The other day I looked at the site's new Meta tags (these are what are used to tell the search engines about the site content and appear in search results).
The new "Title" for the site reads:
"Recipes, Cooking Tips and Resources - Chowhound Food Community"
The new "Description" for the site reads:
"Chowhound allows food enthusiasts to discover the best recipes and resources for cooking, eating, growing and making food. Find tips, tricks, and support by connecting to a community of food contributors."
Notice there is absolutely no mention of restaurants / restaurant reviews / restaurant recommendations? Instead, the site is being promoted as a resource for home cooks.
This is a marked change from Leff's original Chowhound, which was focused on restaurants (er, food purveyors?) and finding the best food, especially the hidden gems.
Thanks to a poster on another site, accessing the Archives.org website (also known as the Wayback Machine), the former Description text (from June 2014), read:
"The best food discussion site. Read regional and international restaurant reviews, ask questions and get answers about cooking techniques, find recipe advice, and discover ingredient information."
Now the changes to the site make sense to me: the fracturing of the local communities (where we talked about local restaurants) is logical, if the site owners are no longer interested in supporting restaurant discussions.
Someone, on another site, posited that CH's new plan is to carve out a unique niche on the web, focusing on becoming a one-stop resource for home cooks. This likely means more articles (produced by CH staff or contracted out) along with, I assume, support from any Hounds who remain in the home cooking / cookware / etc. communities.
If this is true, then the changes make sense from a business standpoint. If a site can't compete, traffic-wise, then it's better to find an area where the content is unique and there's little or no competition.
Of course, this also means the CH restaurant discussions many of us loved, are now no longer relevant.
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