Reading Yahoo! Internet Life is like looking under the microscope at thousands of cells all bumping into each other. Almost every page teems with wildly varied items covering the ever-multiplying dot-com pond. The monthly magazine - also online at www.yil.com - documents a huge range of reasons to use the Web but is not above poking fun at the not-so-new medium. For example, there’s a section called Old Way/Net Way that evaluates whether it’s simpler in some instances to just pick up the phone.
Reading Yahoo! Internet Life is like looking under the microscope
at thousands of cells all bumping into each other. Almost every page
teems with wildly varied items covering the ever-multiplying dot-com
pond. The monthly magazine - also online at www.yil.com - documents a
huge range of reasons to use the Web but is not above poking fun at the
not-so-new medium. For example, there’s a section called Old Way/Net Way
that evaluates whether it’s simpler in some instances to just pick up
While it seems there isn’t a publication in existence that isn’t
covering the Internet, Yahoo! Internet Life bills itself as the only
such consumer magazine. The recent frequency increase of Time Inc.’s
Time Digital to a monthly could make inroads into its market, but the
Ziff Davis title - search giant Yahoo! licensed the name to ZD - is
behaving like it’s been genetically enhanced.
Ad dollars rose 134% for the first quarter of this year, from dollars
7.6 million to dollars 17 million, according to the Publishers
Information Bureau. Average per-issue ad pages increased from 259 to
369. Yahoo! Internet Life is also getting ready to increase its
guaranteed circulation to one million this September. The subscriber
base is 58% male, 42% female, with an average household income of
Reinforcing the breadth of the magazine are the advertisers, which by no
means come exclusively from the dot-com category. For example, the Dixie
Chicks feature in a backpage milk moustache ad campaign. Rival media
including FT.com and Red Herring attempt to pick up readers with
full-page ads inside.
A magazine with a mission
Helming the title is Barry Golson, a former editor at Playboy and TV
Guide. ’People come to us to know what’s hot and know what we’ve
picked,’ he says, explaining the magazine’s mission. ’It’s a
general-interest magazine that sees life through the lens of the
Golson’s pop-culture approach is reflected in the choice of cover
subjects, such as David Bowie and Heather Graham. Film critic Roger
Ebert also casts a critical eye over all manner of topics.
The magazine has reached into the events world, making its mark with an
online film festival - attended by the likes of Jeffrey Katzenberg - and
music awards that will take place later this summer.
There are numerous sections dedicated to explaining the endlessly
mutating World Wide Web. The separate requirements of some are self
explanatory, while others call for a divining rod. The most easily
understood is the back-of-the-book Web Guide. The 12 pages are edited by
Cree McCree. If you want to get your Web site mentioned, direct your
pitch toward the most relevant page: learning and creativity, lifestyle
and community, money and shopping, health and fitness, or entertainment
By far the most entertaining page is Pretty Strange, edited by Scott
Alexander. It highlights amusing sites like burpcontest.com (no
explanation necessary) and badburns.bizland.com (about facial hair).
There’s also the irresistible site funnyname.com, which lists people
with monikers like Karen Kill and I. Spank.
There is also an extensive shopping guide titled Click! Shopping and a
regular gadgets section. (Ziff Davis has recently relaunched eShopper, a
Yahoo! Internet Life spin-off that covers e-commerce from a consumer
perspective, which Golson also oversees.) The sections titled New
Notable Fun and Web User - about getting the most out of the Web in the
least time - have a pretty wide agenda. Yahoo! Internet Life also
indulges in list journalism, compiling such things as top-10 complaints
and most-downloaded films and music. It also has a pull-out list of URLs
mentioned in the magazine.
The more meaty features are extremely broad in their scope. They
encompass celebrity interviews and serious social issues. The June issue
features an interview with Donna Rice Hughes, presidential candidate
Gary Hart’s former girlfriend, who is now on a crusade against porn on
Several PR pros agree that getting into the mag is not all that
Maria Salamao was working at Spiral Group when she pitched
ImportNow.com, a site that sells unusual products made by indigenous
people from all over the world. The company flew over a 62-year-old
craftsman from Papua New Guinea who had never been to the Western world.
’When we first pitched to Cree McCree, it took a lot of e-mailing and
calling, and she said no,’ says Salamao, now established at West Coast
PR shop Armada Global. When the craftsman arrived, many of the media
interviews she had set up fell through. ’I made a heartfelt plea and
then McCree opened up,’ she says.
The pitch ended up as a two-page spread and McCree even bought some
Steve Blinn of New York agency Blinn PR says getting results takes
patience because of the long lead time. He reminds fellow pros that this
is strictly a consumer title: ’If you don’t have that approach, you can
talk until you’re blue in the face.’
Editor Golson warns PR pros: ’We do not want business stories. We don’t
do b-to-b. It’s not our focus.’ He adds that the best way to pitch to
the 25-strong team is to think like a reporter: ’Give it a story, a
narrative angle. Find us resources, whether it is something that is
breaking new ground or just weird.’ He also advises to pitch his senior
editors, not him.
The magazine works at least two months in advance, so the July issue
featuring the 50 most-useful sites is already finished. The staff is
currently focusing on a piece about how Americans use the net. It is
searching out stories about ordinary people doing colorful things with
the Web. The October issue will have an education theme and November a
Yahoo! Internet Life
28 East 28th Street
New York, NY 10016
Tel: (212) 503 4790
Editor in chief: Barry Golson
Managing editor: John House
Senior editors: Gordon Bass, Ron Bel Bruno, Rob Bernstein, Cree
Senior online editor: Scott Alexander
West Coast editor: David Sheff.