Several weeks ago, I had the chance to speak with Jeff Taylor (founder of Monster.com) about Eons.com, his latest venture launching today. The site is targeted to the increasingly influential group of boomers aged 50+ who are now either contemplating retirement or engaged in "active retirement." Aside from the new advertising opportunities the site offers, there are many choices from an interface point of view that just strike me as smart and unique from other sites in the market. Jeff has a keen understanding for his target market, and though he joked in our meeting at BuzzAgent about finally being one of the younger guys) in his team, this understanding of his target market shines through in the design and content on Eons.com.
Here are a few key reasons why Eons.com stands out from other sites targeted to the boomer audience:
- Smart and inviting design – The main problem with most portal sites is that they are too cluttered, or unfocused on content features. Eons.com features a clean and simple homepage with minimal text, plenty of open space, and inviting features. The site has an easy to find button to make the text larger, and more importantly – other pages within the site carry through the uncluttered design by using plenty of white space, ignoring the temptation to make the homepage simple but lose that simplicity throughout the site.
- An "Age Relevant Search Engine" – As anyone who has been forced to deal with the millions of search results returned for nearly every term by Google, complicated results and too many text ads reduce the simplicity of using search. Yet when people are searching for broad terms, they are most frequently looking for the same content. So Eons.com features "cRANKy," an age relevant search engine which ranks search results and filters through to only return the most commonly clicked results and omits the rest. Keyword ads are still displayed, but are clearly indicated as sponsored links and limited.
- Content that doesn’t focus solely on health and retirement – This is the major mistake made by many other sites focusing on this audience, and Eons.com avoids it in a novel way by choosing to focus the site instead on "life goals" and asking users to create top ten lists for their life. The site launched with more than 50,000 life goals and there is a ranking of the top goals most often cited.
- The world’s largest obituary database – Perhaps the biggest taboo is to focus morbidly on death, so many sites targeted to boomers avoid the topic altogether. Not Eons.com … which features "the world’s largest obituary database," tools to make the process of sending condolences easier, let’s you create "tributes" to departed loved ones, and even offers an irresistable feature called "Way to Go" which highlights obscure deaths in the news around the world. The philosophy goes, death is something that will eventually come to us all … we may as well have fun with it.
- Coolness and a Hip Factor – This element might seem out of place on a site like Eons, but it is actually a key element in the overall experience of the site. Features like the LifeMap and Longevity Calculator allow users to have a more interactive experience and not limit themselves to only reading content or browsing photos. Through smart sharing tools on the site, you can open up your lifemap (and your top ten lists) to the community to get feedback and make new connections. Not to mention, sharing your lifemap with your family is a very visible symbol of the hip factor – and a great way to chronicle your life.
On the advertising side, the site has already signed up several large advertisers including Hyatt, Verizon and Harrah’s Entertainment – and has an experienced head in Jeff Taylor (which has brought in significant VC funds to help him get Eons.com off the ground. Jane Seymour is on the board, adding credibility and a recognizable face – and the site has all the signals of making a big splash in the market of sites targeted to the boomer demographic. Unfortunately, I don’t fit the demographic for the site quite yet – but some features, such as the cRANKy search engine, are resources worth mentioning for web users of any age.