Eat The Press

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WSJ

While TV companies plan a rival to YouTube, Conde Nast's CondeNet division is launching a social site in February, says the Wall Street Journal, comparing the new site (called Flip.com) to MySpace. But if Conde Nast wants to keep the teen girl demo that's abandoning Seventeen and Teen Vogue for the web, it needs a site that's more than an online version of a mag. Flip is that site: a social network in which teen girls can read editorial content and share homemade movies and "flipbooks". But to succeed, Flip has to handle several factors:

  • The competition: The site shouldn't compete with MySpace -- because it can't. Teens (and I say this as a recovering one) are locked into MySpace and a few other megasites for the near future. CondeNet president Sarah Chubb seems to get that. She tells the Journal, "I don't think they'll quit MySpace, but they might tell people on their MySpace page to check out their flip book."
  • Creativity: A CondeNet VP says teenage girls "create shrines," which is why social sites must let their users go nuts with their personal pages. MySpace excels at that (hence the Ugly MySpace Showdown), and Friendster failed in part because it didn't allow it.
  • The brand: Wal-Mart tried a social shopping-centered site this fall, earning much online criticism; the company dropped the site after ten weeks. Why didn't it catch on? Well, who wants to be known as the kid with the profile on Wal-Mart? Brand perception shouldn't be a problem for Flip, though.
  • Understanding the culture: From the Journal:
    "The super-alpha girls who want to talk about Miu Miu [designer shoes] can do that," says Jamie Pallot, the editorial director of CondeNet. "And the nerdy ones can talk about," he pauses, looking to his colleagues for assistance. "What do the nerdy ones talk about?"

    No worries, the nerdy ones are pretending to be boys on Digg.com.

  • Advertisers: Now here's where Conde scores over MySpace. The wild and often distasteful content from the latter's users scares off reputable advertisers (which is why nearly every page plays that damn "swat the mosquito" ad and why MySpace reports a dismal ad rate of 10 cents per thousand pageviews). Flip plans to use interstitial and banner ads (keeping banners off personal pages), a classy move that should help set this site apart from MySpace.

Also in the teen mag industry: Powerhouse former Seventeen EIC Atoosa Rubenstein has started her own company; would-be successor Amy Goldwasser is instead shopping her own teen girl magazine concept including reader contributions and a website; in other news, there's still no teen mag for boys.

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