jim Leff

                                    Hmmmmmm . . . .

                                    Well, far be it from me to speak for anyone else, so I'll just put in my own 2¢ . . .

                                    The "robust brand power of CHOW" isn't $#|+ to anyone ***other than*** the advertisers. That is, it means nothing to the participants of ChowHOUND -- the people who regularly and fully participate on the discussion boards.

                                    I've stopped looking at all the other content -- be it the various "guest columnists" that used to write about food, wine, spirits, etc. (but no longer appear on this site). I don't use the videos at all, don't use the recipes, don't use the blogs, and stopped looking at the "stuff" from the Sponsored Links . . .

                                    I come to Chowhound -- NOT Chow; but ChowHOUND -- to participate in the discussion boards. I ask questions about places to which I shall be soon traveling, occasionally ask questions about a problem I'm having with a particular recipe or ingredient (think "Home Cooking"), and answer questions (where I'm qualified) when I can be of assistance.

                                    And I've even come to chuckle -- barely -- when any post that in some small, tiny, even non-existent way could be interpreted in a way that criticizes Chow or its moderators gets deleted.

                                    Probably this one will, so I hope you read fast . . .

                                    1. re: zin1953

                                      "The "robust brand power of CHOW" isn't $#|+ to anyone ***other than*** the advertisers"

                                      But that isn't insignificant. The advertisers are what keeps the lights on. That's why I agreed to (and helped with the construction of) the Chow/Chowhound hybrid. An editorial "wrapper" makes the operation much more attractive to advertisers....and protects the message boards, where value derives from their (relatively) undiluted expertise. Add tons of unfiltered newcomers, and they'd dilute.

                                      But the folks who served as "wrapper" bought into the notion that this was all about them. Hence the crazy-seeming stamping out of the more recognized brand - the one that brings in the audience and pays the salaries.

                                      And, just to finish it off, they're about to start mass-marketing the message boards. It's a one-two punch: debranding followed by dilution.

                                      But I'm not unhappy. I'm amazed this lasted 16 years. And that it's still pretty good eight years after I sold it. I'm still here, you're still here...that's a great result, and I'll continue to enjoy it until it's lost its quality (as nearly everything eventually does).

                                      1. re: Jim Leff

                                        Jim, I know how important advertising is to keeping this site open -- but there is a distinct difference to the "feel" of this site. What that means is that I come here with some trepidation (and I can only presume I am not alone), knowing that -- sometimes -- my posts will be deleted for no discernible reason; that posts I get an email about and *want* to reply to have disappeared.

                                        >>> I'm still here, you're still here... <<<

                                        Sometimes. Sometimes I take a hiatus because the BS gets to me. But then I come back. So the better question is why do I come back?

                                        >>> For a look at dining discussion with everyone in the world, see Yelp <<<

                                        And THAT is why I *do* come back. Because there is no other option . . . yet.

                                        1. re: zin1953

                                          People have been complaining about the moderation since literally day one. The site's still being moderated according to more or less the same precepts I instituted. Moderated discussion is the only good kind of online discussion, but everyone hates being moderated. C'est la vie.

                                          As for "other options", I always said: let a thousand flowers bloom. Open one of your own! But I'll betcha it'll be way more heavily moderated than Chowhound ever was (as was true of the various sites opened by our "free speech" insurgents).

                                          Better: stay here and post as chowhoundishly as you can to prime the pump for more of same, and direct your critical skills at food rather than at the site.

                                          The site's as good as we can make it. I've stepped up my own (food) posting today, myself.

                                          1. re: Jim Leff

                                            The problem with the moderation is not so much that it exists, but that it is often heavy handed, arbitrary and inconsistent, imo.

                                            1. re: carolinadawg

                                              "...it is often heavy handed, arbitrary and inconsistent..."

                                              All virtues (vices?) of the human race...

                                              1. re: Servorg

                                                Not always, and it certainly doesn't have to be that way.

