Jan 13 2007

Minti vs EssentialBaby vs The BubHub

I read at Under The Rotunda today that Fairfax “may” have bought Essential Baby (and good luck to them, if that’s true).

From what I can see, there are two other big players in this niche – Bub Hub and newcomer Minti. I’ve had a look around these sites, and thought I’d do a bit of a comparison.

Essential Baby

Claim to have just under 100,000 members & over 3,700,00 forum posts
Claim to be “Australia’s largest family website”
Have been online since 1999
Google Page Rank (Home Page) 4
Pages Indexed (in Google.com.au “Pages from Australia”) 307
Alexa Rank 34,024

The Bub Hub

Claim to have 13,338 forum members & over 801,00 forum posts
Claim to be “Australia’s leading pregnancy and parenting portal”
Have been online since March 2002
Google Page Rank (Home Page) 5
Pages Indexed (in Google.com.au “Pages from Australia”) 200,000
Alexa Rank 90,910


Claim to have 16,534 forum members
Have been online since March 2006
Google Page Rank (Home Page) 6
Pages Indexed (in Google.com.au “Pages from Australia”) 207,000
Alexa Rank 25,449

Minti vs EssentialBaby vs The BubHub

This graph illustrates how ranking site Alexa views the three sites in terms of their ranking system.

It’s hard to be critical of these sites, obviously created, loved and nurtured by “average people”. I have to say I’m surprised by Essential Baby’s traffic given the apparent lack of sophisticated SEO.

My overall impressions of the sites are that Essential Baby and The Bub Hub need to do some serious SEO work and a complete revamp to bring them up to Web 2.0 expectations. Mind you, I suppose a couple of million dollars can buy you a fair bit of that.

Minti is fresh and appealing and well positioned for the future. I think they’ve done an excellent job and are I expect we’ll hear lots more of them.

As to Fairfax’s “acquisition” – frankly I know where I would have put my money, but they probably would have needed a bucket load more.

Update 14/1: As Luke pointed out in his comment, another popular site in this domain is Birth.com.au, which is targeted more towards pregnancy, but certainly not limited to it.


Claim to have 7,658 forum members & over 395,00 forum posts
Claim to be “Australia’s premier website for pregnancy, birth and parenting information”
Have been online since December 2001
Google Page Rank (Home Page) 4
Pages Indexed (in Google.com.au “Pages from Australia”) 47,600
Alexa Rank 94,600

There’s little point updating the graph as it makes very little difference to the overall conclusion of the article.

22 responses so far

22 Responses to “Minti vs EssentialBaby vs The BubHub”

  1. Anitaon 13 Jan 2007 at 1:53 am

    It’s amazing how many social networks are popping up now … just the other day I saw a social network for Dogs! Of all things!

  2. Megon 13 Jan 2007 at 10:31 am

    Hi Anita

    Dogs?! I suppose there are a lot of people out there who are passionate about their pets – don’t see it having “mass appeal” though.

    At least with Minti you have a large audience who their content would be relevant to. I like a quote from one of their press releases describing it as “MySpace for Parents”.

    Thanks for stopping by!

  3. Luke McCallumon 14 Jan 2007 at 5:39 pm

    Another parenting and birthing website that you missed is http://www.birth.com.au. Whilst it is more of a forum it is a fantastic resource for mothers and mothers to be!

    My wife seems to live on it!

  4. Megon 14 Jan 2007 at 8:28 pm

    Hi Luke

    Thanks for pointing out that source. I remember visiting in when I was pregnant with number 3 (as it was 9 years between #2 and #3 and I needed a refresher course)! Definitely a focus on pregnancy & newborn, but quite rightly worth an inclusion.

    Thanks for your visit :)

  5. Levion 15 Jan 2007 at 9:35 am

    The demographic for these sites (homemakers) tends to be quite receptive to competitions, and I have seen a number of sites targeting similar demographics promote themselves via comptetions, where a condition of entry is to sign up to the site. It would be interesting to know how many of the claimed members are actually active members.

  6. Megon 15 Jan 2007 at 10:46 am

    Hi Levi (thanks for dropping by :) )

    I agree with your comment. I notice that many dating sites, of which we have numerous “biggest” ones in Australia, have similar membership claims. It would be good to have a standard, such as members who have been active in the last x months (perhaps 3 months).

  7. Matton 15 Jan 2007 at 11:01 am

    Hi Meg,

    Thanks for the kind words, we certainly are the most recent joiner to the parenting site ranks in Australia although we have a worldwide focus so our numbers may not be directly comparable.

