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Tuesday, Apr. 1, 2008 at 11:04 am

Will Yahoo’s Shine Be the Next Big Site for Women?

By Holly Buchanan
April 1st, 2008

I wish someone would do a take-off of Shania’ Twain’s “I Feel Like a Woman” and change it to “I Don’t Feel Like a Woman.”

I visit a lot of the “women’s sites” on the Web, and I almost always feel out of place. The subject matter doesn’t excite me. The headlines don’t speak to me. It all feels the same…

• Celebrity gossip
• Diets and recipes
• Love/romance tips
• Fashion news/shopping tips
• Wellness/health issues

Sorry, but none of those are particularly high on my radar. I guess I just don’t have the same interests as other women. But since marketing to women online is my area, I headed over to Yahoo to check out their new women’s site, Shine.

At first glance, that refrain echoed in my head (“I Don’t Feel Like a Woman”). I just don’t get it. Do women really like this stuff? And hasn’t it all been done before? Dozens of times?

But I turned off the tune in my head and investigated further. I went to the About Us page and actually found some of the site’s best content is in the author bios. These sound like interesting, articulate, funny women!

So I kept going, and found the “Work & Money” section. There was some really great content there. And I really like the blog style format.

I started to read the comments to see what other women had to say about Yahoo’s new venture. The reviews are mixed. Some women seemed to like the content, but other women had similar reactions to mine:

For those of you complaining that this site is too “glamorous” and not in touch with real women – please note that you’re on the “Entertainment” section of the site. I read a few articles in the “Work+Money” section that I felt were totally relevant to the issues I’m currently dealing in my life. So far, I’m impressed with the content.

Would like to see more on PEOPLE in general. There is way too much of the glitz an glamour stuff (Imatation Life) on every pc site and tv channel…would also like to see more relating to older women: health, fashion, etc.

This is about what I expected for Shine…it’s not a real ‘woman’s website, but still caters to the younger, interested in glamour, fashion and celeb gossip types. Like a few of the others, I won’t return…it’s just not informative enough for those of us over 50.

Only time will tell whether Shine will be successful. Yahoo has the advantage of being able to tap into other verticals, like their Green section and their Finance section (two subjects in which I actually am interested). I think the “Work & Money” section is actually content that hasn’t been done to death. From the comments on that section, it seems women are really responding to it.

If I could ask Shine to add one thing, it would be a humor section. I do so enjoy a funny female writer. Have you talked with Lenore Skenazy? She routinely makes me snort chardonnay through my nose. Love her.

So, what do you think? What’s your feeling about Shine? Thumbs up? Thumbs down? What would you like to see covered?

. .

About the Author: Holly Buchanan is a Persuasion Architect at FutureNow and co-author of The Soccer Mom Myth — Today’s Female Consumer: Who She Really Is, Why She Really Buys.

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Comments (16)

  1. Definitely agree with this article. It seems that women are obviously stereotyped when it comes to these websites targeted to us. Why must we always be assumed to be interested in Diet and Celebs? There has to be a more inventive way to get to us…whether through more variety or a more innovative approach. It sure will be interesting to see if they can be successful but we’re sure it’ll be just like any other site geared towards women.

  2. Holly – why not turn the question round a bit.

    Would a man visit a website aimed at “men” ?

  3. I first heard of shine when they said it was going to be a bit different, but it’s not.

    It is simply plugging a gap in yahoo’s content offering, and getting revenue (why else have astrology?)

    Just looking at the headings: Fashion + Beauty , Healthy Living, Entertainment, Parenting, Love + Sex, Work + Money, Food, At Home, Astrology

    Where is art (if anything they could have women artists!), culture (not even books), current affairs, politics (if anything some issues around feminism!), sports, science and technology, or even creativity? No mention of it anywhere! I know that content is elsewhere on Yahoo but I would expect it to be repurposed here, perhaps with a different perpective.

    I get the point that most “men’s” magazines have more about sports, cars, gadgets, fitness than most men care about – but they usually have a section or two still covering more generic news, as acknowledgment that men have brains.

    There’s almost never anything of the sort in women magazines, especially not in the english language (some european magazines will have at least some .

    Still it would have created a lot of buzz if Yahoo had integrated the more news/thinking headings within this platform, maybe with comments and perspectives from the editors. That would have gottent the attention of all the smart, articulate women bloggers out there in a big way.

    But i suspect this is not necessarily a mistake by yahoo, as I bet convincing advertisers of the value of something like this would be hard.

  4. Advertising Age says that Shine will be headed by the former Jane Magazine editor in-chief. That bodes well for them having a fresh perspective on women’s interests, does it not?

    I don’t know much about Jane’s readership, but they seem to get a lot of respect among the arty urbanite set.

    It’ll be interesting to see if this takes off. Is anyone else surprised Yahoo didn’t do this sooner (not that this is a bad time, or that they’re late to the party… they could be right on time)?