                                                1. re: carolinadawg

                                                  Actually, it does have to be that way. Human beings are imperfect. There will never be a list of hard and fast rules that will cover every aspect of what happens on this site. Sometimes the mod's will be seen as getting it just right. Sometimes they will be seen as heavy handed, arbitrary and inconsistent.

                                                  And those two views by we the moderated will be thought to have occurred at the same time, depending on who is doing the viewing. The moderating cannot possibly satisfy everyone, every time. Hell, it can't satisfy everyone anytime.

                                                  But the thing that can change is your view of the process and the need to have it for the greater overall good of the site. Like Dr. Strangelove, you have to learn to, if not love, then at least tolerate the moderation. After that, you'll be like the guy in the VW ad with the Jamaican accent and his "Don't worry, be happy" approach to life and moderation.

                                                  1. re: Servorg

                                                    In other words, you join the cult or you don't.
                                                    I joined....after bucking the hairstyle..I learned to wear the mullet.

                                                    1. re: Servorg

                                                      "...the need to have it for the greater good of the site."

                                                      It would serve the greater good of the site better if the moderation was not heavy handed, arbitrary and inconsistant. And so it could be. I realize it can't be perfect, but thats no reason to just say, oh well, it can't be better.

                                                      1. re: carolinadawg

                                                        Okay...my final attempt in putting this problem into perspective. John Wooden, the great basketball coach told the story on himself about a game once when he was riding one of the referee's about a call that Coach Wooden really, really didn't like. Wooden was really on him in his tight lipped way on every trip down the floor that the ref made as he ran by the UCLA bench.

                                                        Finally Wooden said the ref looked over at him after Wooden made some remark about that call being the worst call he had seen all season and said "John, the guys down on the other teams bench told me they really thought that call was a great one."

                                                        You've got to take into account that every time you hate one of the moderating decisions, some other hound somewhere is loving it.

                                                        1. re: Servorg

                                                          And yet, the NCAA reviews game film, grades referees and requires them to improve. They don't just say, oh well, can't make everyone happy.

                                                          I think the moderation could be better. You don't. We'll have to agree to disagree, as they say.

                                                          1. re: carolinadawg

                                                            It's just that "your better" would be some other hounds worse. The moderation can change, it just won't be objectively better. It will simply suit someone else and cause others to gnash their teeth. One change I made in my own site use that has left me much more satisfied has been my building in an internal "ignore" button in my brain for the NAF board. I don't ever post on it anymore, and hardly ever read it. Now that's what I call a win-win.

                                                            1. re: Servorg

                                                              All I will say is that -- of all the discussion boards on which I participate -- THIS is the most heavily (and most arbitrarily) moderated.

                                              2. re: Jim Leff

                                                >>> People have been complaining about the moderation since literally day one. The site's still being moderated according to more or less the same precepts I instituted. Moderated discussion is the only good kind of online discussion, but everyone hates being moderated. C'est la vie. <<<

                                                Jim, I agree that this -- and every -- site MUST be moderated; that it is the only "good kind" of online discussion. That isn't the issue.

                                                I'm all for having the mods delete a post that calls someone else names, is insulting, rude, vulgar, racist, etc., etc. But when, in the course of Human Events -- oh, sorry -- in the course of human discourse, and someone states something that is factually incorrect, it is the CORRECTION that gets deleted, not the original and incorrect posting. This exact thing has happened to me 3-5 times.

                                                I can understand the mods deleting a post that is spamming the site, but when in the context of a give and take discussion, someone posts a joke relating to the topic -- even as a part of a larger, informative-and-on-topic post -- the entire post gets deleted. This has happened to me twice.

                                                As carolinadawg so succinctly put it, "The problem with the moderation is not so much that it exists, but that it is often heavy handed, arbitrary and inconsistent, imo." I cannot possibly say it better myself.

                                                1. re: Jim Leff

                                                  "The site's still being moderated according to more or less the same precepts I instituted."

