MEDIA: Yahoo! Internet Life covers the consumer interactive world - Ziff Davis’ Yahoo! Internet Life is one of the few consumer mags dedicated to the Internet. Claire Atkinson takes a look at the secrets of its success

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 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

the phone.



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

dollars 61,781.



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

Internet.’



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

and sports.



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

the Internet.



Several PR pros agree that getting into the mag is not all that

easy.



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

goods.



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

fashion focus.





CONTACT LIST



Yahoo! Internet Life



28 East 28th Street



12th floor



New York, NY 10016



Tel: (212) 503 4790



E-mail: Firstname_lastname@ziffdavis.com



Web: www.yil.com



Editor in chief: Barry Golson



Managing editor: John House



Senior editors: Gordon Bass, Ron Bel Bruno, Rob Bernstein, Cree

McCree



Senior online editor: Scott Alexander



West Coast editor: David Sheff.



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