The last portal

With some fanfare, Yahoo today unveiled its new women’s site, Shine, with content contributions from lots of big companies including Conde Nast, Hearst, Rodale, and Time Inc. (though I find little evidence of them on the site; most of my clicks took me to stuff written by Shine staff, which doesn’t look small; others too me to snippets from magazines made to look like blog posts with lots of plugs to try to get you to subscribe). It has that women’s magazine voice: “Four ways to be good to your body this week…. Carla Bruni-Sarkozy: We think you’re awesome…. Perfect, pretty, sturdy canvas bags…. How to get on your boss’s good side….”

Poor Yahoo. They could cure cancer while tap-dancing naked and I wouldn’t be impressed. They have just gone and tried to create another portals. Portals beget portals. There’s nothing new in this. Having worked at Conde Nast, I went through conversations about starting sites like this with all the other portals many times over. What’s the big?

The problem is that this is born from a spreadsheet rather than a vision. In the PaidContent report, Yahoo svp Scott Moore “explained that for the longest time, Yahoo had been developing sites focused on topics (for instance Food, Sports and others). Now, with Shine, it has started developing site based on audiences/demographics, and in this case a big one, and lucrative to advertisers.” I’ve seen and heard that tap dance before. Beware any product that starts with a demographic that’s going to excite advertisers because it has lots of brands. That’s portalthink at its saddest.