                                                  Update: Not anymore!

                                                  I think that's a Bad Thing.

                                          2. re: Jim Leff

                                            I've been reading and posting on CH for almost exactly five years now and I can't say that I've ever visited CHOW for anything -- though I have wondered why it is written in all caps :-).

                                            Then again, I know what (and where to find) Chowhound. Hard to imagine what a new user would make of it, as I can't unremember my experiences. It certainly looks to be a subset of CHOW from the headers above, and I think it is.

                                            1. re: grayelf

                                              Then you've never seen the Boozy Campfire Cheese recipe! http://www.chow.com/recipes/10935-boo... It's a keeper!

                                                1. re: Chris VR

                                                  Just imported that one to pepperplate, thanks for the tip!


                                                  1. re: Chris VR

                                                    Chris, you may not see this, but it made me laugh -- I found this "recipe" in a Chowhound post about foods to make while camping -- would never have stumbled on it on Chow.

                                                    1. re: DebinIndiana

                                                      That's a true chowhound for you. Off-topic in a Site Talk thread...by talking about food. :)


                                                2. re: Jim Leff

                                                  "The robust brand power of CHOW". ???????????????

                                                  I understand you're in a position to know about whatever that means............ and my comment was really an academic guess. Are you familiar with actual numbers that explain what the audience of Chow was before it took over Chowhound ......... and how that compared with CH?

                                                  I'd like to think that the Chowhound community would have been a prime target audience for whatever Chow was looking to envelope. So............ how is it that so many CHers are not 'CHOW'ers? Or was the intent of the acquisition to use the CH platform to reach a different (as in more desirable) demographic?

                                                  1. re: Midlife

                                                    I would think that the "traffic" is monitored at the top-level domaine name. Note that CH is now "chowhound-DOT-chow-DOT-com" ===> that is, ALL of the CH traffic is now counted under the "chow.com" domaine name, and so the corporate owners of CHOW can claim all of the Chowhound traffic as "CHOW" traffic for the purposes of ad rates/revenue, etc., etc. over the entire site.

                                                    In that way, it's a smart move.

                                                    But considering that (I would imagine) it is the CH'ers that account for the largest volume of "site hits" . . . I wonder if advertisers have to buy on chow.com, or if they can specify that their ads appear on CH.

                                                  2. re: Jim Leff

                                                    I find the entire CHOW vs. Chowhound thing incredibly confusing and a tad foolish to pound to death. Yet the questions persists.

                                                    Such a mystery...is this one site or two? Is there some tug o war going on behind the dining curtain that we need to know about?

                                                    When a co founder of Chowhound stops by to ask:
                                                    Why phase out the "Chowhound brand" you gotta wonder....what the hell is going on.

                                                    1. re: Jim Leff

                                                      Yeah, I guess it's all but done. I should be grateful for the mere existence of this site, but I can't help harbouring bad feelings towards Chow/Cnet/CBS/whoever for what they've done to this place.

                                                      "The robust brand power of CHOW[...]" Ha! That's a good one.

                                                      1. re: SnackHappy

                                                        "I can't help harbouring bad feelings towards Chow/Cnet/CBS/whoever for what they've done to this place."

                                                        What they did is rescued Chowhound from sure oblivion in 2005. Swapped in much better software. And relieved me and Bob(TM) of the soul-grinding toil of keeping a huge operation running solely off the power of our puckered adrenal glands.

                                                        I don't like some recent moves. And I'm worried about where it's headed. But what matters is the food talk. And, last I checked, it's still pretty good (much better than anywhere else). So long as that's the case, I'm a happy hound, and you should be, too.

                                                      2. re: Jim Leff

                                                        My question, about audience for CHOW vs. Chowhound, was directed at Jim and asked about that period of time BEFORE the acquisition. But............. I could answer my own query on the brand 'potential' with a simple presumption that the WORD "CHOW" has a much broader appeal across the overall marketplace than that of "Chowhound". "Chow" means food...... to just about everyone. A ChowHOUND is, by definition, a smaller audience. Just ask McDonalds, Taco Bell, or Subway who THEY would rather target.