    I like the idea of “active in last 3 months” type analysis of membership although it is not the industry standard (refer MySpace membership numbers (around 100 million or even the dogster and catster websites which have a huge number of dog and cat members) so unfortunately the first company that starts to provide such “3 month active” numbers will be pretty solidly laughed at for the small number of actives as they are very quickly compared with huge inactive account totals.

    I wont give our number here but I can say that we get at least 10 time more visitors who are non-members each day than we get members. These “browsers” are a very important part of the website’s success.

    We have done some marketing to attract members but we certainly have not spent millions, in fact I do not think we have spent more than about A$80,000 on marketing (if that). Much of the money we raised helped us to purchase a strategic stake in the company who has been cutting our code (profitable in its own right) and we are very comfortably funded into the future…. did you hear that Fairfax 😉

    All the best Meg and enjoyed reading your writeup.

    Matt – Minti Co-founder

  8. Megon 15 Jan 2007 at 11:33 am

    Hi Matt, glad you enjoyed the writeup.

    It’s great that you’ve been able to attract so many visitors with such a little advertising spend, although I daresay you have gone to a lot of trouble (and perhaps expense?) to ensure the site is “search engine” friendly.

    Having so much content would help, and that pretty much takes care of itself via your members. I can imagine that you would have a lot of “browsers” who do not become members (hand up here 😉 ), and that’s as equally important as having a large database of members (active or not).

    Nice strategic move with Market United & I look forward to seeing Vibe Capital’s new vertical offerings.

  9. Clay Cookon 18 Jan 2007 at 6:19 pm

    Hi Meg,

    First of all congratulations on your launch into the blogging world! :)

    Thanks for conducting such a great comparison on the 3 main Australian parenting related social communities and including Minti in that list!

    In response to your comment directly above, yes we have spent some time to set Minti up to be SEO friendly. Rachel (my wife and our other Co-Founder) have been involved in the SEM space for 10 years now through our other company ineedhits.com

    Kindest Regards,
    Clay Cook
    Minti Co-Founder

  10. Megon 18 Jan 2007 at 9:12 pm

    Hi Clay

    Thanks for stopping by & your kind words :) I’m sure as you and Rachel know, blogging on top of everything else is a real challenge to time management skills!

    Writing the comparison was a pleasure, I really applaud your site & think you have done a marvelous job getting it to where it is & where it’s headed. I think your experience in SEM shows.

    Best of luck to you and the Minti team.


    disclosure: I have never met or communicated with anybody from Minti prior to this post – I’m just a big fan :)

  11. Naton 24 Jan 2007 at 9:32 am

    thanks for that, I have never heard of Minti, I may have found a new home, checking it out now. The info is very interesting time to let the other smaller players have a go, I like the average person and will support them to the end.

    birth.com.au is an excellent resource, can”t say how many times I used the site during both preganancies and BH excellent for real non judgemental advice, off to have a look at minti & join up.

  12. Megon 24 Jan 2007 at 10:36 am

    Hi Nat

    Thanks for dropping by. I’m sure you’ll find the community at Minti equally as welcoming, as well as the small family run team who manage the website.

  13. Jamieon 24 Jan 2007 at 4:53 pm

    Very interesting. I, also, have never heard of Minti.
    I am keen to see what happens to EB after this takeover has had some time to take effect. I have to say, I only visit EB occasionally. Natural Parenting is where I go regularly to chat with other parents (http://www.forums.naturalparenting.com.au/). With 4 315 members and 358 043 posts I find it just the right size for the spare time I have available. :)
    It would be interesting to hear from others which parenting forums they frequent. I’m sure there are many we haven’t heard of.

  14. Hilaryon 24 Jan 2007 at 10:38 pm

    Interesting reading! I will take that comment about a need to improve our SEO onboard – although I do have some projects underway to do that.

    Great analysis.

  15. Hilaryon 24 Jan 2007 at 11:47 pm

    As a further follow-up, would a statistic such as monthly ‘unique users’ in conjunction with monthly ‘viewer sessions’ give a better indication of how active a site is.

    For example, our community forum is just a part of our site. A large number of our viewers are not interested in the forum style internet use at all and just browse our directory, information and other facilities without going near the forum. A forum serves a need for some parents – but certainly not all. You don’t have to be a member to view those other sections on our site and so those viewers never appear in the 13,000+ people who have chosen to register for our forum. For example, our newsletter goes out to a much larger number than that.

    However, I guess that the unique view and monthly viewer session figures are not so freely available without paying agencies for expensive reports.

    Owner – Bub Hub

  16. Macon 25 Jan 2007 at 7:22 am

    Great write up! I also posted on the “mommy” site topic at http://macrant.wordpress.com/2007/01/05/latte-mom-that-likes-cars-and-men/

    Chris (Cingo Founder) posted a couple comments and I think missed my humor…

  17. Megon 25 Jan 2007 at 1:06 pm

    Hi Hilary, thanks for stopping by and for your comments.