  5. It’s interesting that the big portals/search engines are building women-focused properties (like Ask.com giving up the search race to focus on married women http://money.cnn.com/2008/03/05/technology/ask_makeover.ap/)

    What’s next, Girlgle and Guygle?

  6. I really liked their layout and presentation plus the fact that I can leave comments. As for the stereotyping, I really don’t mind. When a website wants to be niche, it cannot avoid stereotypes.

    However, Yahoo’s Shine is not very different from MSN’s Lifestyle section, which by the way, has some good content too. And ivillage is pretty similar too. Not to mention Oprah.com.

    It is too early to say who will lose in the race. Perhaps none of them will. Perhaps, there is space for everyone out there. Irrespective of what we might say, we gals do like to read the same stuff over and over again, don’t we?

  7. Hi Holly,

    Whatever the future of SHINE is, it was quite good for us to know about this. You mentioned in your article about “Yahoo has the advantage of being able to tap into other verticals, like their Green section” Could you please let me know which GREEN section you are talking about. Just asking as that might also be of interest to us as we sell Green Products.

  8. Check out mimimag.com. It’s an online free magazine focusing on women over the age of 50. Good articles, lifestyle, coaching, menopause. Timely, informative and educational.

  9. Hi Holly,
    thanks for your post. What I don’t understand on Shine is that their content is, excuse the phrase, regurgitated from print publications. Why wouldn’t Yahoo, with the resources they have, produce original content for this site? As a writer myself, that’s what instantly turned me off of Shine because I thought…if I wanted this, I’ll just go to the original publisher’s site! There are hundreds of news aggregator sites and sites that reproduce content. Why another? Anyhow, in the spirit of full transparency, I just started a site called BeThree.com which is attempting to make health (emotional, intellectual, physical) mainstream and relevant for 20- and 300-somethings. You said you like humor? Check out some of our stories, they reference every woman’s every experience with humor. Enjoy and thanks again for the post on Shine! best, lindsay

  10. Lindsay,

    I like the “voice” of BeThree.com. But this little bit is what really won me over –

    “Can I pay to be written about on BeThree.com?
    Sorry, not a chance. We are all about trust with our readers and maintain a strict editorial line (or more like a barbed-wire fence) between advertising and the words in our daily emails. We will write about relevant products, events, services, travel and advice that we think will inspire our readers.”

    LOVE that – in a world where that line is increasingly blurred I’m glad to see you guys towing the line, er, barbed wire fence.

    Good luck with the site!

    Holly

  11. If you are looking for a site that deals with real women and real life issues, please take a look at The Women’s Nest. We do not have a large budget, so our referrals are word of mouth. We went live in February ’08 with our new site and already have about 600 members. The entire site is free.

    Please contact me – I’d love to discuss it with you!
    Melissa Foster
    Thinkhappy@thewomensnest.com
    http://www.thewomensnest.com

  12. I love the point of view you have, Holly. I cater to female entrepreneurs, aged 35-55, on my blog at smartwomanguides.com and I frequently surf the web looking for resources. There is an amazing drought of material that reaches directly to that audience. One of my goals in creating the site in the first place was to begin to unify the field, to pull together the best sources of inspiration and resources for this group.

    What I’ve found, as you point out, is that some of it is so fluffy and soft or it’s written very forcefully. You strike a good balance here. I like it. I will write you up on my site–my audience needs to come here. Maybe you’d do an interview? I’d love it!

    Together, we are stronger.
    Vicki Flaugher, the original SmartWoman

  13. Vicki,

    Love your blog. This post is a must read –
    Open Letter to Internet Marketers: Top 3 Things To Stop If You Want To Sell To Women.

    Great stuff.

    Holly

  14. I have to wonder if the reason all these “women’s” sites have the same celebrity/glamor/horoscope content is because there is some demand for it. If it didn’t generally work, I don’t think such sites would proliferate. It seems like Shine is trying to cater toward all women, but is maybe failing to promote all of its parts equally.

  15. I feel out of place on many women’s sites also. On mine, I do have a health section – but none of those others.

    The question that’s nagging at me constantly is – is it possible to have a successful web site (or whatever) targeted to women without including astrology, celebrity stuff, fashion, etc.?

    And Shine – offensive!

  16. Don’t you all think that Oprah.com covers all of this? Oprah has “experts” that provide new and unique content on money, health, decorating, relationships, spirituality, all without being overly glam and gossipy. There is so much content on the site that doesn’t even pertain to the actual show.

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Holly Buchanan is a marketing to women consultant specializing in marketing to women online. You can read her blog at http://marketingtowomenonline.typepad.com She is the co-author, along with Michele Miller of The Soccer Mom Myth - Today's Female Consumer - Who She Really Is, Why She Really Buys.

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