                                                        This, as do so many things, gets back to H. L. Mencken's statement: "“No one in this world, so far as I know—and I have searched the record for years, and employed agents to help me—has ever lost money by underestimating the intelligence of the great masses of the plain people." Though I really think this specific situation is more about something other than intelligence. It's about 'lowest common denominator' marketing.

                                                        1. re: Midlife

                                                          Yes. Chowhound was never supposed to welcome everyone in the world. For a look at dining discussion with everyone in the world, see Yelp (and enjoy the five star reviews of KFC, Olive Garden, and the deli where the oh-so-cute guy makes the sandwiches).

                                                          CHOW was supposed to be bigger/broader/more mainstream (and to screen the Chowhound boards from the brunt of tides of un-acculturated newbies). I had some ideas how they could do so (and at a fraction of the expense), but those ideas were ignored (as was absolutely their privilege!). But, in any case, whatever you think of CHOW, they're not the problem....so long as Chowhound's allowed to be Chowhound.

                                                          1. re: Jim Leff

                                                            >>>For a look at dining discussion with everyone in the world, see Yelp (and enjoy the five star reviews of KFC, Olive Garden, and the deli where the oh-so-cute guy makes the sandwiches).<<<

                                                            I thought one of the goals here, Jim, was to NOT be judgmental by posting cheap shots at people who may like KFC, etc.?

                                                            1. re: Fowler

                                                              Guess there's no need to worry. It's still Chowhound, because threads still digress in both the usual ways: 1. anti-mod complaints and 2. trollish snob/reverse-snob tangents.

                                                              I judged no one, just pointed out that that's what one sees on Yelp. If you like that sort of thing, god bless you. Chowhound's a refuge for people with a different perpsective...and it will remain that only insofar as it resists dilution by more mainstream eaters (as if I really needed to explain...)

                                                            2. re: Jim Leff

                                                              so long as Chowhound's allowed to be Chowhound.
                                                              wasn't that the whole pt. of engaging this OP?
                                                              That Chowhound's essence is vanishing bit by bit.
                                                              Such decisions aren't made by the folks asking the question.

                                                    2. The writing was on the wall as far back as 2008 (at least).


                                                      But I'm still here, and still getting some good advice-- though admittedly much less so than I used to get.

                                                      Mr Taster

                                                      1. Anyone else notice that the headline and lead sentence for this piece by Chow refer to the CHOW community and not CHOWHOUND?


                                                        16 Replies
                                                        1. re: Melanie Wong

                                                          Another case of not seeing until someone else points it out. A bit like the slow-simmering frog, or the death of 1000 cuts.

                                                          1. re: mcsheridan

                                                            Let's see if these screenshots display in full.

                                                          2. re: Melanie Wong

                                                            The attempt to brand this whole thing as "Chow" seems to me to have started a very long time ago. Personally I'm not adverse to that except when it has seemed as if the sub-plot is to deeply dilute the level of information and conversation that keeps me here.

                                                            I'm sure you feel the same about that Melanie, and am curious if you see something deeper in the use of the name itself.

                                                            1. re: Midlife

                                                              <The attempt to brand this whole thing as "Chow" seems to me to have started a very long time ago.>

                                                              Yes. The intended purchase of Chowhound was that it provide a message board for CHOW. And CNET bought CHOW in order to expand it’s market among 25- to 45-year-olds. Chowhound was simply expected to add an online community to the CHOW brand.


                                                              1. re: JoanN

                                                                I'd not known this whole story. Thanks.

                                                                  1. re: Jim Leff

                                                                    What part's not accurate, Jim?

                                                                      1. re: Midlife

                                                                        Chowhound was bought before CNET had even heard of CHOW. CHOW was bought to be the editorial front end for Chowhound (from there, I'd imagine the vision may have evolved, but I wasn't there for that).

