Time Inc. wants people who love People.com

The world's largest magazine publisher wasn't kidding about pushing its way onto the Web — even if it had to axe nearly 300 jobs to do it. In fact, Time Inc. has gone almost as crazy for social networks as the venture capitalists on Sand Hill Road. Sports Illustrated's social component, FanNation.com, which Time Inc. acquired last February for a reported $20 million, now boasts 4 million users. So Time Inc. executive John Squires has revealed the media conglomerate's plans to launch more social networks, as companions to its magazines, by early next year.

The idea is to share FanNation's code with the rest of Time Inc.'s properties, which would certainly make that $20 million investment work a little harder. No specific sites were named, but Squires said the new networks would start with Time's other weekly titles: Time, People, and Entertainment Weekly. People.com is a no-brainer — the URL seems better suited for a social network than the celebrity gossip that now fills its pages. Of course, at this point, People is coming more than a little late to the party.