Monday, March 31, 2008

Shine Does Not Sparkle

So Yahoo created a new "portal", Shine, for women between the ages of 25 and 54. It's supposed to be another area for women to congregate, much like the older iVillage. Apparently it's an "underrepresented demographic" (um, ok...) and is the first time that Yahoo is categorically targeting based not on interests or pyschographics. But, like any other major portal, it's struck deals with other content providers and will feature their material in addition to original stories.

Of course, the company is trying to market itself as a destination for women who are looking for "attitude," "personality," and "humor", while providing advice and secret tips like "a friend." First of all, I don't go looking for websites to be "my friend". That's what people are for. "Attitude" "personality" and "humor" are also better served by niche sites. I'll take Radar any day over generic posterings--although, obviously, one well-linked article suddenly will gain a couple million viewers when it's featured on a main page of a portal. Something as mainstream as Yahoo will not be able to afford to appeal to those looking for something "edgier", the ever-important encompasser of all things that constitute "attitude", "personality" and "humor".

As part of marketing the image of a hipper version of iVillage, Shine is written in blog format. But short spurts of text masquerading as articles do not a successful website make (just ask any blogger). That's its most innovative feature. Everything else is your standard women's content: food, astrology, parenting tips, fashion, beauty, boring nothingness. Based on market research (the bread and butter of companies), Shine is meant for women who are "looking for one place that gave them everything," "a place that was looking at the whole them — as a parent, as a spouse, as a daughter." Like everything else in life, there is not one thing that is going to fulfill all your desires. The idea that one thing can be everything to everybody is a laughable concept, though one that companies in every conceivable industry will strive to be. After all, I wouldn't go here if I was looking for in-depth analysis on the news of the day, but that's relevant to me. I know that's not the point, but I'm also not looking for content that works for me as a daughter, because, well, who thinks like that? I'd sift around for good father's day gifts, but that's about it. But despite wanting women to "start their day" with a portal that will offer them "a more relevant experience" (compared to regular web browsing? like more bang for their buck?), Shine can't really work if there's no link from the main Yahoo page.

1 comment:

Emily said...

First, great title.

Second, "First of all, I don't go looking for websites to be "my friend". That's what people are for." Best line.

It seems that they have hypothesized that because so many people spend so much time online, we must be looking for human replacements in the Internet. And come on, does Yahoo really need more revenue? They're one of the top sites on the web. Don't get greedy now.