The Wall Street Journalreports that Conde Nast, the publisher of a number of magazines including Vanity Fair, Vogue, Teen Vogue and Allure is launching a social networking site called Flip.com to compete with social networking leader MySpace.com.
Flip.com will offer girls a forum to create "flip books": multimedia scrapbooks of photographs, home-made music videos and other postings. CondeNet hopes to tap into the same creative flair that girls show when they decorate their school lockers or textbooks. The site is Conde Nast's answer to News Corp.'s MySpace, which -- along with similiar sites such as Facebook -- is drawing millions of young users and has made it difficult for magazine publishers to keep teenagers' attention. Flip is scheduled to debut in February, but 200,000 girls will be invited to a test launch today.
"These girls are so creative, they create shrines within their environment," says Dee Salomon, a vice president at CondeNet. "It must be the hormones -- they customize everything."
With readers migrating to the Web in droves, all magazines are under tremendous pressure to come up with Internet strategies, or face oblivion. Advance Publication Inc.'s Conde Nast, owner of Vanity Fair, Vogue, Teen Vogue, The New Yorker and GQ, has taken a particularly cautious approach to the Internet until recently. Now, though, the publisher that has been accustomed to being the Alpha Girl of the magazine set is taking steps to avoid becoming just another old-media outcast on the Internet.
Nick Douglas, now blogging at HuffPo's Eat the Press, says Flip can't compete with MySpace.com.
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."
In the post Nick Douglas also reminds everyone of Wal-Mart's very laughable attempt at social networking. Remember The Hub and its infamous giant pencils? -- it is gone now. Conde Nast and other companies planning to launch social networks should thank Wal-Mart for showing them what not to do.