    Firstly with regards the bubhub.com.au – you have a large number of pages indexed in Google, which is a great start. When referring to improving SEO I was referring more to where you are placed for your leading search terms (which you would have a far better idea of than me, I’m sure). If I was looking for your category of website I might type in “parenting advice” or “pregnancy advice”. So for “ME” to find you, you’d probably want to be rating on the front page of Google for those search terms.

    I do appreciate what you say about only a certain percentage of your visitors actually registering for your forums. A lot of users may also be wary of posting personal information in an open forum and with good reason (see comments in this post for example http://www.spinstartshere.com/?q=node/1831).

    When comparing websites it is hard to find common metrics without, as you say, access to those “oh so pricey” reports. But even then, I have serious doubts about the accuracy of data and some of the methodology. I agree that monthly “unique visitors” and “viewer sessions” would be wonderful to compare sites, but as we know those details are not verifiable by 3rd parties and in truth known only to the website owner.

    I wish you well with the continued growth of your website – you have a wealth of information and are a wonderful resource for the parenting community.

  18. Sharonon 25 Jan 2007 at 11:21 pm


    I have found your article a rather interesting read…

    I will say to start I am a member of Essential Baby… so anything I say will come with a bias to them.

    The membership of EB has skyrocketed in the last couple of years. Although the 100,000 members is not going to be accurate, nor are the figures for any other sites.

    Having joined a number of forums over time, I have found Essential Baby to be one of the easiest sites to negotiate. The Admin and Moderators do an amazing job of keeping everything running smoothly.

    I do, politely, disagree with your view on where the money should be invested, although as I said, I am biased. Essential Baby has a well developed structure – the team behind it has been well developed over the last 7 years, as opposed to 10 months. They have made a continual climb to reach where they are at, and have a strong basis.

    Clearly there was something that Fairfax saw in them, anyway… 😉

    Plus there is the shear volume of their members (which are not aquired through competitions, and are likely to have a similar level of “live” accounts as any other parenting forum).

    I can see that you like Minti, and it is really horses for courses. Minti looks to be a fairly interesting site (if somewhat difficult to work out, IMO) but I guess it is all what you are used to.

    Oh, and EB also gets a HUGE amount of guest traffic. Another thing that I assume is consistant with most sites/forums of that nature.

  19. Megon 26 Jan 2007 at 12:11 am

    Hi Sharon,

    Thanks for stopping by and making your heartfelt and well articulated comments.

    I do understand that there is a strong sense of community and strong friendships built in this type of site and yes, I would agree we all feel comfortable what we are familiar with – and for you that is EB. It’s great that you’ve found a place where you feel so comfortable.

    I also agree membership is not the only statistic to consider, there are sure to be a large number of visitors that don’t register for the forums, and given that Alexa only monitors users who have the Alexa toolbar, this may unfairly favour one site over another if a higher proportion have this toolbar installed.

    My post was not meant to level criticism at any one site, as I stated “It’s hard to be critical of these sites, obviously created, loved and nurtured by “average people””, but more a clinical analysis given the available tools. I put emotion aside (as I have no affiliation or membership to any of these sites, although I am a mother of 4 :) ), and took a “clinical” approach to my post, also taking into account current IT trends and search engine optimisation strategies that are very important for ensuring that visitors find a site.

    To me Minti is fresh and appealing, the growth they have had in the few months that the website has been established and the search engine optimisation they have employed, indicates that they are well positioned for the future. Of course at the end of the day, it all comes down to the users, and I could be way off base in my analysis – it is after all just one person’s opinion.

    Cheers, and thanks again for taking such lengths with you comment :)

  20. jesson 13 Jun 2007 at 10:17 am

    Just browsing around and found this… I am a minti member and a fan.. Love it.. And yes I have won the Roomba, but that was not my reasoning for joining as well I never usually win anything…

    I have met some really great people on this site and have made some wonderful friends and have gotten a lot of advice to help me through the first two years of my sons life so far… But I am sure as he gets older I’ll still be needing more.. And I am still very active on the site as well… :)

    Just thought I’d make a comment for the site as a minti member who is addicted to it… :)

  21. Megon 13 Jun 2007 at 10:25 am

    Hi Jess

    It’s great that you get so much enjoyment from the Minti community. I’m sure the advice you get there is invaluable.

    Thanks for stopping by and sharing your comments.

  22. […] a lifetime ago (ok it was January) I wrote a post comparing the top Australian parenting sites – Minti being one of […]