                                                                        I won't have further input on any of this. It's too inside baseball to be relevant. The question is how hounds feel about the branding currently being done, not history.

                                                              2. re: Melanie Wong

                                                                I think that really kinda sucks! Esp. if they're trying to move people from CHOW to CH.

                                                                1. re: Melanie Wong

                                                                  For a short time the Chow editors were expunging the word "Chowhound" from Chow Blog posts based on Chowhound threads, in favor of coinages like "the Chow community" (http://www.chow.com/food-news/151794/...). I was glad to see they stopped, but now they seem to have resumed.

                                                                  They're also discontinuing Chow Blog coverage of regional Chowhound discussions. The NY boards are the last whose threads are being summarized as part of Chow editorial content. That'll end later this month. Current LA Chow Blog posts barely acknowledge that Chowhound exists. The Home Cooking posts, on the other hand, still name-check Chowhounds, though they seem to have stopped linking Chowhound threads in favor of Chow editorial content or even external sources (http://www.chow.com/food-news/153636/...).

                                                                  1. re: Mark Hokoda

                                                                    Oh no! The NY board pieces on Chow are the only ones that have any meat to them. I had been meaning to post that I was glad that this last regional edition was still around and now it's too late.

                                                                    One of the problems I've seen is that the writers of the regional pieces seem unable to use the site search engine to find current discussions that do exist. It makes Chowhound seem out of date, when in fact the current conversation is in place, just hard to find for the uninitiated.

                                                                    I've still been receiving the emails for San Francisco, but there is little to no SF area content on them and it's eally a misnomer. I'll be unsubscribing.

                                                                    1. re: Melanie Wong

                                                                      >I've still been receiving the emails for San Francisco, but there is little to no SF area content on them and it's really a misnomer. I'll be unsubscribing.

                                                                      As I understand it, newsletters will be personalized to user behavior and the geographically specific content will go away, or already has. Which raises a question: Since many subscribers were wooed with the promise of recent Chowhound intel from specific regions, shouldn't Chow do the honorable thing and throw out the current subscriber list and start over?

                                                                      OK, not holding my breath till that happens. But the next most honorable course would be to email everyone on the list, inform them that Chow has de-regionalized the newsletters, and let them decide whether to opt out. Otherwise, the site's committing a bait-and-switch.

                                                                      As for editorial, the strategy seems to be to ditch regionally specific content in favor of pieces aimed at a broad, non-local readership, i.e. big numbers. Or to put it in CBS terms, they're going not for the smart niche critical darling but rather the food-media equivalent of NCIS or Big Bang Theory. So that killer Hainan chicken that some Chowhound sniffed out in a Fremont strip mall? You're no longer likely to hear about it from Chow.com.

                                                                      1. re: Mark Hokoda

                                                                        Hi Mark, it's been great working with you these past few years! Wishing you lots of New York deliciousness.

                                                                        1. re: Jbirdsall

                                                                          So this is how we find these things out? Pretty shabby.

                                                                  2. I just read something in a Facebook post by a guy who works at Facebook (on iOS messenger). It says a lot about what I think this is all about here, and have said in several posts. Personally I'm getting tired of all this and am settling in to just seeing how it works. It's pretty obvious that recent events have tempered (or at least brought into better focus) some of what looked like rampant chaos. But, in the long run, this ain't our football.

                                                                    Atish Mehta
                                                                    14 hrs • San Francisco, CA •
                                                                    [One of two things he's made himself promise to do]
                                                                    - be critical of everything i read, even if it happens to align with my world view. a lot of today's media is optimized for page views, not accuracy of content, so they'll post whatever it takes to get you to like and share what they wrote - that's how they stay alive and make money

                                                                    1. And one morning we'll wake up, click into the boards, and find that where it used to say "Chowhound" in the drop-down and site breadcrumbs - there's now the generic term "Community". <GAG. RETCH. GAG>